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The Justice Institute
The District Court for the EDNY, in partnership with the EDNY Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and Touro Law launched a new civics program called The Justice Institute.
The District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in partnership with the Eastern District of New York Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, launched a new civics program called The EDNY Justice Institute. The week long, interactive learning program is the first of its kind hosted by a federal court and federal judges. The program, led by Judge Joseph Bianco, is designed to introduce incoming 10th graders to the workings of the federal courts and the criminal justice system, and to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry. The program was held at the Long Island Federal Courthouse in Central Islip as well as the Touro Law Center and consisted of several components that allowed the students to learn about the legal system and to develop basic advocacy skills in a fun and interesting format.
Associate Dean Myra Berman, who worked with Judge Bianco in developing the program stated, “This program opened up the minds of high school students and taught them about the law and legal careers. The program will surely have a lasting impact on those who participated. I look forward to expanding the program for both Touro Law students, our local high school students, and incorporating more of our alumni as mentors.”
Approximately 100 students from twenty-five high schools in Nassau and Suffolk Counties participated in the inaugural program. Students heard presentations from seven federal judges, FBI agents, a U.S. Secret Service Agent, Deputy U.S. Marshals, law professors, federal prosecutors, and criminal defense lawyers about their respective roles within the federal court system. The students also observed real court proceedings in the federal courthouse – including a guilty plea and a sentencing – and discussed what they observed with a federal judge. Finally, the students were taught basic advocacy skills in several sessions by experienced lawyers, engaged in daily practice sessions with Touro law students who served as their mock trial coaches, and participated at the end of the week in the mock trial competition against the other high school students.
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