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Calleros to teach at law camp for Hispanic teenagers


July 06, 2007

Professor Charles Calleros will help encourage Hispanic high-school students to consider entering the legal profession during a camp this summer in Washington, D.C.

Calleros, of ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, will teach the students a course aimed at developing their critical thinking skills during the Hispanic National Bar Foundation Inc.’s Law Camp, July 8-15.

The free program provides 25 students from around the United States with opportunities to enjoy the culture and history of the nation’s capital, while learning about the law from prominent Latino leaders.

Calleros will use two programs he’s developed and written about in the Journal of Legal Writing Institute, in a 2001 paper titled “Using Classroom Demonstrations in Familiar Nonlegal Contexts to Introduce New Students to Unfamiliar Concepts of Legal Method and Analysis.”

The interactive exercises are engaging, anxiety-reducing and fun, which is important because that helps students become more receptive to learning and to look forward to class sessions, he says. Each is set in a universally familiar non-legal context, which enables students to build on existing foundations of knowledge, focus their attention on legal method and build analytic skills.

“It’s teaching them something new, based on something they’re familiar with, using skits and props, and it captures their attention,” Calleros says.

One of the programs is called “Grocer’s Rule,” in which an employee and his boss make various decisions about where to place produce. The goal is to help students become comfortable with legal uncertainty, to believe that a legal question set in a grey area has no certain answer, and to inform students that understanding the issues and developing arguments for both sides is their job.

The other is titled “Rules for Monica,” and it involves a teenaged girl and her mother hashing out disagreements about going to the movies instead of doing homework, staying out too late and attending an obligatory family birthday party. The objective is to provide students with an overview of case interpretation, case synthesis, outlining and exam-taking.

“They realize they are doing the kinds of things law students do, and they leave the classroom thinking, ‘I can do this,’ ” Calleros says of Law Camp. “By the end of camp, they are saying, ‘I can go to law school. I can be a lawyer.’ ”

During Law Camp, students also will participate in a mock trial competition at Georgetown Law Center, meet foreign embassy representatives to learn about international relations and speak with experienced attorneys about their cases.

For more information about Law Camp, visit the Web site www.hnbf.org.