BYU Law Camp gives high schoolers hands-on law experience

High school students participate in a mock trial in Salt Lake City as part of the BYU Law Camp program. (BYU Law School)

High school students from around the country participated in a week-long BYU Law Camp starting on Aug. 8. The BYU Law Camp is an annual event designed to help students develop leadership skills as they learn first-hand about professions in law and government.

This year’s BYU Law Camp had 70 student attendees from 14 different states. Out of the 70, there were 31 students who attended the camp on full or partial scholarship.

Stacie Stewart studied law at BYU and currently serves as the dean of admissions at BYU Law. Along with members of the staff and students, she is directly involved with the Law Camp.

“A focus of the curriculum at the BYU Law School is on inspiring leadership. A key aspect of the camp is inspiring leadership in high school students as they gain a better understanding of civics and the law,” Stewart said. “We hope that whether these students pursue a career in law or not, their experience at the camp will inspire them to be leaders and engaged citizens in their communities.”

The theme for this year was: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

The camp offers a combination of interactive activities including guest speakers, classes on how to write to law officials and public speaking, escape rooms and other team building activities.

“It’s a combination of the lectures — where they are learning the higher level theory behind stability, leadership and the law — and actual activities where they are practicing the things they are talking about,” said Marie Kulbeth, dean of Communications and Marketing for BYU Law.

Students who participated in the camp spent a day at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City where a group of federal judges spoke to them. After this panel with the judges, students sat in court during a case hearing. After watching the law in action, students got to practice what they learned in a mock trial.

When they returned to Provo, a BYU professor then taught them about negotiation, and at the end of the day, they had a negotiation simulation.

The high school students also got to network with law student-mentors, and the camp ended with a barbecue and a dance.

“I liked visiting judge Benson at the courthouse because I learned a lot from his personality, and when it was a Q&A he would answer the questions to the point where students could really understand it to relate to them. He had a lot of wisdom on his side, and I really appreciated what he had to say,” said Jared Buhler, a high school student who attended the first BYU Law Camp in 2017.

Registration dates for next year’s camp have not yet been released, but you can find more information on the BYU Law Camp website.

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