Amelia Levitt-Smith ’23

Legal Outreach, Long Island City, NY

I had the great opportunity to work as a Coordinating Intern for the Summer Law Institute (SLI) at Legal Outreach with a goal of providing social and academic support to students so they can eventually matriculate into competitive colleges and pursue their career interests. Over the course of the summer, 18 bright, young women logging onto Zoom learned about the criminal justice system and the structure of criminal trials. Through intensive study and essay writing, as well as guest speakers and virtual field trips, our graduates gained insight into their rights, responsibilities, study tools, and potential future careers. Each day, we discussed theories of punishment, mens rea, purposes of criminal trials, arraignment, opening/closing statements, objections, and much more. A mock trial concluded our summer with a bang.

Zoom meeting.
Our entire class on Zoom on our last day of the Summer Law Institute.

Working with Legal Outreach was one of the best professional experiences I have encountered. I honed my teaching and presentation skills and learned about organization in the workplace. The virtual format of the SLI exceeded my expectations. I was worried that teachers would not be able to connect with the students, and also that the students would not get to know each other or become friends. I was completely wrong about this; students were excited to come to our casual lunches and our Institute became a really nice community. I can only imagine how much better it would have been if we were in-person!

I loved how the guest speakers were interesting and relevant for me as well as for our students. With a few years left before I have to decide about going to law school, it was great to hear so many different perspectives from others in the legal field. I think that I have grown as a teacher through SLI, not only in terms of my skills lessons but also in learning how to be both understanding and tough on the students at the same time. I tried to make my lessons fun and productive, and I think in general students enjoyed them. They also loved working together and forming friendships and partnerships preparing for their mock trial.

Overall, I had a great experience working with Legal Outreach. The staff was incredibly helpful, warm, and inspiring
to work with and learn from. And I loved being one piece of these students’ academic journey. Legal Outreach is an amazing organization and I hope to continue 
to stay connected with them and their life-changing work in the future.

I am incredibly grateful to have been afforded this opportunity through the generosity of the members of the Class of 1951; without you I could not have had this impactful and important learning experience.