Boston, Worcester and Springfield students graduate from Judicial Youth Corps

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017
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Top: MBA President-elect Christopher P. Sullivan and SJC Justice Kimberly Budd spoke at the program. Bottom: Students took part in a mock trial before Judge Jonathan Tynes of the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court.

High school students, mentors, court staff, family members and other supporters gathered for Judicial Youth Corps (JYC) Appreciation Day on Aug. 17 at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston to celebrate the close of the 2017 JYC program.

The JYC program gives urban high school students an opportunity to experience the judicial system and learn about the law through educational sessions and hands-on internships in the courts from May through July each year. The SJC first established the summer program in Boston in 1991. The Massachusetts Bar Association has partnered with the SJC since 2007 to run the program in Worcester. This year the MBA once again expanded the program to Springfield in partnership with the SJC and Western New England University School of Law. The Massachusetts Bar Foundation served as the primary sponsor of both the Worcester and Springfield programs, while the Boston program was funded by the City of Boston's Youth Fund and the Boston Private Industry Council.

"The program has given hundreds of high school students the chance to learn about the judicial branch of government through educational sessions, internships and, for some, a mock trial experience," Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly Budd said during the graduation ceremony. "Being part of the Judicial Youth Corps gives students a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of our state court system and has inspired some to go on to work in the legal profession."

MBA President-elect Christopher P. Sullivan was among the speakers celebrating the accomplishments of this year's graduates.

"I'm a huge proponent of education, and an even greater proponent of the legal profession. And I don't think there is a better way to learn about the legal profession than by seeing it in action - and this summer our students did just that," said Sullivan. "I'm sure many discovered opportunities in the legal field that they never knew existed. I am confident that these students have gained a deeper appreciation for the courts and in the Massachusetts legal system."

Sullivan also thanked the students' families, mentors and court volunteers for their support, including those involved in the MBA-affiliated programs, such as James Rosseel, the Worcester teacher and attorney who has run the Worcester program for the past 11 years; Sam Charron, the assistant director and pro bono coordinator at Western New England University School of Law; and MBA Community & Public Services Director Elizabeth O'Neil, who administers the Worcester and Springfield programs.

Prior to the graduation ceremony, JYC students took part in a mock trial competition before Judge Jonathan Tynes of the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court. Worcester students faced off against Boston students, while Springfield students served as jurors.

According to the SJC, there have been more than 500 JYC program graduates since the program's inception. Many have gone on to work in various professions, including working as prosecutors, defense attorneys and attorneys in private legal practice. In 2012, a 1991 JYC graduate was appointed as a District of Columbia Superior Court Magistrate Judge.