UB’s Undergraduate Academies to hold program on Lawyers as Agents of Social Change

By Emily Faracca

Release Date: July 22, 2013

“Students will have the chance to focus on learning in an atmosphere that fosters creativity and reflection.”
Bernadette Gargano

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Court proceedings, exposure to the legal world and historic sights await students participating in University at Buffalo’s Undergraduate Academies second annual Extension Learning program.

The week-long program, Lawyers as Agents of Social Change, invites high school graduating seniors and college students of all levels to the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua Lake from July 28 to Aug. 4. The students will explore the role of lawyers in the community as they advocate for and participate in social change. The students will be accompanied by two faculty members from the UB Law School, Bernadette Gargano and Johanna Oreskovic.

“We want students to participate in the process of learning, to consider different perspectives from a variety of sources,” said Gargano, a member of the UB Law School’s legal skills faculty. “Students will have the chance to focus on learning in an atmosphere that fosters creativity and reflection.”

The program began last year when Gargano approached Hadar Borden, administrative director of undergraduate academies, with an idea to introduce undergraduate students to the legal world in a professional and motivating environment.

“She really wanted students to experience what it was like to be a lawyer in a real-world setting,” said Borden. “We don’t use the word ‘transformative’ very often, but students said the experience was genuinely transformative for them. They especially loved being surrounded by peers with the same enthusiasm and drive.”

Last year’s trip introduced students to legal proceedings, and arranged meet-and-greets with lawyers devoted to legal justice on both a local and global scale. One highlight for the students was a dinner at the home of Francis Letro, prominent attorney in the national community and vice chair of the UB Law School's Dean's Advisory Council.

This year, students will be introduced to the concepts of crime, punishment and public service based on the life of Justice Robert H. Jackson. This historical example will lead to an exploration of modern legal systems and their continued impact on society.

Additionally, students will have the option to continue their study with Gargano in the fall as part of a discovery seminar surrounding the legal system’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

“We provide students with an interactive learning experience that broadens their understanding of lawyers in local, national and global communities as agents of meaningful social change,” said Gargano.

Fee for the program is $1,050 and registration is still being accepted. For more information, contact Borden at 716-645-8177.

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