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Girl Scouts learn law, bar offers scholarships

March 30, 2011

Bar Crawl is Indiana Lawyer’s section highlighting bar association news around the state. The IL strives to include bar association news and trends in its regular stories, and we would like to include more news from specialty and county bars. If you’d like to submit an update about your bar association or a photo from an event your bar association has hosted, or if you have questions about having your bar association news included in the newspaper, please send it to Jennifer Montgomery at jmontgomery@ibj.com, along with contact information for any follow-up questions at least two weeks in advance of the issue date.

Girl Scouts learn law, legal careers

About 75 Girl Scouts learned about legal issues that may affect them and heard from practicing female lawyers about what it takes to become a lawyer or a judge at the Indiana State Bar Association’s Women in the Law Committee inaugural “Lady Justice” event March 26. The event took place at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis.

In addition to the Girl Scouts in third, fourth, and fifth grade, 23 troop leaders and parents participated in the program. About 15 attorney volunteers interacted with the girls.

The girls completed two projects, had lunch, listened to a panel discussion, and watched a mock trial. The work will culminate in the Scouts earning a badge.

One of the activities involved the girls making a bracelet out of beads, with each bead representing a civil right that they have, such as the right to counsel. Another activity involved a drawing exercise where girls drew themselves at age 15, 25, and 50, after learning about how to set goals and make smart decisions. This portion of the event also had attorneys explain to small groups of girls how to plan to become a lawyer or judge, including how to prepare for college and law school.

After the projects, the girls listened to a panel discussion of women who shared their perspectives of becoming attorneys. Patty McKinnon talked about her experience as a solo attorney in Indianapolis; and Kelly Scanlan, an associate at Bose McKinney & Evans, gave her perspective as an attorney at a large firm. Marion Superior Judge Cynthia Ayers also shared her experience of becoming a judge.

The Girl Scouts also had lunch with the volunteer judges and attorneys, and witnessed a mock trial for the Big Bad Wolf. The script for the mock trial was written by Holly Wanzer, an attorney at Jocham Harden Dimick Jackson, and a Girl Scout troop leader.

Another attorney at Wanzer’s firm, name partner Stephenie Jocham, has been credited by other organizers as the person to first suggest the idea of a Girl Scout badge about the law.

The girls will earn a “Scales of Justice” patch after completing this program.

“We didn’t want to dumb this down for the girls,” said Marion Superior Magistrate Vickie Ransberger, one of the organizers of the event. “They’re a lot more knowledgeable than some people might give them credit for. They care. They think about things that are important to them.”

Ideally, Ransberger said, the program could be replicated for Girl Scouts all over the state or even around the country. Organizers worked closely with the Girl Scout organization to make sure it had the right qualifications for a badge.

While it is not the only law-related badge for Girl Scouts, it is the only one where the girls learn about how the law affects them and how they can someday become lawyers or judges.

– Rebecca Berfanger

Johnson Co. Bar offers scholarships

The Johnson County Bar Association is awarding at least two $1,000 scholarships to local students who plan to enroll in a four-year baccalaureate program at an accredited public or private university.

Interested seniors may obtain scholarship applications by contacting Stephen L. Huddleston at 317-736-5121. Applications must be submitted by April 15 to Stephen L. Huddleston; 98 W. Jefferson St.; Franklin, IN 46131.

– IL Staff

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