HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. —
Hofstra Law students Adam Lepzelter of Bayside, Queens and Melissa Grier of Center Moriches, New York, have been selected as Law Club Advisers for the Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead, New York.
“It is very important to give back to the local community and get students interested in learning about politics, law and government,” said Lepzelter. “I want to inspire young people to learn about debate and government, which are two passions of mine. I know when I was their age I would have loved the opportunity to have a law student talk to me about law school experiences and help me to learn how to debate and argue important issues.”
Grier said, “It's great to help out the kids in the community, and they now have something to look forward to and work hard for.”
Lepzelter and Grier will advise the school's 60-member Law Club as its students prepare for moot court, mock trial and debate competitions.
Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School representative Dorian V. Segure said, “The ABG Schultz Law Club is important for students because children, in grades 6-8, exercise and enhance writing, debate, conflict management, peer mediation, public speaking, critical thinking and cooperative learning skills.”
Facing a busy calendar, the Club next month competes in a debate tournament focusing on issues related to video games such as Grand Theft Auto and whether the games were an influencing factor in murder cases.
“When I first met the kids they had a genuine excitement to receive help with their mock trial and moot court teams. If I can serve as a role model or help these kids feel a sense of accomplishment so that they know that college and law school are viable options, that's great,” said Grier.
The December schedule also includes a Manhattan moot court competition that will focus on issues of national security and the freedom of the press. Next spring, the students flex their trial advocacy skills at the annual Suffolk County Mock Trial tournament.
These types of pro bono projects are nothing new for Hofstra Law. The Law Club Adviser program is the result of the strong relationship between the community and Hofstra Law’s Office of Career Serves, directed by Michael J. Ende, Assistant Dean for Career Services.
Ende placed Lepzelter and Grier in this year's middle school program. Last year, Ende placed Hofstra Law students Jacqui DeLorbe and Caroline Mayrhofer, who were members of Hofstra's Mock Trial Enrichment Program (MTEP) program, as Law Club Advisers at Oceanside High School.
Hofstra Law Professor of Legal Writing Barbara S. Barron oversees the MTEP program. “This is a great opportunity for our law students to work with others in the community. We have a terrific advocacy skills curriculum here. Our students learn how to do it and then can go out and teach others how to do it - what better way to be involved with the community,” Barron said.
Barron also recommended Lepzelter and Grier for the Law Club program. “Professor Barron has been influential through her classes of oral advocacy and trial techniques. I thank her for suggesting me for this program,” said Grier.
Hofstra Law’s numerous pro-bono student groups include The Public Justice Foundation, The Domestic Violence Courtroom Advocates Project, The Law Students Disaster Recovery Network, The Unemployment Action Center and The Volunteers for Income Tax Assistance program. Hofstra Law also offers a loan assistance program for graduates who work in public interest.
Hofstra Law was recently named one of the country’s best public interest law schools by preLaw magazine, a national publication aimed at prospective law students. Among the 75 law schools that made the list, Hofstra ranked 11th.
A pioneer in clinical programs, Hofstra Law School is home to clinics for Child Advocacy, Community and Economic Development, Criminal Justice, Law Reform Advocacy, Mediation, Political Asylum and Securities Arbitration. The clinics teach students lawyering skills through the legal representation of clients in need. Hofstra Law students work with real clients, under faculty supervision, while earning academic credit.