Constitution High School Pipeline Program

In November 2005, Ballard Spahr took part in a Pipeline Diversity Conference sponsored by the American Bar Association. This participation proved pivotal. Within a year, the firm had transformed its longstanding commitment to volunteering and mentoring in Philadelphia public schools into a landmark partnership with the National Constitution Center, the School District of Philadelphia, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to sponsor a new magnet school, Constitution High School, which opened in September 2006.

 

Constitution High School

Principal Tom Davidson addresses students and guests
at ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 18, 2006.

With a student body that is 80 percent minority and a resource-rich curriculum focused on history, law, and government, the school is like no other.  Ballard Spahr contributes to the partnership by providing mentoring and job exploration activities to encourage students to pursue higher education and consider careers in the law. Our attorneys coach the school's mock trial team, serve on the school’s advisory board, and work with students and faculty to provide curricular support. Our firm provides job-shadowing, summer internship, and other career development opportunities for the students, and uses its connections in the Philadelphia legal and business community to enhance the school program. We are particularly proud to have sponsored construction of the school's mock trial room, which was dedicated in November 2008 by Retired Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Sandra Day O'Connor, for whom it is named.

Constitution High School

Students with retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (left)
and federal Judge Marjorie O. Rendell

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor returned to Ballard Spahr in November 2013 to give a presentation on iCivics, a nonprofit organization that provides free, interactive civics education resources to schools. Justice O’Connor founded iCivics to improve civics education and ensure that future generations of students become active, engaged citizens. The event was made possible through the firm’s longstanding partnership with Constitution High School, a Philadelphia magnet school whose curriculum emphasizes history, law, and government. Students from the school had private meeting time with Justice O’Connor, and participated in the question and answer session following her presentation.

Constitution High School

 Students with retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor