Young Lawyers Section - Board
Stacy M. Johnson
President, Young Lawyers Section
May 2013, President's Message
May 1st is Law Day, a day set aside to reflect on the role of the law, the courts, ¬and their importance for society. Unfortunately, most people are not even aware of the existence of Law Day. More disturbing is that only one-third of American's can name the three branches of our government and even less can describe what those branches do.
Our nation's school systems continue to focus on the basics of reading, math, and science with a little or no focus on civic education. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor reflects, "The decline of civic education has left our nation ignorant of the role of government as a whole." Disturbed by this trend, Justice O'Connor has founded iCivics, a program that creates awareness for civic learning both in and out of the classroom. ICivics is a resource that teaches core civics content through free lesson plans, on-line games and interactive modules. ICivics is designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy.
The iCivics program recognizes individual achievements with rewards for participation in activities on the site. Students build avatars with their earned points and can showcase their achievements through profile pages on the website. Teachers can use the lesson plans or games on the website to supplement their existing programs. The games are playable in a single class period, are fun and allow for monitoring with printable game-play reports. The following games can be found on www.icivics.org:
• Supreme Decision: Students are introduced to the process of judicial reasoning and a landmark First Amendment case as they play a clerk to the justice of the Supreme Court and help to decide a case about students' rights in school.
• Do I Have It Right: Players run a constitutional law firm and explore the Bill of Rights to give legal advice to their clients. As they master the rights in the Bill of Rights, their firm grows and they can take on more and more cases.
• Argument Wars: Players debate historical Supreme Court cases by advancing arguments and sound supports.
• Branches of Power: Students play each of the three branches of government and work to turn public policy ideas into fully formed and tested laws.
• Executive Command: Players are tested by the daily challenges presidents face in running the U.S. government and keeping the country safe.
• Law Craft: Students play a representative or senator of the U.S. Congress. They must craft bills that match their values while compromising to get them passed by both houses.
An effort is being made to promote the icivics program to our schools here in South Dakota. It is my hope that the Young Lawyers Section can become an integral part of promoting iCivics in the schools.
The YLS will have a table set up during the Bar convention with a computer where you can stop by and play some of these interactive games. We will be keeping track of scores and the high scorers will receive a prize. Hope to see you there!
Stacy M. Johnson
SD YLS President
Mentorship Application | Mentee Application
Bylaws of Young Lawyers
The Young Lawyers Section has a vacancy on its Board for a Second Circuit representative. All young lawyers in the Second Circuit who are interested in the position should submit a short written statement telling the Board why they are interested in being on the YLS Board to:
Richardson Law Offices
P.O Box 1031
Aberdeen, SD 57401
All inquiries must be received by
March 29, 2013.