I’ve written before about the LAWS Day program through the West Virginia Supreme Court. Every year the Supreme Court travels to a different part of the state to hear oral arguments. Working with local schools, the Court chooses cases of interest to students and then invites them to read the briefs and discuss the issues in a classroom setting. After doing their “homework,” the students can then come and watch the oral arguments for themselves.
Thankfully, technology is making it possible for the LAWS Day experience to reach even further. Because the Supreme Court’s arguments are webcast, it is possible to watch them from any location that has access to wifi. I have a reputation as a technophobe, but I’ve embraced this technology so that some of the homeschoolers in our area can participate remotely in LAWS Day.
My wife and I have been a part of a homeschool group in the Wheeling/St. Clairsville area for many years. We teach classes together, including informal logic and civics. But a “hands on” experience is always the best. Reading real briefs and watching real arguments in real cases will provide insight and understanding that can never come from a textbook.
To begin with, we’ll meet with our homeschoolers and introduce them to the West Virginia court system and the nature of the Supreme Court’s work. The Court’s website has a wonderful series of videos documenting its work and its history. We’ll meet again a week later to review the briefs in the three cases that are being argued, to discuss the issues, and to talk about oral argument generally. Then on March 18th, we’ll gather in the conference room at our firm’s Wheeling office to watch the arguments, debrief, and share a meal together.
I think some of the homeschoolers in our group may be considering a career in the law. I think that’s exciting and I’m happy to provide them with an opportunity to see, hear, and experience a little bit of what the practice of law is like. Honestly, however, the experience is worthwhile for everyone. It’s like pulling back the curtain and seeing firsthand how the court system really works. And that’s something every West Virginian should do!
I’ll fill you in next month on how our students enjoy their LAWS Day adventure.