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Experience law: Rising high school juniors and seniors invited to immersive academic study this summer

High school students are invited to apply for the highly competitive Summer Law & Trial Institute this summer at Ohio University's Athens campus.

Students will engage with OHIO alumni attorneys and judges, litigate a mock trial, observe a Supreme Court argument, learn about law school, and visit various non-governmental organizations.

Preference is given to rising high school juniors and seniors from southeastern Ohio, though students from outside the region also can apply. Learn more and apply online.

Free program for high-achieving, rising high school juniors and seniors

The program takes place from July 15-26, 2024, with the last week in residence at OHIO. Virtual sessions will run from July 15-19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. On July 21, participants will be required to come to Athens, where they will stay in a residence hall on campus through July 26.

The institute culminates in a mock trial that family members are invited to attend, with Common Pleas Court Judge Zachary Saunders presiding. He's one of about 20 Ohio University alumni judges and attorneys who will be participating in the institute. In the days leading up to the mock trial, these alumni and current OHIO pre-law and mock trial students will work with institute participants, getting them ready for roles as prosecutors, witnesses and defense attorneys.

The Summer Law and Trial Institute (SLTI) aims to increase understanding of the law and its possibilities among Ohio high school students. Students accepted into the free program will explore law and the American legal system and learn about a variety of legal careers from the alumni, who will discuss their roles as attorneys, judges and advocates.

Ellen Whitehair, an Ohio University alumna who is finishing her second year in law school this year, participated in the institute in 2016. 

"I knew that being selected to participate in the Summer Law and Trial Institute was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me," Whitehair said. "I did not know that it would also lead me to my mentor, Larry Hayman, would guide me through the college application process and then to student organizations, scholarships, leadership roles, mock trial team, and study abroad opportunities. SLTI showed me what kind of student leader and lawyer I could be, and Larry has helped me realize that potential year after year."

The deadline to apply for this selective program is June 7. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis, so applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as admission is competitive.  Tuition is free, made possible through support of College of Arts & Sciences alumni.

Summer Law & Trial Institute students in their mock trial
Summer Law & Trial Institute students in their mock trial

The institute was founded in 2016 by Hayman, director of pre-law program in the Center for Law, Justice & Culture in the College of Arts and Sciences and the University's pre-law advisor. Hayman joined the law center in 2014 after eight years of practicing law. He earned a B.A. in political science and graduated magna cum laude from the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University in 2003. He received his Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, graduating in the top 10 percent of his class, and is licensed to practice law in Ohio and in U.S. District Court.

April 17, 2024
Staff reports