100 Chicago-area High School Students Attend Street Law Conference
NORTHBROOK, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Many of today’s youth learn about the legal profession by watching popular television shows centered on criminal law. Allstate is working with Street Law, Inc., a hands-on education program about law, democracy, and human rights, to broaden that perspective. As part of the program, Allstate is hosting a unique conference from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 5 designed to introduce students from two Chicago-area high schools to various fields of the legal profession and related career opportunities.
More than 100 students from Waukegan High School and Jones College Preparatory High School in Chicago comprise the inaugural group in this program. These students will gather at the Allstate Northbrook Corporate Headquarters for interactive sessions on legal topics taught by members of the insurer’s legal staff. They will also participate in a career fair where they can learn about the array of legal professions available, such as corporate law, intellectual property, employment and immigration law, and other important industry areas that may not be as familiar to them. The conference is hosted by the Allstate/Premier Law Firm Diversity Roundtable, whose mission is to be recognized as role models for U.S. corporations and law firms in their management of diversity and work/life practices.
Allstate recognizes and embraces the role that large corporations can play in developing future leaders and is committed to encouraging diversity among its ranks. Diversity is especially important in the legal profession, where minorities today are severely under-represented. In Chicago, for example, the 2003 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau1 reports that minorities account for 58 percent of the city’s population; yet a study by the National Association of Law Firm Placement2 reports that fewer than 11 percent of Chicago’s 7,823 lawyers (partners and associates) are minorities. Together with the Street Law Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program, Allstate is addressing this issue by partnering with schools with large minority populations through the Street Law program and by educating students of color about legal careers.
During the conference, senior Allstate executives will expose the students to the complex world of auto insurance policies, including the basic components of an automobile insurance contract, how insurance coverage decisions are made and the roles attorneys play when coverage decisions are made. They will also participate in workshops engaging them in negotiation tactics and issues related to advertising, employment and other potential legal matters.
“Our goal is to educate students, especially minority students, about the legal profession,” said Michael J. McCabe, vice president and general counsel of The Allstate Corporation and senior vice president and general counsel of Allstate Insurance Company. “We want them to understand that it offers much more than criminal law, which is mostly what they see on television.” McCabe has been personally involved and actively promoting the Street Law program.
The Street Law program offers a proven way for corporations to take a proactive role in reversing the under-representation of minorities in the legal ranks.
“Street Law is pleased to be working with Allstate, its premier law firms and the Chicago Public Schools to help prepare the next generation of lawyers and other legal professionals and to ensure greater diversity in the legal profession,” remarked Lee Arbetman, director of U.S. Programs at Street Law. “Allstate and its partners have made an impressive commitment to strengthening our community and our democracy.”
This year, Allstate is partnering with high schools in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Allstate’s volunteer legal professionals serve as resources, mentors and teachers for the students, providing the extra academic education and support these students need to successfully pursue a legal career. Allstate has plans to roll-out this program in other regions in the future.