Director of Communications
Task Force Reaches Out to Atlantic City Minority Students
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Pipeline Diversity Task Force will present an ABA Law Day program at the New York Avenue School in Atlantic City on May 21, coinciding with the NJSBA’s Annual Meeting in the seaside resort.
“The mission of the Pipeline Diversity Task Force is to get young students of color interested in becoming lawyers,” said Desha L. Jackson, task force co-chair. “We hope this program will encourage students to want to know more about the law and lawyers, and how the law impacts their everyday lives. The program provides them with role models who can relate to their experiences and let them know that they too can be successful in not only the law, but in life. Simply put, we are working to create the pipeline—our next generation of lawyers.”
The afternoon event will include a panel discussion for sixth to eighth grade middle school students, focusing on law-related jobs and career paths. Panelists include Tamika Stembridge, a law student from Rutgers in Camden; Jill Friedman, director and New Jersey State Bar Foundation fellow for Rutgers’ Street Law Program; Karen Upshaw, an Atlantic City attorney; Reginald Floyd, Atlantic County under sheriff; Michael Epps, an attorney and Casino Control Commission commissioner; Gina Epps, associate general counsel and assistant secretary of South Jersey Industries; Damon G. Tyner, a partner at Parker McCay; and Judge Susan Maven.
“It will be wonderful to work with Principal James Knox at the New York Avenue School,” said Candice Hendricks, one of the program’s organizers. “Our program fits perfectly into Mr. Knox’s mission of shepherding his students into careers such as the law, by providing experience and interaction with a panel of lawyers from the region, including the students’ hometown of Atlantic City.”
In addition to the panel discussion, the program will include a period where students will present their conclusions to exercises they will complete earlier on the Law Day topic of the rule of law. At the end of the program each student is to receive materials to provide additional guidance on law-related careers, including the newly created New Jersey State Bar Foundation pamphlet “How to Become a Lawyer” and the ABA pamphlet “Legal Careers.”
“An ABA study concluded that there are too few minorities in the legal professions, caused in part by a lack of information on legal education and careers reaching this population,” explained Margaret Travers, task force co-chair. “The NJSBA Pipeline Diversity Task Force was formed to address this problem in New Jersey. By working with elementary and secondary schools to provide support programs, the task force hopes to stimulate students’ interest in legal careers and provide insight and information regarding academic requirements and preparation; provide positive role models of color in the legal profession; establish mentoring relationships; increase understanding of and respect for the legal system; provide information on various legal career paths; and more.”
The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice. For more information on the Pipeline Diversity Task Force, other programs sponsored by the NJSBA and membership benefits, visit the association’s website at www.njsba.com.