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Lawyers Journal

MBF's $48,000 grant funds Worcester Judicial Youth Corps

A Fellows grant of $48,092 from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the MBA, has made it possible to continue the Worcester portion of the Supreme Judicial Court's Judicial Youth Corps program this year. More than one dozen high school students from Worcester are participating in the 14-week program, which includes a seven-week internship.

The program began May 13 with a seven-week orientation to the court system hosted at Bowditch & Dewey LLP in Worcester. The students then complete internships within various Worcester court departments from July 6 through Aug. 20.

"The Judicial Youth Corps program presents a unique and valuable opportunity for us to provide Massachusetts youth with hands-on experience that leads to a fuller appreciation of our justice system," MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus said.

"The MBA is grateful for the MBF's continued commitment to this important program, as well as its generosity in funding many other community based-programs that fulfill the legal needs of many underserved citizens of Massachusetts."

Designed for urban high school students, the Judicial Youth Corps program was established by the Supreme Judicial Court's Public Information Office in 1991. The program teaches young people about the judicial branch of government and fundamental principles of law.

"The Worcester Judicial Youth Corps program would not be possible without the strong commitment of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and Massachusetts Bar Association, and I appreciate their continuing support and partnership with the courts," Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall said.

"Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing young people engaged in learning about the judiciary's role in a constitutional democracy," Marshall said. "For the past 20 years, the Supreme Judicial Court's Judicial Youth Corps has provided opportunities for hundreds of high school students to learn fundamental principles of law, to form mentorships with judges, lawyers and employees, and to work as paid summer interns in courthouses."

SJC Justice Roderick L. Ireland has been an advisor to and an ardent supporter of the Judicial Youth Corps since it began in 1991. "Each year, I am very impressed with the level of interest and enthusiasm of the students who apply to be participants of the Judicial Youth Corps," Ireland said.

"The young people who are selected to be in the program gain an invaluable learning experience. I would love to see this program in every corner of the state. The Massachusetts Bar Foundation should be applauded for their unwavering commitment to the Judicial Youth Corps students."

The MBF has provided funding annually to the program since 2007, when a Fellows Fund grant helped to return the program to Worcester after a long hiatus.

"The foundation is pleased to once again be able to support such a unique and worthwhile program as the Judicial Youth Corps," Executive Director Elizabeth M. Lynch said.

"It is so gratifying to see young people not just exposed to the legal system, but immersed in the profession and treated as peers by their supervisors and teachers. For the students, this obviously instills a great sense of pride and purpose."

When the Judicial Youth Corps program originally began, high school students in Boston were eligible. The program later expanded to Worcester and then Springfield.

In recent years, the program was limited to Boston students due to financial constraints. The Boston Private Industry Council has funded the Boston portion of the program in recent years.

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