This year, four Legal Methods Professors at Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus joined the Pennsylvania Bar Association to celebrate Law Day. Law Day is a special national day created to educate people of all ages about the U.S. legal system. In Pennsylvania, Law Day activities are sponsored throughout the month of May and are primarily focused on educating children about the law. The Bar Association’s theme of this year’s Law Day was “Rule of Law: It’s What I Live By.”
Professor Amanda Smith visited a kindergarten class and Professor Anna Hemingway visited a first/second grade class at the Londonderry School in Susquehanna Township. The professors explained to their classes that lawyers help people understand and follow rules. They read I Took My Frog to the Library
by Eric Kimmel, which is a story about a girl who takes her various pets to a library and the chaos that ensues. After the story, the classes discussed whether there should be a rule that students may not bring animals to school, what exceptions there might be to that rule, who would enforce that rule, and what the consequences would be for violating that rule. Both professors presented copies of the book as gifts to the classrooms.
Professor Ann Fruth visited a fifth grade class at Hamilton Elementary School in Harrisburg. The lesson for this class was “The Law is Everywhere.” After introducing herself as a lawyer and talking with the students about what lawyers do, Professor Fruth asked the class to list everything that they had done that morning (“brushed my teeth,” “ate my cereal,” “walked to school”). She then discussed with the class how the law touched all of the things that they had listed. The students were quite surprised at the length of the list that they generated and to learn that their pajamas had to be made of a fire-retardant material, that the farmers who produced the milk for their cereal had to follow strict rules and that the lessons that their teacher taught them were all regulated by law. The lesson helped the students begin to understand how the law affects almost everything that they do.
Professor Starla Williams spoke to a class of Susquehanna Township High School students for Minority Law Day sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Professor Williams and other local attorneys addressed students on the theme of “Law and Technology.” Students reviewed a mock legal problem involving home use of school-issued computers and then engaged in a brainstorming session to simulate legal problem-solving. Students also asked questions of the speakers about entering the legal profession.
Minority Law Day is a special Law Day event organized for area high school students by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Minority Bar Committee, which is dedicated to improving diversity in the legal profession and looking for ways for future leaders to make positive impacts in their communities.