Students from Paterson’s Eastside High School will participate in mock trials before a Federal Judge on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

The trials, before the Hon. Stanley R. Chesler at the Federal Courthouse in Newark, are the culmination of Law2Life, a legal enrichment program launched by Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP, in cooperation with Eastside High School. Eleven students, divided into four teams, will start the trials at 10 a.m.

With Drinker Biddle attorneys serving as witnesses, the students will argue a personal injury case of a high school senior injured in a car accident

Drinker Biddle launched the Law2Life program in September 2013. Offered to students of Eastside’s School of Government and Public Administration, the elective program’s curriculum was developed by Drinker Biddle’s lawyers and focused on bringing the law to life in a practical setting by introducing students to the Legal System and developing lawyering skills. For the past several months, the students have been learning legal concepts and honing their advocacy skills in the classroom in preparation for the mock trial.

Students attending Eastside’s School of Government and Public Administration are interested in pursuing careers in law, government, national security, intelligence, homeland security, military, public management and administration. The School of Government and Public Administration is one of three academies at Eastside. Led by Principal Karen Johnson, the academy’s mission is to instill core values for academic excellence, leadership, and responsible citizenship.

“It’s very exciting to witness the students develop their skills,” says Drinker Biddle lawyer and Law2Life faculty member Marita Erbeck. “They are not only developing legal advocacy and public speaking skills, but life skills such as preparation and critical thinking.”

Perhaps one student summed up the program’s successful mission best in an essay. The high school senior wrote, “I really had no idea what I wanted to do until participating in this program. I used to think that becoming a lawyer would be a hard job, but now I realize that I can do it.”

Drinker Biddle is a full-service national law firm with 11 offices and approximately 620 attorneys. With more lawyers in New Jersey than any other Am Law 100 firm, Drinker Biddle has a strong commitment to community and public service in the region. The firm’s attorneys devote many hours to charitable causes and to the pro bono representation of indigent clients and others in the pursuit of important social and public causes.

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