DuPont Diversity Pipeline Project Offers High School Students a Glimpse of Law School
Web Editor - Published: April 28, 2008

dupont diversity

   Ernest Tuckett, Esq. of DuPont, Dean Linda Ammons and Troy Riddle

“Repeat after me. My life has purpose. I have an appointment with destiny. I will meet my appointment,” instructed Dean Linda L. Ammons as she addressed a group of students from Wilmington’s Howard High School of Technology.

The Hearsay Rationale
On April 7th, Widener Law hosted the group of Howard juniors as part of the DuPont Diversity Pipeline Project. After registration and some breakfast, the formal program opened with a welcome from Assistant Dean Serena Williams. Law students Jordana Frankel and Lindsay Heslin followed with a presentation entitled “So You May Want To Be a Legal Professional?” that explored some facts about lawyers. Public Interest Resource Center Director Sydney Howe-Barksdale followed up with a few quick questions to the students, teaching them a little bit about property law.

The Howard students then got to experience the atmosphere of a law school class firsthand as Professor Jules Epstein led them through a consideration of the legal concept of hearsay. He gave the students a handout with a definition of hearsay followed by a number of statements, and then asked the students to try and identify whether or not each of the statements would be considered hearsay. As Professor Epstein took the students through each statement to examine whether or not it could be considered hearsay, he explained the rationale behind the hearsay rule. While a witness must take an oath and is subject to cross-examination and scrutiny of his or her demeanor, if that witness introduces a statement he or she heard from another party, there is no way to verify the truthfulness of the statement. Engaged by the interactive teaching method, the students picked up the concepts quickly.

Live on Purpose
At the conclusion of Professor Epstein’s class, the Howard students took tours of the campus before reconvening in Polishook Hall for a paralegal class in the criminal trial process with Legal Education Institute adjunct Professor Michael Hawley. Professor Hawley stressed that he wanted to “remove some of the mystery” for the students, explaining, “The public doesn’t understand the preparation process. They see the culmination in a thirty or forty-five minute TV show, but the trial is won or lost in the office during preparation.”

After Professor Hawley’s lecture on the criminal trial process, the students were treated to lunch at the Barrister’s Club, where they heard from a distinguished panel of experts on a variety of topics including law school admissions, the paralegal program, career success, and the value of education. The panel consisted of Professor Nathaniel Nichols, Assistant Dean and Director of the Legal Education Institute Eileen Grena, Assistant Dean for Admissions Barbara Ayars, law students Dana Griffin and Damiano Presley, and paralegal student Patrina Wallace.

Following the lunch panel, Dean Linda L. Ammons addressed the students, imploring them to “Live on purpose, not accidentally.” She remarked, “The world is open to you,” and told the students that they are capable of doing whatever they set their minds to. Dean Ammons also offered thanks to everyone involved in putting the program together. DuPont legal counsel Ernest Tucker followed her, offering a similar thank you on behalf of DuPont to everyone involved in making the event a success.