Camp provides students with an early introduction to the legal profession – Welcome to the City of Fort Worth

Published on July 29, 2022

Sixteen Fort Worth juniors and seniors completed an immersive summer program designed to prepare them for careers in the legal profession.

Fort Worth’s EnVision Center, in collaboration with the L. Clifford Davis Legal Association, presented the third annual Aspiring Young Lawyers Summer Camp, July 18-22.

Christopher Tolbert, a practicing attorney and immediate past president of L. Clifford Davis Legal Association, volunteered his time to mentor the teens and prepare them for a mock trial.

“We gave them a weeklong inside look into what practicing law is like, what the life of an attorney is like, and exposed them to a variety of different practice areas in law,” Tolbert said. “We hoped to expand their horizons, spark their interest and give them some practical insight.”

Students were introduced to attorneys, judges and public officials from a variety of service and practice areas. They were also taught fundamental aspects of the law through lectures and guest speakers. Topics included criminal law, trial advocacy, tort law, civil procedure, corporate law, legal aid, teen court, law school academia, family law, public office and preparing opening and closing arguments.

The objective was for each student to leave the camp experience with self-awareness and opportunity awareness. Another aim was for students to foster relationships with attorneys who may become mentors who can be called on for guidance as students pursue their careers.

EnVision Center Coordinator Suzanne Richards said students were paired with a trial partner during the week, and on the last day of camp, they competed against other student teams for the best opening and closing arguments during a mock trial at City Hall. The winning pair was awarded a $1,000 scholarship in the final competition by the L. Clifford Davis Legal Association.

“This camp helps build self-awareness and fosters hope,” Richards said. “It helps students develop a vocational identity through learning what interests and motivates them. Not only that, past participants tell us it improves their engagement, confidence, communication skills and performance in school.”

Fort Worth Assistant City Manager Valerie Washington addressed students and parents at the competition, underscoring how programs such as this expose participants to occupations they did not even know existed. She also emphasized how critically important parental support and engagement are to help teens make more informed choices about their future.

The success of this year’s camp has motivated the partners to host future career exploration camps. Interested youth can receive more information by contacting Richards at the EnVision Center.

Photo: Christopher Tolbert, a practicing attorney and immediate past president of the L. Clifford Davis Legal Association, is the AYL program coordinator. Suzanne Richards is EnVision Center coordinator with the City of Fort Worth.

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