Volunteers from Sidley engage with the students through a variety of mentorship initiatives. The fifth-grade Book Chat has helped students practice their reading and writing comprehension ever since the partnership’s inception, evolving from a letter writing exchange to an email-based conversation. Volunteer lawyers also visit Kanoon as part of both the Mock Trial program and the Chicago Bar Association’s Lawyers in the Classroom program, in which sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders participate in interactive lessons about the American legal system. At the end of the school year, eighth graders take a field trip to the federal court, which is followed by lunch at Sidley's Chicago office.
A COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY
The partnership has had a lasting impact on both Kanoon and Sidley, noted partner and Kanoon program coordinator Kara McCall. She said the programs expose students to the possibilities of a career in law, while giving lawyers at Sidley an opportunity to step away from their desks and contribute to the community. “There’s really no limit to what we can provide for Kanoon, and we hope to continue to increase the participation of lawyers and staff who volunteer for the programs,” McCall said. In appreciation of the firm’s support, including that Sidley funds its unique extracurricular activities, Kanoon students visit Sidley’s Chicago office every year on Cinco de Mayo, treating lawyers and staff to performances by the Baile Folklorico dancers and Suzuki violinists. “We have some really cool stuff for our students here, and the students know that a lot of this has been funded through Sidley,” said Dr. Gonzalez.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIALS
Zach Paterick, Associate
Lakeisha Andress, Former Associate
Nick Tygesson, Associate
Daniel Craig, Associate
A Kanoon student strums a guitar during a Cinco de Mayo celebration in the lobby of Sidley’s Chicago office.
Students perform ballet folklórico, a traditional Mexican folk dance.
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