A PUBLICATION OF THE MARYLAND JUDICIARYFall 2011
Judiciary Helps Law Links Program
MSBA internship program links high school students with law firms, law-related agencies and courts
For close to two decades, the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) has worked with local law firms, courts and law-related agencies to open up a whole new world of possibilities and choices for high school students. MSBA’s Law Links summer internship program connects young people with attorneys in an educational and professional setting. The MSBA presents this public service program every summer to provide summer employment for students, while helping them prepare for college and the professional business world.
Through MSBA's internship, the law firms and agencies pay the students for seven weeks of summer employment, including time spent at the Law and Leadership Institute, the educational component of the program.
The Baltimore City Circuit Court is an active participant in this unique internship program. Last summer, of the 19 Baltimore City high school students who were accepted as Law Links interns, three were assigned to Baltimore’s Circuit Court. All interns take a field trip to that court as part of the educational program, which also includes visits with Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Maryland Court of Appeals, and Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn, District Court of Maryland, plus a tour of the University of Maryland School of Law. Law Links is offered in Baltimore City, and Prince George’s, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.
“My history with Law Links goes back almost to when I came on the bench in 1999,” said Baltimore City Circuit Judge Wanda K. Heard, who serves as a Law Links mentor and who has served on the board of the Citizenship Law-Related Education Program (CLREP), the arm of the MSBA that oversees the Law Links effort. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for young people to get an up-close look at what it’s like to be involved in the law,” she said. “I also think that we, as lawyers, benefit greatly. It provides us with an opportunity to give back to the younger generation, and perhaps groom new lawyers. Mentoring these students also puts us on our best behavior. When I’m working with an intern, I learn from their new perspective on my work and the law, and that’s invaluable. It continually reminds me of why I chose the law. We are also role models; we are the gatekeepers of the proper way to resolve disputes.”
The MSBA reports that, over the years, many interns have excelled in their work and, at the firm's invitation, continued their employment with the law firm well beyond the internship. In fact, several now work fulltime at their law firms. A number have also gone on to college and some are now lawyers, graduating from such law schools as Harvard, Georgetown University and George Mason University. But whatever destiny holds for each intern, Law Links is a positive step and a bridge to the youth's future.
Video of last summer’s Law Links interns (mov) 62MB.
More information about the Law Links program is available on the website for the Citizenship Law-Related Education Program, www.clrep.org/LawLinksInternship.html .