Maslon is pleased to announce its third year of Maslon UPLIFT: Legal Institute for Teens—an after school mock trial program launched in October 2017 to serve 8th grade students who reflect the rich diversity of the Twin Cities. Currently underway at both St. Louis Park Middle School and Columbia Academy in Columbia Heights, the number of students participating in the program in the 2019-2020 school year has doubled, engaging more than 70 students across the schools.
This year, UPLIFT has invited Columbia Heights students who successfully graduated from the 2018-2019 Maslon UPLIFT program to continue their involvement with the program by offering assistance, experience, and knowledge to the 2019-2020 Maslon UPLIFT class. Paired with the UPLIFT Weekly Summer Book Club, the expanded program offers graduates year-round opportunities to stay connected and advance skills through continued support of their shared interests and mutual goals.
Participation in Maslon UPLIFT helps students build confidence, develop analytical and speaking skills, foster long term vision, and create a framework to pursue academic excellence in high school. The program offers students engaging opportunities to learn from volunteer attorneys about the legal profession, criminal justice, and the court system. Each year in March, UPLIFT students, coached by volunteer lawyers, present criminal mock trials before actual Minnesota Judges.
“We’re so gratified by the growing student interest in UPLIFT. It’s truly a testament to the impact of the inaugural student classes—who had the courage to be a part of something new and achieved so much through the process—and would not have been possible without the tremendous support from the schools, the volunteer attorneys, judges, law students, and community members who have served as mentors and coaches along the way," states Catherine Ahlin-Halverson, Director of Maslon UPLIFT.
Catherine Ahlin-Halverson, a former partner at Maslon LLP and currently Public Interest Counsel for the firm, leads the mock trial program for local students. Prior to this, Ahlin-Halverson practiced in the areas of complex and class action litigation for 16 years and served as co-chair of Maslon's Litigation Group from 2011-2013. In addition to leading the mock trial program for local students, Ahlin-Halverson serves as a mentor and leader across all of Maslon's pro bono efforts.
With more than 60 years dedicated to strengthening both the legal profession and the community, Maslon is proud to stand behind the mission and values of the UPLIFT program.