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CTE Centers gives students a head start on law careers

For those interested in a career in law, the CTE center offers some courses in the legal field.

Frisco ISD

For those interested in a career in law, the CTE center offers some courses in the legal field.

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High school can be a difficult time where students beginning to figure out possible careers they may pursue in life. For Frisco ISD students thinking about a career in law, the CTE Center offers six different courses in the field.

“They gain the writing, speaking, and presentation skills required to operate in a trial or appellate setting as well,” Mock Trial teacher Ben Ewald said. “One of the main things that they take away from mock trial and or the practicum course is if they really want to commit the time, energy, and money to pursue a J.D.”

To advance in FISD’s legal program, students must first take the course Survey of Government and Public Administration (Law 1 and 2) which covers the basics of law and American legal system.

Depending on what a student decides to practice in law offers the chance to make a difference in that field and the lives of people impacted by those areas of law.”

— Mock Trial teacher Ben Ewald

“In Law 1, right now we’re doing moot court, which is sort of a really simplified version of Mock Trial,” sophomore Ruth Wang said. “We’re doing it for the Supreme Court where we just argue our own case.”

After completing Survey of Government and Law, students are able to go further down the path of law courses such as Mock Trial or Political Science.

“[Mock Trial] students gain a better sense of what goes into the trial portion of a case,” Ewald said. “They understand that attorneys don’t spend their life in trial, but most of the time trying to avoid going to trial. It is also a prerequisite for the practicum of law course where select students work three hours a day at local law firms each A-Day.”

With its various courses, students can advance in legal careers of different types even before college.

“Mock trial prepares students for a career in law by directly teaching them the basic rules and skills that every lawyer learns their 1L in law school if not before,” Ewald said. “They learn that the actual practice of law, especially the trial portion of law, is not what you see in TV on criminal shows.”

Day to day class time in Mock Trial mirrors the experience of actual trials.

“After the basics have been learned, students are put into trial teams of five or six and spend about two to two and a half weeks preparing for trial,” Ewald said. “The teams compete against one another arguing the assigned case. Each case argued is a test grade, and we argue two cases most six weeks. Cases alternate between civil litigation and criminal.”

After spending time in legal classes, students can discover what area of law they want to focus on.

“Some students may have a family member that served time in jail so they have an interest in criminal law, some may have reasons to practice family law,” Ewald said. “Depending on what a student decides to practice in law offers the chance to make a difference in that field and the lives of people impacted by those areas of law.”

With access to legal programs there is strong encouragement from teachers and professionals for students interested in law to consider pursuing it.

“I would suggest students pursue a career in law if they have a passion to work in a field that is served by being an attorney,” Ewald said. “That motivation comes from a lot of different places because there are a lot of areas of specialty for attorneys to practice. The drive to spend time in undergraduate and then three years of law school comes from the students interest or motivation.”

They learn that the actual practice of law, especially the trial portion of law, is not what you see in TV on criminal shows.”

— Ewald

For students interested in law, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, John Parker, believes they should not feel discouraged.

“A lot of people say, ‘well I don’t want to go into law because there’s too many lawyers,’” Parker said. “Well there are a lot of lawyers, that’s true, but there’s always going to be room for the best of the best, and I would encourage them to still consider a consider law as a profession, but approach it very seriously, and be a very good student.”

Although building a career in law could be difficult, Parker believes that the work is rewarding.

“I wanted to do something where I would go home every night, look myself in the mirror, and feel like I made the world a better place, or did something really good for the greater community, not just one company or client, and that’s when working at the U.S. Attorney’s Office occured to me,” Parker said. “So now I get to go home everyday and look myself in the mirror, and look at my children, and wife, and feel like I’ve really done something worthwhile.”

 

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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas
CTE Centers gives students a head start on law careers