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Eighth-graders from St. Louis Park Middle School pondered their case during mock trials at the University of Minnesota on March 19. (Submitted photo: Maslon UPLIFT)

Bar Buzz: Teens uplifted through mock trials

Participants in the Maslon UPLIFT: Legal Institute for Teens mock trial stepped into the spotlight last week for trials in State v. Palmer, a manslaughter case involving pranking people to make videos of them.

Maslon UPLIFT is a legal diversity pipeline program created to serve middle school students who reflect the rich diversity of the Twin Cities. The after-school mock trial program is taught by volunteer attorneys who have spent much of the academic year instructing students on key criminal law and practice concepts.

“Minnesota has one of the largest achievement gaps between white students and students of color in the country,” stated Catherine Ahlin-Halverson, director of Maslon UPLIFT. “It is critical that we find a path towards equitable educational opportunities for all students. That is why we founded Maslon UPLIFT—and seeing the engagement, enthusiasm, and achievement of our UPLIFT student participants is deeply gratifying.”

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