Nation’s First High School Law Clinic Nurtures Fledgling Legal Eagles

The sounds of Texas.

By Joy DiazAugust 4, 2020 12:53 pm, , ,

When he was in law school, Armin Salek noticed that most of his friends’ parents were also attorneys. That didn’t make for a very diverse pool of people entering the legal profession. To jump-start an interest in the law among young people who hadn’t been exposed to that career path, Salek created the Legal Eagle Internship at Austin’s Akins High School. It is the first high school legal aid clinic in the country. Salek was awarded the 2020 Rather Prize, which recognizes of “the best idea to innovate Texas education.” He plans to use the $10,000 he received to start more legal clinics.

“We have the first cohort of high school students working on real, legal cases – immigration, wills. Our students were particularly excited about handling gender marker and name changes at the end of the year. … Through that clinic, students at our school would be able to tell students who have not identified with their name or gender marker that we support you, and we will help you get the name identification that matches the way you see yourself.”

“What we are trying to do is create a pipeline for underrepresented populations into the [legal] profession. Law should be a place to advocate, regardless of where you start.”

“I really learned family law through my students. They can tell you when a child can provide their opinion for which parent they want to live with in a family law court. They’ll tell you about situations where they were in immigration court, watching a parent in deportation proceedings.”

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