Goal IX Newsletter

Spring 2001, Volume 7, Number 2

Growing Lawyers - National Bar Association Establishes Crump Law Camp by: John L. Crump

More than 90 percent of this nation’s lawyers are white, as are more than 80 percent of the students enrolled in law school. Yet, more than 30 percent of the United States is comprised of people of color; projections are that by the year 2050, more than half the people of the country will be of color. It is imperative that we begin now to direct students, while they are young, to seek careers in the legal profession. Thus, there is need on the part of bar associations of color to “grow lawyers.”

John L. Crump

This summer, the National Bar Association (NBA) will debut the NBA-Crump Law Camp to encourage students of color to go to college and then to law school. The camp educates the participating students, exposes them to African American lawyers, and supplies them with financial assistance as they enter college and law school.

The NBA-Crump Law Camp is designed to provide students between 14 and 17 and/or entering the 9th, 10th, or 11th grades with a comprehensive introduction to the American judicial and legal system. The students attending the camp will gain a more detailed understanding of the legal system than that typically provided in standard academic institutional settings. The camp aims to acquaint students with the important facets of American law and the settings, professional systems, and structures within which laws and legal skills are applied.

 Through participation in simulated legal experiences, the camp will introduce students to the rigors of a legal education, the dynamics of the legal practice, and the diversity of roles available to lawyers at the start of this millennium. At the conclusion of the camp, students will be paired with a lawyer mentor who will provide guidance as the student matriculates through high school, college, and law school.

The two-week program is designed to be fun while offering a full agenda of programs and courses. The first NBA-Crump Law Camp will begin July 8, 2001, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The president of Howard University, H. Patrick Swygert, and Alice G. Bullock, the dean of Howard’s School of Law, have fully endorsed the program and are committed to its success. Students will be housed at the university in a secure campus environment.

If America is to become a true melting pot, the legal system must lead the way. This can be done only when diverse groups of people bring their cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds into the equation. Therefore, although the camp will have an open enrollment policy and be available to all students, its emphasis will be on empowering students of color.

It is projected that more than half the students will come from economically disadvantaged homes and will receive up to 100 percent of camp tuition from scholarships. Tuition will include housing, meals, educational materials, and expenses for field trips and special events.

The faculty for the camp includes members of the National Bar Association’s Law Professors Division and visiting guest lecturers. The Law Professors Division consists of professors and deans of several U.S. law schools, who are experienced, professional legal educators and clinical supervisors. The National Bar Association’s Law Students Division members, college students, and licensed middle- and high-school teachers will act as teaching assistants and student monitors. The program will also have one full-time administrator with experience in the creation, operation, and marketing of youth camps and a part-time administrative assistant.

In addition to classes, the course curriculum for the camp will include mock trial and moot court competitions, guest lectures, research and writing competitions, field trips, and an award ceremony. The curriculum stresses academic readiness and explores trends in the legal profession. Winners of the mock trial, moot court, and writing competitions will be recognized at the NBA’s Annual Convention.

The National Bar Association believes the Crump Law Camp will provide an extraordinary opportunity for an enriched experience to the target age group. Other bar associations are encouraged to find creative ways to “grow” the next generation of lawyers. Three other national minority bars—Hispanic National Bar Association, Native American Bar Association, and National Asian Pacific Bar Association— have given their support to the camp. The NBA also extends its sincere appreciation to the Ford Foundation for its major support.

By providing incentive, motivation, and direction to aspiring law students of color, the NBA-Crump Law Camp will help prepare the nation’s future lawyers, judges, and protectors of the judicial system.

John L. Crump, CMP, CAE, for whom the camp is named, is executive director of the National Bar Association. Evette L. Simmons, president, National Bar Association, and Maurice Foster, former director of special projects, National Bar Association, contributed to this article.

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