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Nelson Mullins and the Association of Corporate Counsel South Carolina Chapter Partner on Street Law Pro Bono Diversity Pipeline Program

January 14, 2015

Twenty-seven students from Dutch Fork High School recently received lessons on the law relating to contracts, sexual harassment, and cyberbullying as part of a collaborative diversity pipeline pro bono initiative by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in conjunction with the Association of Corporate Counsel's South Carolina Chapter.

The hands-on legal experience is designed to increase students' knowledge and interest in the law and legal careers and aims to help address the lack of diversity in the legal profession. Legal teams from Nelson Mullins and its Nelson Mullins Encompass e-discovery practice group partnered with corporate counsel from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina, Computer Sciences Corporation, Hubbell Power Systems, SCANA, Honda North America, First Citizens Bank, and Santee Cooper to provide in-classroom instruction followed by an interactive workshop at Nelson Mullins' offices in Columbia, S.C. 

Street Law has four components upon which the program is based: training, classroom visits, a one-day conference, and enhancements. Street Law partners a corporate legal department and/or a law firm with a local diverse high school classroom. Lawyers and staff members visit a selected classroom and teach lessons and lead activities on selected areas of law.

"The knowledge my students in Law Related Education gained through the lessons taught at Dutch Fork and the field trip to Nelson Mullins was awesome," said Dutch Fork teacher Tommy Painter. "The students gained valuable and real world experiences from the law exercises and the knowledge of the lawyers. Nelson Mullins made a great impression on the students about the world outside of high school. They were very impressed. I am very grateful to Street Law Inc., Nelson Mullins, and the lawyers for this great experience."

This is the third time Nelson Mullins has partnered with corporate counsel in the Midlands region of South Carolina to help bring Street Law to local high school students. In the spring of 2012 and 2013, Nelson Mullins partnered with a client and two other Columbia, S.C. high schools to deliver the Street Law diversity pipeline program.

"Our attorneys and legal professionals participating in the Street Law program have enjoyed enhancing local students’ awareness of different types of law and sharing perspectives on career possibilities in the legal profession. Partnering with in-house counsel has enabled us to together share broader perspectives about how companies and law firms counsel clients and about different jobs in the legal marketplace," said Gus Dixon, partner with Nelson Mullins.

Street Law began in 1972 when a group of Georgetown University Law Center students developed an experimental curriculum to teach District of Columbia high school students about the law and the legal system. Because of its practical nature, the course was called "Street Law." Over time, the Street Law curriculum evolved from a binder of loose-leaf lesson plans to a range of programs and publications designed to enhance the teaching of practical law, crime prevention, conflict resolution, youth advocacy, and the fundamental principles of democracy. By helping to improve the teaching of law and understanding of relevant legal principles, Street Law empowers youths and adults to use their knowledge to solve problems and better their communities and motivates them to become active participants in society.

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