Interim Dean Michael Gerber praised the Law School’s Student Bar Association (SBA) for raising $10,000 to fund a summer internship program for the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice (SLJ), a public high school for at-risk students choosing to study law. The money was raised through an annual charity event, Race Judicata, a 5k run, that is held in memory of the late Professor Barry L. Zaretsky.
“The SBA has hosted Race Judicata for the past five years at Prospect Park and each year the race gets more and more popular. I’m proud of their fundraising efforts to benefit SLJ and of our partnership with the school that seeks to engage their young students with our students in the study of law,” Interim Dean Michael Gerber said.
Co-chair of the 2010 Race Judicata Marjorie Yang ’11 got involved because she wanted to “assist in an event that gave back to the larger Brooklyn community” and found that she was greatly encouraged “by how the BLS community and alumni came together to honor the memory of Professor Barry Zaretsky by raising money that would directly benefit the education of students at SLJ.”
“Since its founding in 2004, SLJ has been proud to partner with Brooklyn Law School to fulfill its mission of engaging the city’s highest need public high school students through legal studies and debate,” said Joe Pinto, a founding member of SLJ's staff. “This year the generous gift of $10,000 launched Youth Power, a summer program that offered students a stipend to build leadership skills around the regular performance of community service. Youth Power was largely created in response to a staggering reduction in paid summer jobs for teens through the Summer Youth Employment Program. Studies show that the achievement gap widens in summer if historically underserved students aren't given the opportunity to continue learning and growing when school is out of session. Brooklyn Law School has given them that."
Pinto added, "Because of innovative programs like those at the heart of the SLJ-Brooklyn Law School partnership, SLJ maintains a 93% graduation rate and 90% college matriculation rate, both of which far exceed the national and city averages.”
In addition to the Race Judicata, the Law School partners with SLJ in several other ways. Twice a year, the Law School offers four 10thgrade students the chance to shadow a law student for the day. In the spring, BLS students act as Supreme Court Justices during SLJ’s Moot Court Week. Law School students also volunteer to act as “guest evaluators” at SLJ’s student portfolio roundtables, providing an interactive assessment of their work.
SLJ is located two blocks from the Law School. Many of its students enter below grade level and are often the first in their families to attend college. To meet this challenge, themes of law and social justice permeate the curriculum and culture at SLJ. Staff and families work together to support students with a curriculum that encourages them at high levels to enrich their learning experience. SLJ delivers personal attention in an empowering environment that fosters intellectual independence and civic engagement.