NYU Law Institute Provided Me with Real World Law Experience
By Mouree Khan, PSL Correspondent
Over the last eight years, the High School Law Institute program has been serving Public Service and Law students who are motivated by a desire to further their understanding of the legal system in preparation for law careers. While the learning experience they provided was the primary reason the program ran so efficiently; it could not have succeeded without the guidance of the teachers who put forth all of their remarkable efforts; their involvement was an essential and crucial part of the success we achieved.
H.S.L.I. is an essential building block for any law-oriented or career-driven student. It is a sixteen-week free trial into the world of regulations, statutes, rules and criminal activity held at New York University (NYU) and Columbia University.
As one who takes advantage of the many opportunities Hillcrest has presented for her continued growth and development in law, this program was undoubtedly one that I simply could not pass up. Through a very precise and seamless process, I submitted an application and soon found myself accepted into this wondrous program; it was yet another advantageous chance for me to deepen my knowledge. Needless to say, it was a relatively smooth transition from my daily routine as a high school student to a weekly semi-college pupil. The additional students that were involved and have graduated along with myself from the program thereafter are Grace Stewart, Vanessa Williams, Maria Cuazon, Jonathan Santiago and Anisah Mohamed.
There were three core courses that students had to complete in order to grasp the sheer magnitude of the very ideas that comprise and constitute law as a field of study: Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, and Mock Trial. Each class was taught by undergraduate and postgraduate students: Deborah (Criminal Law), Ron (Constitutional Law), Alan, (Constitutional Law, Mock Trial) and Jesus (Mock Trial). They taught lessons which included discussion questions, background information, classroom activities and homework assignments that fitted the interests and experiences of each particular class.
The diversity among the classes was phenomenal; they consisted of high school students from different backgrounds, grades, schools, even boroughs. Their distinct personalities brought forth ideas that presented me with a great deal of joy as well as challenges that made me reconsider my outlook and opinions very profoundly. With classes an hour long, we had just enough time to engage in rigorous discussions and classroom debates. As a result, H.S.L.I. also taught me to focus more intently on my criminal law class in school by approaching it with a broader mind and a deeper sense of comprehension.
After continuous hard work in memorization, long nights, studying, and character development strategies, my new favorite group of peers was assembled in an intriguing mock trial competition. With the classes finally having come to an end and final graduation day upon us, we readily waited with friendly faces, fresh information, and a desire to show everyone what we were capable of. The competition was intense but we had been fully molded into quick-witted and sharp future lawyers, prosecutors, and attorneys. Graduation certificates were presented to all the students who satisfied participation requirements.
Special thanks were given to our kind-hearted teachers, whom we are most grateful, for taking time out of their Saturdays to enlighten us on the many aspects of law. Knowledge will never go far until dared to do so. The knowledge was not just given, but earned.