Pond Lehocky is joining students from Strawberry Mansion High School’s Youth Court this fall to continue an ongoing legal mentorship program. Developed by Associate Kaitlin Files, the program partners students with Pond Lehocky attorneys so that they can learn more about the legal system and what it’s like to be an attorney.
As an active member of the youth court movement in Philadelphia, Kaitlin helped create and implement the mentorship program during her earlier work with Strawberry Mansion students. While still in law school at Temple University, she had already begun to develop a model for law firm support for youth courts. Kaitlin has led the program at Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano since 2014.
“Giving teenagers the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the legal world is so important because the students are able to gain skills that they can use even outside of the classroom,” said Kaitlin. “Our attorneys work directly with the students to keep them motivated and excited about the future.”
Youth Courts are a national program where students act as the judge and jury in their school to determine the correct recourse for peers who violate school policies. Youth Courts aim to cut down on the amount of students suspended and expelled using a restorative justice model of early intervention and providing an alternative to formal processing in traditional juvenile justice systems. The concept is continuing to grow with more than a thousand Youth Court programs throughout the U.S.
By working closely with attorney mentors at Pond Lehocky, students involved in the Strawberry Mansion High School’s Youth Court learn first-hand about case preparation and how to stay organized, motivated and committed during the trial process. Early immersion in a professional atmosphere helps many students prepare for their future careers, and the interaction fosters a positive relationship with the legal world.
“Seeing the students so enthusiastic about law is the most rewarding part of working on the program. We’re really excited to continue this mentorship with Strawberry Mansion High School students and we will continue to grow the program,” said Kaitlin.
To learn more about Strawberry Mansion High School, click here.
To learn more about Youth Courts, click here to visit the National Association of Youth Courts.