Teacher Camille Wright strives to instill in her students a sense of excitement about potential post-graduation career options. In her classroom at Freedom High School, which looks more like a professional office than a traditional classroom, she instructs her students in subjects like Legal Aspects of Business and Entrepreneurial Business. One of her biggest challenges is how to get students to see the world of possibilities that lie beyond the pages of their textbooks.
Just a few miles away, the legal team at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, the world's largest vacation ownership company, was looking for ways to get involved in the community while, at the same time, encouraging young people to pursue a career in Law. The company appealed to Street Law, Inc. to help it accomplish both goals. With a 30-year track record of teaching about law and democracy across the United States and around the world, Street Law has set its sights on the diversification of the legal profession. Working with corporate partners, Street Law introduces high school students to the wide variety of careers available in the legal profession – from legal administrative professional and paralegal to attorney – while they are actively searching for their own career path.
'Our goal with this program is to demystify the legal profession in the eyes of high school students, by providing hands-on experiences and positive interactions with members of the profession,' explained Larry Kinsolving, general counsel for Wyndham Vacation Ownership. 'Whether they aspire to be attorneys, paralegals or administrative support, they will see that there is a place for them in what is an intriguing and satisfying career.'
On Dec. 4 and 10, representatives of the Wyndham legal team paid visits to Camille Wright's class at Freedom High School. During each two hour-long visit, the attorneys and paralegals discussed complex legal topics – torts and contracts – in a way the students could understand. First the torts legal team provided an overview of the subject matter. Then working in groups, the legal team asked the students to review a hypothetical case – straight from the airwaves of MTV featuring celebrities, an awards show and plenty of mishaps – playing the roles of the attorneys representing each of the parties. On a separate day, the students learned about contract law in much the same way – fun and relatable – from a different group of legal professionals from Wyndham.
These in-classroom discussions were just the beginning. On Dec. 13, Ms. Wright and 32 of her students were guests of Wyndham at a half-day workshop held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive. The students interacted with members of the Wyndham Legal team before participating in two, highly interactive, themed workshops to further their knowledge about torts and contracts. Following the workshops, the students were treated to lunch and had the opportunity to discuss career options in the legal field with company representatives.
About Wyndham Vacation Ownership
Wyndham Vacation Ownership, a member of Wyndham Worldwide's (NYSE: WYN) family of companies, is the world's largest vacation ownership business, as measured by the number of vacation ownership resorts, individual vacation ownership units and owners of vacation ownership interests. Wyndham Vacation Ownership develops, markets and sells vacation ownership interests and provides consumer financing to owners through its three primary consumer brands, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, WorldMark by Wyndham, and Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific. As of July 31, 2007, Wyndham Vacation Ownership had developed or acquired more than 135 vacation ownership resorts throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and the South Pacific that represent more than 17,000 individual vacation ownership units and more than 800,000 owners of vacation ownership interests. Wyndham Vacation Ownership is headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and is supported by more than 16,000 employees globally.
About Street Law, Inc.
Street Law and the Association of Corporate Counsel have developed a program that partners corporate legal departments with nearby diverse, high school law classes in an effort to engage the students, teach them more about civil law, and encourage them to consider careers in the legal profession. The Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program tackles the lack of diversity in the legal profession by focusing on strategies that will encourage and better prepare students of color to enter the legal profession. By providing the students with role models and the opportunities to connect with lawyers, and by providing them the opportunity to experience the types of work lawyers do, the students are able to broaden their impressions of the legal profession and fuel their interest in legal careers. The program sets out to achieve these objectives through three program components: classroom visits, a conference at an off-site location, and program extensions for the most promising students such as internships and mentoring.