Written by Charlene Kiesselbach|April 17, 2018|News

(Dorothy Chou Proudfoot, Attorney with the San Francisco Rent Board: a small group discussion leader for the program Alice Purdy, Attorney with Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada: on our Steering Committee Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos, San Francisco Superior Court: Co-Chair of the program Judge Charlene Padovani Kiesselbach, San Francisco Superior Court: Co-Chair and Founder of the program Eliza Rodrigues, Attorney: on our Steering Committee Kelly Robbins, Attorney with Robbins Family Law: on our Steering Committee.)

On April 17, 2018, sixty-four high school students participated in the San Francisco Color of Justice program.  This half-day program exposed students to demonstrations by attorneys practicing their skills and candid discussions by judges and lawyers about their path to a career in the law, as well as an opportunity to talk informally with lawyers in small group sessions.  The program included a mock closing argument, a client interview, a panel discussion, and small group meetings.

Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos (San Francisco Superior Court) introduced nationally recognized litigation attorneys, James Brosnahan and Arturo Gonzalez, both partners at Morrison & Foerster, who presented a mock closing argument for a teenage cyber-bullying case.  After giving riveting opposing arguments, the attorneys shared their own personal stories of overcoming economic and academic challenges.

Drucilla Stender Ramey, Dean Emerita, Golden Gate University School of Law, and former Executive Director of NAWJ, moderated a lively and candid discussion among Judges Newton Lam and Daniel Flores, San Francisco Superior Court, and Bobbie Wilson, Partner, Perkins Coie, about their challenges as minorities and persons of color aspiring to a career in the law.

After reassembling for a closing ceremony with certificates of completion for each student, the students returned to their schools.  The program was summed up by one student:  “It was Great!”

Each year, we re-evaluate the program with a view to keeping it current and relevant to the students of today. Balboa High School has participated in the program from its inception. Over the years, other schools have sent students as well. This year, Holy Names High School in Oakland participated. Next year, we have plans to include students from a school servicing youth in the Tenderloin Neighborhood of San Francisco. Always, our mission remains the same: making the law accessible to All.

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