Hi, my name is Athena Williams! I'm a rising tenth grader at Licking Heights High School and a second-year student in the Law and Leadership Institute.
The Law and Leadership Institute (LLI) is a 4-year program in law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem solving, writing skills and professionalism that starts the summer before going into your freshman year of high school, and continues to graduation.
I'm part of the L-L-I program at The Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law - but there are 400 high school students from all over the state at programs at seven other law schools.
Last year we centered our focus on criminal law, and the basics of the judicial system, and this year we've been covering civil and constitutional law. We apply the law to current events, brief cases and take tests on what we know.
My favorite part has definitely been the mock trials, where we prepare a case and present it to a real judge. I've done two so far and I hope to keep participating.
This summer's experience included an internship, and I spent a week at the Columbus office of Frost, Brown and Todd. Steve Ellcessor and other attorneys at Frost, Brown and Todd helped me get a great idea of what it's like to be an attorney and work in a law firm - which is exactly what I want to do.
"We provide them with mentors and people to work with. We try to provide them with opportunities to go to hearings, to visit courtrooms," Ellcessor said. "It helps some of these young people who may not know anybody who is a lawyer learn a little bit about what lawyers do, who they are, that they are for the most part normal people."
During my internship I visited the Court of Common Pleas and talked personally with a judge, participated in client meetings, witnessed jury selection and attended a hearing at the Industrial Commission.
Through the internship and other activities, L-L-I students develop a sense of camaraderie and we become a family.
I can't wait to be an attorney so that I can help improve the world and prove that justice really can be done, and the Law and leadership Institute is putting me closer to my goals.