The Max Berger Pre-Law Academy
The Max Berger Pre-Law Summer Academy is committed to cultivating and preparing high caliber students who are interested in a future in the legal profession.
Applicants should be strong students with at least a B high school average as they prepare for understanding the competitive nature of the law school admissions process. The fundamental objective of the Pre Law Academy is to provide the grounding and exposure to prepare students to begin to think critically about admission to the nation's top colleges and law schools for a career in practice, research or service.
Goals of the Pre-Law Academy
- Understanding and development of the qualifications necessary for successful top tier law school admission
- Exploration and investigation of the array of careers within the legal profession and development of academic and professional skill sets
The Academy is open to rising high school juniors and rising high school seniors with a minimum of a B average and strong letters of reference. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their application essay, their academic record, and a teacher's letter of recommendation. Acceptance to the Academy is made on a rolling basis. Earlier applications compete for all available slots, whereas later applications compete for limited slots.
Essential modules of the Pre-Law Academy
- Workshops to help understand the foundations and components of the LSAT.
- Exploration and investigation of the legal profession through panels, field trips and speakers of law students, law school admissions counselors, and practitioners.
- Site visits to court rooms, firms, law schools, or other law related professional settings.
- Mock Trial and Moot Court.
- Networking events and student social programming.
Components of the Program
The Pre Law Academy brings together highly motivated students and introduces them to the world of law. Students will gain a broad understanding of law, the social, political, and economic factors that necessitate and influence the creation of laws and variety of professions that exist under the law. Workshops and seminars in this track include*:
- SAT Prep: All of our test preparation courses include skills review, test-taking strategies and tips, practice exercises and simulated tests. Participants will be given a short paper-based assessment to determine individual strengths and weaknesses. Assessment will be based on practice SAT exams.
- Curriculum: The content of the lessons will include critical reading (reading comprehension, sentence completion and paragraph-length critical reading), math (number and operations, algebra and functions, geometry, statistics, probability and data analysis), and writing (grammar, usage, word choice and essay). Post-Assessment will ask participants to write a short paper-based assessment to assist in measuring the participants' improvement. The instructor will meet with each student personally to discuss the results of the assessment. Instructors have extensive background in teaching, tutoring and coaching junior and senior high school students to want to prepare for the PSAT and SAT standardized tests. These sessions will include time in the computer lab to practice on-line as well as become familiar with the College Board website.
- Student Advisement and College Counseling: Essential to the Pre Law Academy is college and pre law advisement. This includes: academic advisement, career advice, assistance with researching, identifying and applying to college, understanding undergraduate majors and course selection. Students must develop the navigation skills to identify programs and courses to continue developing and improving reasoning, logic, decision-making, analytical thinking and problem solving, research, writing and oral communication skills, as well as opportunities to equip them with a broad understanding of history, politics, economics, philosophy and the relationship of law to social institutions.
- Understanding the LSAT: The LSAT exam is a key determinant in law school admissions decisions. Adequate LSAT preparation is essential to attaining a high score, a crucial step in securing competitive standing in the law school admissions process.
- Writing and Communication Workshops: Fundamental writing and communication skills must be developed and acquired well before law school. Integral to success in all professional fields resides the ability to write and speak well. Students are provided with writing instruction, enhancing abilities to read critically, create cogent arguments, write persuasively, and cultivate logical thinking and presentation skills. The Pre Law Academy will provide students with creative and engaging workshops that will aid not only in high school and college classes, but also for personal statements and application essays. Improving their overall writing abilities and focusing on certain key writing strategies will enable students to be better prepared for college, law school and beyond.
- Panels, Field Trips and Speakers: The Pre Law Academy provides students with opportunities to visit local law schools, court rooms, and hear from panels of current college students considering law school, current law school students, and law school admissions counselors. These opportunities allow students to engage practitioners share their experiences, expectations, and career paths.
- Mock Trial and Moot Court: Experiencess such as a mock trial and moot court help students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as knowledge of legal practices and procedures. Engaging in trial and appellate court simulations helps students to develop legal writing skills and continue the development of oral communication and advocacy skills that will be utilized in law schools and legal practice. In this practical skills course, students will work on developing their oral advocacy and writing skills by participating in a moot court and mock trail workshop. Students will learn direct and cross examination, how to lay foundations, evidentiary objections, opening statement and closing argument. The last week of the program students in teams will try both sides of a case and see what it is like to stand up in court.
- Networking Events: Networking is a good way for students to continue to develop and continue to refine their interpersonal skills. Through building relationships in their areas of interest, students are able to obtain additional information about the paths to law school, the legal profession and internships.
- Practical Skills Workshops: Students will participate in workshops covering topics such as the preparation of résumés and cover letters, interviewing, and networking. The Academy will also include workshops emphasizing such practical skills as preparing for and taking exams, speaking up in class, taking effective notes, time management and what students should know about making the transition from high school to college to graduate coursework.
Pre-Law Topics Covered
- Anatomy of a Crime—Is it really like TV?: TV programs such as Law and Order provide a dramatic perspective on a far broader category of law. This class will explore the law of crimes and the administration of criminal justice focusing on crimes such as homicide, theft, and conspiracy and scrutinize various defense strategies. Students will engage engage in a competitive exercise to determine whether one or the other has been committed through analyzing film clips, discussing vignettes and role play. Lecturers include FBI intelligence analysts.
- Constitutional Law—Founding Fathers—What Were They Thinking?: Ever wondered what our founding fathers meant by the "right to bear arms"? Understand our nation's founding documents, explore precedent-setting Supreme Court cases, learn tough legal terms and complex judicial and legislative concepts and discuss Founders really intended and what they can do to uphold their vision.
- Corporate Law—Enron and Madoff—Ethics and Duty: Corporate law is all about big business and this course covers all the basics: shareholders, employees, partnerships, liability and shares in the stock exchange. Students will also review case studies that deal with topical problems in corporate governance, investment strategy, executive compensation and potential corporate and criminal behavior.
- Privacy Law—They Know What?!?: How much are you willing to share? Where do we draw the lines? Who does the law protect? Students will learn about the legal policies on privacy and confidentiality and how to protect their privacy both on and offline.
- Voir Dire Simulation: An introduction to the concept of our adversary system. Students are given roles as attorneys and members of a jury pool for a case. Lawyers use their cause and peremptory challenges to excuse jurors. After jury is impaneled, real lawyers debrief the students and explain their reasoning.
- Tort Law: I Can Sue Who?: Introduces students to the basic principles of liability for harm caused to a person or someone's property. Learn who is really at fault and who you can sue when something breaks and injures you.
*Course topics are subject to change and all topics mentioned may not be offered at every summer program.