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Higher Achievement scholars in DC will participate in fifth annual mock trial and two hands-on, environmentally-focused oceanic events this summer

For some students, summer is a time of inactivity, laziness, and what researchers call “The Summer Slide,” when low-income students typically lose two months of reading knowledge and two months of mathematical computational skills.

But for middle school students in the Washington DC area, this summer will be filled with experiential, hands-on learning, thanks to a longstanding partnership between Higher Achievement and Mayer Brown.

Mock Trial

For the fifth consecutive year, on July 24, Mayer Brown is hosting a career day and mock trial for students from some of DC’s most underserved communities. Dozens of Mayer Brown lawyers and staff volunteer throughout the day – giving tours, sharing their experiences, and coaching scholars through each stage of a mock trial. For the second consecutive year, DC Superior Court judges are presiding over the mock trial, where Higher Achievement students will serve as lawyers, witnesses, jurors, bailiffs and clerks.

National Marine Sanctuary and National Museum of Natural History Field Trips

New this year, Mayer Brown, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuaries, organized a two-day hands-on program where the scholars will become ocean explorers.

On July 10, they will participate in a program at Mayer Brown’s office led by NOAA National Education Specialist Marlies Tumolo, where Higher Achievement scholars will participate in hands-on activities that introduce them to the ocean and help them to understand key ocean literacy concepts. As the scholars explore, they will discover interesting new creatures, unseen habitats and lost shipwrecks, and grow into ocean guardians. And on July 17, Higher Achievement scholars will travel to the National Museum of Natural History, where they will visit the Sant Ocean Hall and the Q?rius Lab. Throughout the day, they will take on the role of scientists as they deepen their understanding of the ocean and the creatures that live there.

“We are thrilled to expand our student-focused events this summer,” said Dan Masur, partner-in-charge of Mayer Brown’s Washington DC office. “Being able to see a student light up when they understand a topic, thanks to hands-on learning, is invaluable. Supporting children and their families in the community through pro bono efforts remains a top priority for our DC office.”

“Mayer Brown’s team members are some of our most dedicated volunteers, and our scholars look forward to Mayer Brown events every summer,” said Katherine Roboff, Executive Director of Higher Achievement. “For many young people in DC, these sort of academic opportunities are all too uncommon. The Mayer Brown team helps to ensure that Summer Slide is a thing of the past for our scholars.”

With more than 180 lawyers, Mayer Brown’s Washington DC office has experienced substantial growth within the past year, adding more than two dozen lateral partners and other lawyers in top-tier practice areas, including Antitrust & Competition, Banking & Finance, Employment & Benefits, Government Relations, Intellectual Property, Privacy & Security, Securities Litigation & Enforcement and White Collar Defense & Compliance. Lawyers in the office are routinely recognized as leaders in the DC legal scene by publications such as the Washington Business Journal, The Washingtonian, Legal Times, Benchmark Litigation, Chambers and Legal 500.

The firm’s DC office is also deeply committed to pro bono and community service activities. In 2014, the office launched “Making the Case for Kids,” a multidimensional community service and pro bono campaign aimed at supporting children and education. Among various other pro bono activities, the office participates in the DC Bar Pro Bono Program Advocacy & Justice Clinic, taking cases of vital importance to the indigent community. The office also supports Urban Alliance in hosting high school senior interns, as well as organizing fundraising, mock trials and other student events for Higher Achievement.

Higher Achievement is a national organization that provides students the best opportunities to succeed in school and life. From fifth through eighth grade, Higher Achievement scholars spend 650 hours a year learning an advanced curriculum that is aligned with state standards. In addition to extensive academic support, Higher Achievement scholars are coached and mentored in areas of creative expression, communication and personal leadership.