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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Lawyers in the Schools (LIS) Program Expands Role and Reach

By John Palmer, Chair, Lawyers in the Schools Committee


Lawyers in the Schools (LIS) is a program in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).

The goal of the program is to enrich classroom discussions with real-world examples and to develop a pipeline of diverse students interested in pursuing careers as lawyers. LIS focuses on schools with a high concentration of students from demographics that are underrepresented in the legal community.
Recently, the leadership of this program convened a series of meetings between SFUSD social studies and government teachers and lawyer volunteers to reshape the curriculum to better address topics relevant to class lesson plans and students’ interests.

Beginning this fall, LIS curricula will include lessons focusing on online citizenship, including questions of how free speech plays out in the context of social media as well as lessons in the art and practice of negotiation, crafting an argument, and practical advice about how to become an attorney.

Students will also get a taste of litigation by teaching them how to draft mock-complaints and take mock-depositions. LIS is also planning on branching out to community based organizations in many of the city’s low-income neighborhoods and bringing these valuable curricula to students in after-school programs.

We are currently looking for volunteers for the 2012-13 school term. Volunteers will be administering lesson plans that will last one hour. Your time commitment can be as short as one lesson, and as long as you would like. So spread the word, invite your colleagues and tell your professional development manager about this important – and fun – program.


John Palmer, an associate with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, focuses his practice on financing for school facilities, general obligation bond issues and city and county facilities and infrastructure.

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