NBA’s Crump Law Camp aspires to ‘grow lawyers’ NBA’s Crump Law Camp aspires to ‘grow lawyers’ September 1, 2003 Managing Editor Regular News Mark D. Killian Managing EditorThe National Bar Association recently received the 2003 ABA Partnership Award for its Crump Law Camp, which encourages minority students to seek careers in the legal profession.The Crump Law Camp offers 32 students of diverse backgrounds and races, ages 14 to 17, an introduction to law school and the skills required to be an effective lawyer, said Port St. Lucie’s Evett Simmons, a former NBA president and past member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors, who chairs the program. The two-week camp is held at Howard University School of Law; the faculty includes members of the National Bar Association’s Law Professions Division and visiting guest lecturers.The award was presented at the joint luncheon of the National Conference of Bar Presidents/National Association of Bar Executives/National Conference of Bar Foundations during the recent ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.Simmons noted that more than 90 percent of the nation’s lawyers are white, as are more than 80 percent of the students enrolled in law school. Yet, more than 30 percent of the United States is comprised of minorities and projections are that by 2050, more than half the people in the nation will be of color.Simmons said that’s why the NBA feels it is imperative to begin now to direct students — while they are young — to seek careers in the legal profession.“The objective is to grow our own lawyers,” Simmons said. “Sometimes justice is a perception and that is if justice is not perceived to be just, then it is still not just. If you go into a courtroom and you see people in key roles that happen to look like you. . . you at least perceive that you have a better opportunity of having a fair outcome.”The ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services administers the Partnership Awards, which are given to programs that seek to increase the participation of minorities in the organized bar and attract students of color to the legal profession. The awards are cosponsored by the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and the National Native American Bar Association.Simmons said the NBA’s Crump campers are paired with college and law students, professors, and practicing attorneys to serve as mentors as they continue through high school, college, and law school. The camp provides students with an academic and social agenda, which includes field trips in the Washington, D.C., area.The competitive highlight of the camp is the Evett L. Simmons Mock Trial Competition. The four winners of this competition are invited to the NBA’s Annual Convention to compete in the final round for a chance to win a laptop computer, which is provided by Ruden McClosky, Simmons’ firm.Tuition for the camp varies depending upon family income, and is free for those from the most economically disadvantaged homes. Simmons said tuition covers transportation to Washington, D.C., housing, meals, educational materials, and expenses for field trips.The bulk of the funding for the first three-years of the $185,000 a year project has been provided by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Foundation. Simmons, however, said the NBA has plans to expand the program to two sessions and is actively seeking those willing to contribute.“We hope other law firms will get excited about it and commit their time and money to it,” she said.For more information about how to become involved in the Crump Law Camp e-mail Simmons at [email protected] or contact NBA Executive Director John Crump at 1225 11th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20001-4217, phone (202) 842-3900.