They arrived on yellow school buses as visitors Wednesday afternoon but someday the high school students may come as law students.
The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy in Indianapolis inked a partnership that will put McKinney faculty and students in Shortridge classrooms and bring Shortridge students to McKinney.
Dean Gary Roberts said he was “very proud of and very excited about” the new program which helps the law school fulfill its mission of service to the state of Indiana and the community.
Talking to the Shortridge students, Roberts said, “We’re hoping to get you excited about the law and about a career in the legal profession.”
Since Shortridge started the school year in August, McKinney faculty have been team-teaching law classes covering a range of topics from contracts and the U.S. Constitution to election and health care.
In addition, McKinney students will serve as tutors and mentors, helping and encouraging their young friends. Three McKinney students will take on the task of developing and coaching a mock trial team at Shortridge, something the school currently does not have.
Finally, students who excel at Shortridge may shadow McKinney students working in the legal clinic, giving the high school students an opportunity to see and experience what the practice of law and courtrooms are really like.
“My hope is we will help make Shortridge one of the top schools in Indiana,” said Carlton Waterhouse, associate professor of law and one of the driving forces behind the partnership.
The McKinney School of Law hosted a ceremony Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding and officially launch the collaboration. Eugene White, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools and Marion Superior Judge and Shortridge alumnus Grant Hawkins were among the speakers. White was introduced by Justina Fields, Shortridge senior and summer intern at Lewis Wagner LLP, while Hawkins was introduced by Markell Pipkins, who told the gathering he wants to be a prosecutor.
“I hope our students realize how blessed they are and how unique they are and, hopefully, they will repay (the law school) by doing their very best,” White said.