National Bar Association Summer Law Camp Provides Students With Pipeline to the Legal Profession

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The National Bar Association sponsored its 10th annual Crump Law Camp in Washington, D.C. from July 11 to July 24, with the goal of breaking down the barriers to a career in the legal profession.

“It’s extremely critical that the pipeline for lawyers of color be increased by the National Bar Association,” said Bob Carr, the association’s executive director.

The camp provided students aged 14 to 17 with a comprehensive introduction to the challenges of a legal education. Of the more than 1,700 applications submitted for this year’s camp, 38 students were accepted. Since its inception in 2001, the two-week residential camp has graduated nearly 300 students.

Only 3.9 percent of the nation’s lawyers are people of color, and the goal of the Crump Law Camp is to encourage students of color to attend college and law school. The National Bar Association’s partnership with Howard University School of Law reflects the school’s mission of cultivating lawyers who will positively impact communities and the legal profession.

“If America is to become a true melting pot, the legal system must lead the way,” the association's executive director emeritus and founder of the camp, John Crump, said in a statement. “This can be done only when diverse groups of people bring their cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds into the equation. Therefore, although the camp has an open enrollment policy and is available to all students, its emphasis is on empowering students of color.”

Participants live on the Howard University campus and attend law school classes at the Howard University School of Law. The curriculum included guest lectures, field trips, a BMW Teen Driving School and a mock trial competition. The camp's faculty and staff were comprised of members of the Howard University School of Law community, National Bar Association, guest lecturers, law students, and college graduates.

The Law Camp's director, Ruby J. Sherrod, a graduate of Howard University School of Law and a practicing attorney, referred to the campers as “young advocates” and said, “The program is a great opportunity to influence young people to get serious about school and to set goals toward completing college.”

The highlight of the academic courses was the Evett L. Simmons Mock Trial Competition held during the final week of camp. All 38 campers participated in the competition with a “Final Four” of the best students scheduled to compete at the National Bar Association’s Annual Convention in New Orleans, La. during the week of August 9.

The Mock Trial finalists were Junius Williams, 14, from Newark, N.J.; Kristen Lee, 15, from Detroit; Takiyah Harrell, 16, of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Deana Hamlin, 16, from Stafford, Va.