For Immediate Release - June 06, 2014

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Judicial Youth Corps High School Internship Program in Springfield

Springfield JYC
(From left) High School of Commerce Principal Jason Hynek; Assistant Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools Lydia Martinez; newly sworn-in Springfield Judicial Youth Corps students with Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland; and Attorney Debra Lord, a High School of Commerce teacher. (Photo credit: Mike Vigneux, Mass. Bar Association)


BOSTON, MA -- The Supreme Judicial Court announced that the Judicial Youth Corps program, an intensive judicial internship program for high school students already in Boston and Worcester, has expanded this year to include a third location in Springfield.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland, a Springfield native, today led a swearing-in ceremony at the High School of Commerce, where he administered an oath for the ten high school students who have been selected to participate in the Springfield Judicial Youth Corps program. The Springfield program was developed through a partnership with the SJC, the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA), and Western New England University School of Law to provide funding and resources. The Boston and Worcester Judicial Youth Corps programs began in late May.

"What is most rewarding about this program is to see how much the students grow over the course of the internship and how much it influences the courses of their lives," Chief Justice Ireland said. "Among our over 500 Judicial Youth Corps graduates, many have gone on to graduate from college and graduate school, and have become professionals in the field of law and other fields. Last year, we learned that one of our graduates was recently appointed as a judge in Washington, D.C., a testament to the influence a program like this can have on a young person's life."

High school students are selected from large pools of applicants to participate in the Judicial Youth Corps program, where they will spend from May to August learning about the Massachusetts court system. First started in Boston by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Paul J. Liacos in 1991, with the help of Judge Ireland, who had served for 13 years as a Juvenile Court judge, the Judicial Youth Corps program affords high school students the opportunity to learn more about the rule of law and the judicial branch through interactions with judges, clerks, lawyers, and court staff who mentor them throughout the summer. In 2007, the MBA partnered with the SJC to expand the highly successful Judicial Youth Corps Program to the city of Worcester. That partnership was integral to this year's creation of the Springfield program.

“The MBA is proud to fund and provide such an innovative program in Springfield this year, giving students in one of the Commonwealth’s largest urban centers an opportunity to experience firsthand how the justice system works in Massachusetts,” said MBA President Douglas K. Sheff. “We are also pleased to continue our partnership with the Supreme Judicial Court on the successful Judicial Youth Corps program in Worcester, whose program will again benefit from financial support of our philanthropic partner, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.”

In addition to the MBA, Western New England University School of Law has been an active partner in helping to organize the Springfield program from the beginning and facilitating educational activities for the students.

“We are honored to be working in collaboration with the Supreme Judicial Court, the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Springfield Public Schools to bring this wonderful opportunity to the students,” said Dean Eric Gouvin of Western New England University School of Law. “The students are not only learning about our legal system through classroom discussion and interaction with judges and lawyers, they will also have the benefit of working in paid positions in the courts. I see these young people as tomorrow’s leaders and the Judicial Youth Corps will help put them in the position to make great contributions in the future.”

In May and June, the students attend weekly educational sessions where they learn about criminal and civil law and the role of courts in a democracy. In July and August, the students work in paid internships in the courts or in court-related offices. Field trips to police stations, jails and law firms are also part of the comprehensive educational program. Hundreds of students have benefited from the court and community partnership program over the past two decades, with many former participants going on to lead successful careers in law, government, business, health care and academia.

The participants in the Boston Judicial Youth Corps program are funded by the Boston Private Industry Council and the City of Boston's Hopeline Youth Fund. The Worcester Judicial Youth Corps program is funded by the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, and the Springfield Judicial Youth Corps program is funded by the Massachusetts Bar Association.