June 22, 2012

The Law School hosts the 16th Annual Summer Law Camp

A collaboration between the Academic Enhancement Program, the Classroom Law Project, and King School in NE Portland.
  • Campers posing with the Honorable Michael McShane
    Lisa Collins, Kings School

June 22, 2012 marked the 16th annual collaboration between the Academic Enhancement Program at Lewis & Clark Law School and the Classroom Law Project to host the Summer Law Camp: an intensive one-week mock trial program open to 20 middle school students from King School in NE Portland. Co-sponsor Bon Appetit, generously donated lunch to the students and gave them the opportunity to visit the undergraduate campus and go through a college lunch line.

Over the course of the week this group of sixth through eighth graders worked with five law school students and alums to learn the complex medical language and legal concepts required by the mock civil case called “Hot Coffee” – modeled after the infamous McDonald’s case. Marilyn Cover, Executive Director of the Classroom Law Project, oversaw the intensive preparation with the help of Susie Marcus, a long-time middle school teacher.

Cover explained that “the Hot Coffee case provided an opportunity for us to have a serious conversation with the students about the concept of responsibility—how we define it and decide who is responsible. We are so indebted to the Law School for their support of Summer Law Camp these past 16 years. Students understand that this is a special opportunity and that they were selected to attend.”

“The students worked so hard and stayed focused all five days,” Cover proudly stated “It is always a challenge to get students at this age to speak so everyone in the room can hear them. We practiced daily getting everyone to speak up. We could hear all of the students in the large courtroom. They owned their roles by the last day!” Divided into two team, they presented their mock trial on the final day of Summer Law Camp in front of an audience of family, friends and King School teachers. The Honorable Judge Michael McShane ‘88 graciously presided over the trial in a courtroom in the Multnomah County Courthouse.

“We are so proud of our students and grateful that King School had the great honor of learning at Lewis & Clark Law School!” said Lisa Collins, a School Improvement Specialist at King School and current Lewis & Clark graduate student.

According to Halah Ilias, a 2L at the Law School, the students and King School staff were not the only ones to gain from this experience. “Summer Law Camp was a rewarding experience for me because I learned a great deal about each individual student and his or her background. While learning, we were able to laugh, have fun and realize our potential as future lawyers. Most importantly, I enjoyed seeing young minds recognize the importance of education and hard work.”

The King School students’ work resulted in a serious courtroom performance; JB Kim, the Assistant Dean of Diversity & Academic Resources, noted that these “campers were natural litigators – especially on cross examination questions!”


For more information, or to get involved in next year’s Summer Law Camp, contact Heather McCambly at hmccambly@lclark.edu.