Bar Association Invests In the Next Generation
The Brevard County Bar Association is proud to sponsor several programs to help students in Brevard County schools develop a better understanding of the role of law in our society.
The Justice Teaching Program, developed by the Florida Supreme Court, is designed to help students understand the importance of the critical role the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution) plays in protecting individual rights in the United States.
In order to participate in this program, each attorney must complete a training program designed by the Florida Supreme Court. The Court has designed an interactive curriculum for various grade levels. More information on this program is available at www.justiceteaching.org
The Bar Association also conducts an annual Law Week poster and essay competition for students at all grade levels. The winners for each grade are invited to attend the Bar’s Annual Law Day Luncheon and are awarded with a $100 U.S. Savings Bond. In addition, the winners’ artwork and essays are displayed in the Moore Justice Center in Viera. This year’s Law Day theme is “The Legacy of John Adams,” our nation’s first lawyer president.
Learning by Example
John Adams demonstrated his commitment and support of the right of a criminal defendant to an attorney before that right became part of our constitution when he defended British soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials in 1770, which resulted in many of the soldiers being found not guilty. Adams agreed to represent the soldiers despite strong public sentiment against the soldiers. His representation of these soldiers demonstrated the highest standards of ethics for the legal profession – that each citizen is entitled to legal representation no matter how unpopular the case.
The Brevard County Bar also conducts an annual Mock Trial Competition for public and private high school students. In this contest, teams of local students simulate the roles of attorneys for both sides in a fictional trial. This is an academic competition in which a team of 6-8 students from each participating high school takes on the roles of attorneys and witnesses for both sides in a fictional trial. The students are provided with documents, witness statements, and other evidence involving a dispute between two or more individuals. The students are required to prepare and present opening statements, questions for direct examination and cross examination of each witness and to prepare and present closing arguments.
This Mock Trial program is designed to help the students understand the complex issues involved in resolving a dispute and how our judicial system is designed to fully examine all sides of an issue before a decision is made. This program also serves as rehearsal time, as the winner of our Mock Trial Competition advances to the statewide high school mock trial competition.
The Bar Association also supports the Academy of Law and Public Safety at Palm Bay High School. In this program, students enter in 9th grade and continue through 12 grade and experience the real world of the courts, criminal law and public safety. Students completing the program can earn up to 24 credits from Brevard Community College.
In addition to these programs, many of the Bar’s members provide direct support to schools assisting in a wide variety of volunteer programs. The Brevard County Bar Association is committed to working with schools in Brevard County to ensure our students understand and appreciate the role of the law and the legal system in protecting our individual rights.