APS high schools gain legal insight with ‘Robes in Schools’ sessions from Just the Beginning Foundation

UPDATE: Check out the photo gallery of images from around the schools here. Watch a video of the panel discussion here, and a question-answer session with the students here.

The Just the Beginning Foundation sponsored the “Robes in the Schools” event Thursday at six Atlanta Public Schools high schools to encourage students to consider the legal profession as potential careers.  The sessions featured panel discussions featuring federal, state and municipal judges from throughout the metropolitan area, as the foundation is holding its biennial conference in Atlanta this week.

The video above comes from D.M. Therrell Educational Complex, which houses the School of Law, Government and Public Policy. APS General Counsel Veleter Mazyck and Principal Byron Barnes welcomed Judge Carl Stewart, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; Judge Crystal Gaines, Municipal Court of Atlanta; and Judge Wendy Shoob, Fulton County Superior Court. During the session, Mazyck prompted discussions among the judges on a range of topics but in particular queried them about their personal journey to the bench as she noted that her parents did not have a college education. (Two of the three judges had the same background.) The judges stressed the importance of a strong education and avoiding the pitfalls that can prevent advancement in the professional world.

At the end of the discussion, Malyck opened up the discussion for questions from students, who asked the judges about juggling their personal and professional lives and for their own tips. Here’s a list of the participating schools and the respective panel members:

The New Schools at Carver
Judge Myra Dixon, State Court of Fulton County – Moderator
Judge Nathaniel Jones, United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
Judge T. Jackson Bedford, Fulton County Superior Court

Forrest Hill Academy
Judge Barbara Harris, Municipal Court of Atlanta – Moderator
Judge Stephan Mickle, United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
Judge Victoria Roberts, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Judge John Mather, State Court of Fulton County

Maynard H. Jackson Jr. High School
Judge Melynee Leftridge, Fulton County Magistrate – Moderator
Judge Sterling Johnson, Senior Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Judge Jay Roth, State Court Fulton County 

D.M. Therrell Educational Complex
Veleter Mazyck, General Counsel, Atlanta Public Schools – Moderator
Judge Carl Stewart, US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
Judge Crystal Gaines, Municipal Court of Atlanta
Judge Wendy Shoob, Fulton County Superior Court

South Atlanta Educational Complex
Judge Belinda Edwards, Chief Judge Fulton County Juvenile Court – Moderator
Judge  Gary Lancaster, United States District Court Western District of  Pennsylvania
Judge Melvin Westmoreland, Superior Court Fulton County
Judge Sonja Bivins, United States Magistrate Southern District of Alabama

Booker T. Washington High School
Judge Patsy Porter, State Court of Fulton County -Moderator
Judge Raymond Jackson, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Judge Reginald Williams, Fulton County Magistrate
Judge Sara Doyle, Georgia Court of Appeals 

The Just the Beginning Foundation is a multiracial group of judges, lawyers and law professors who are committed to helping young people enter the legal profession and become lawyers and judges.

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