Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Hoover Elementary School

One of the most rewarding ways Southwestern students have become involved in the community is through the law school's association with Hoover Elementary School. Southwestern officially adopted Hoover through the Los Angeles Unified School District's Adopt-A-School Program, which encourages companies and non-profit organizations to become involved in their community schools. Southwestern's outreach efforts at Hoover are designed to help local youth develop a better understanding of the legal system, as well as develop a sense of responsibility and a desire to continue their education.

During the academic school year, volunteers are needed for several projects at Hoover, including tutoring (work study students can be paid), the Mock Trial Program (held at Southwestern - see below) and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (held at Hoover - see below). The Latino Law Students Association also holds an annual toy drive for the students during the holiday season.

For more than 20 years, the mock trial program has been a lively annual event. During the program, fifth-graders from Hoover visit Southwestern, where they witness a staged robbery and then serve as prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, witnesses, and jurors alongside Southwestern students in a criminal trial. Other activities through this association have included tutorial sessions, classroom presentations, book contributions, and food, toy and clothing drives.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Program

In 1997, the SBA developed an alternative dispute resolution skills program for Hoover Elementary that was later used as a model for a circuit-wide project of the American Bar Association/Law Student Division's Ninth Circuit. The program was designed to encourage students to pursue higher education and to teach them conflict resolution skills through a model based on a lost and found bike, the Big Bad Wolf, and his threats to the three little pigs. Southwestern students travel to Hoover Elementary School each year to conduct the 'Three Little Pigs Alternative Dispute Resolution' program, which is now a very proud tradition.

Participants pose for a group photo after the "verdict" is announced during the annual Mock Trial Program with Hoover Elementary School.