Judicial Youth Corps returns to Springfield under MBA/SJC partnership

Issue July 2014 By Mike Vigneux

The Supreme Judicial Court's Judicial Youth Corps program returns to Springfield this summer after a 13-year absence in the city. The program teaches public and private high school students about the judicial branch of government and fundamental principles of law.

In collaboration with the SJC, the Massachusetts Bar Association will administer both the Springfield and Worcester Judicial Youth Corps programs. The Springfield program was developed through a partnership with the SJC, the MBA and Western New England University School of Law.

SJC Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland, an advisor and ardent supporter of the Judicial Youth Corps program since its inception, marked the return of the Springfield program on June 6 at the High School of Commerce, where he administered an oath to 10 Springfield-area students.

"This is a program with great potential to open doors," remarked Ireland, who noted that past participants have gone on to successful careers as lawyers, doctors and many other professional roles. "I hope this program gives you an appetite for the future," he said.

The SJC has operated the Judicial Youth Corps program in Boston continuously since 1991. The expansion of the Judicial Youth Corps program to Springfield marks the second time the MBA has helped grow the Judicial Youth Corps program beyond its Boston roots. In 2007, the MBA, in cooperation with the SJC, expanded the highly successful program to the city of Worcester.

"The MBA is proud to fund and provide such an innovative program in Springfield this year, giving students in one of the commonwealth's largest urban centers an opportunity to experience firsthand how the justice system works in Massachusetts," said MBA President Douglas K. Sheff. "We are also pleased to continue our partnership with the Supreme Judicial Court on the successful Judicial Youth Corps program in Worcester, whose program will again benefit from financial support of our philanthropic partner, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation."

Between May and June, students in both Springfield and Worcester take part in educational sessions over the course of six weeks, which orient them on the court system and the law. In July and August, students participate in paid internships in the court system over another six-week period.

More than 700 students in Massachusetts have participated in Judicial Youth Corps since its inception.