Teachers - Virtual NCLA Overview

Virtual National Civics and Law Academy

What is the National Civics and Law Academy?

For nearly a decade, the ABA Division for Public Education has hosted the annual National Civics and Law Academy (NCLA), which has provided a special—often life-changing—educational opportunity for a select group of high school students to visit the nation’s capital to learn about law, government, and the justice system in the United States. Students examine public policy issues from diverse perspectives, develop citizenship and leadership skills, and meet peers from throughout the nation. This program has been offered at no-cost to the students. Teachers like you play an essential role in identifying and nominating promising students who will benefit from this program and become the next generation of leaders and lawyers.

How Teachers Can Help

Do you know a student interested in law or government but without access to lawyers or legal professionals? Do you know a student with an interest in law or government, potential for leadership, or a commitment to social causes? If so, NCLA may be the perfect opportunity to help them see their future careers. 

Who is the ideal NCLA 2021 student?

While it is hard to put into writing the ideal candidate for the ABA NCLA, we are looking for students who:

  • Would benefit from a bit of exposure to legal professionals who look like them
  • Have a spark that just needs to be ignited
  • Are passionate about issues in their communities and can benefit from direction on how to harness that passion and energy
  • Are interested in learning more about lawyers, the law, government, and politics

How do I nominate a student?

  • First, we would ask that you talk to the student(s) you want to nominate to ensure their interest and availability.
  • Fill out this brief online form with the student’s relevant information
  • We will follow up with you to let you know if your student was selected and next steps

What is the format of the 2021 Academy?

The ABA Division for Public Education will hold a re-imagined NCLA in a virtual format in 2021 to continue to follow the original spirit of the NCLA—to give minority and under-resourced high school students a unique opportunity to interact closely with leaders in law and government.

What Will the New Virtual NCLA Include?

  • A series of engaging online conversations between small groups of high school students and lawyers and leaders in government from across the country.
  • Opportunities for diverse and talented students to learn about government, the law, and legal careers.
  • Presentations by accomplished legal professionals—including lawyers, judges, policy advocates, journalists, etc.—to help students understand legal careers and the importance of the law.
  • Opportunities for students to reflect on what they have learned and engage in interactive projects with their peers and legal professionals.

Conversations will last for approximately an hour, allowing time for student questions. Afterward, students will participate in small group discussions (facilitated through the Zoom breakout function) to debrief the session and then return to the larger group discussion to reflect on their takeaways.

What have NCLA students said about their experiences?

My biggest takeaway form the NCLA is that I can accomplish anything.
Luis Sanchez, Anaheim, CA

The NCLA taught me to embrace things that are uncomfortable for you.
Tanner Randall, Norman, OK

Meeting diverse young lawyers affirmed that one day I can also be a young lawyer.
Sofia Dirie, Baltimore, MD

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