“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once,” wrote English essayist Charles Lamb.
Now, it seems, the lawyers are children. Well, maybe not quite. But here in Gotham, a handful of law-themed high schools and middle schools are teaching student the ropes of legislation and litigation. Law-themed high schools? Yep, you heard that right.
The curricula at the public schools, some of which are part of the New Century Initiative, a decade-long effort to improve schools in the inner-cities, isn’t all-law-all-the-time. Students are expected to follow the curriculum outlined by the Department of Education, so reading, writing and ‘rithmetic stay on the agenda.
But much of the curricula relates directly to law. At the Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, for instance, freshmen take U.S Government for two semesters. By their sophomore year, students begin taking an American law course taught by a former attorney.
Freshmen at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice in Brooklyn preside over a hypothetical case involving injury suffered from Fluffy, a ferocious dog, and an apartment building owner that is sued as a result.