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The Justice & Diversity Center

Law Academy

The San Francisco Law Academy is a program that encourages and increases career opportunities for underserved and ethnically diverse students in Balboa High School in San Francisco.

Creative and inspiring curriculum is built into several core classes where junior and senior students learn basic legal concepts and interview and job skills which prepare them to join the workforce directly out of college. The legal community contributes greatly by mentoring and hiring Law Academy students as summer interns. These students realize personal strengths that they may not otherwise discover.

How Does it Work?
Through the English, Social Studies and introduction to law elective classes, students are taught basic legal concepts, participate in debate and mock trial exercises. Volunteer attorneys mentor juniors in the classroom on a variety of topics and projects including preparation to work in a professional work environment and problem solving exercises. Students are prepared to work as interns the following summer. Seniors have the opportunity to attend City College and earn concurrent credits in the administration of justice department.

Who Can Volunteer?

Judges, attorneys, law students, paralegals and other legal staff with a 4-year college degree are welcome as mentors.

Becoming a Mentor

  • Attend an orientation session held prior to the start of the school semester
  • Commit to mentoring a small group of Juniors one day a week for 1.5 hours over a 7-week period during both the Fall and Spring semesters
  • As a mentor you will meet students in small groups and assist teachers in instructing your students in a pre-determined curriculum, which includes legal research, resume writing skills, writing a personal statement, public speaking, and legal history
  • Mentors work with students to increase their awareness about social justice and current events

Other Volunteer Opportunities

  • Invite students to special events in the legal community including public speaking appearances, lectures and debates
  • Organize a "Day in the Firm" where students come to your law office for a tour
  • Hire a Law Academy summer intern. Internships are six weeks in duration beginning in mid-June to late July. The students work 20 hours  weekly. Check out the organizations who hired interns.

Steps to Volunteering

To learn more and to volunteer, email Samantha Akwei at

Award Winning

The Law Academy has been honored by the San Francisco Unified School District and by the San Francisco School-To-Career Partnership as a model School-To-Career program and has received the Lexis/Nexis National Association of Bar Executives (NABE) Public Service Achievement Award.