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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and American Lawyer Media have launched an essay contest for graduating high school seniors, the winners of which would receive $500 scholarships for college and summer internships at the DA’s Office or The Legal Intelligencer, officials announced Dec. 11. College-bound seniors who attend one of the city’s public or Catholic high schools are eligible for the competition, which asks students to answer one of two questions related to law or journalism in 1,000 words or less, District Attorney Lynne Abraham said at a news conference held at her office and attended by Marjorie A. Weiner, president and publisher of The Legal. The awards will go to two students. “We’re excited to give high school students the opportunity to express their feelings about real hot-button issues,” Abraham said. “Our goal is that we want young people to be thinking more about their career goals.” Also present were representatives from the Philadelphia school district and the archdiocese, and other officials of the Philadelphia office of American Lawyer Media, which publishes The Legal, Pennsylvania Law Weekly and Delaware Law Weekly. Paul Vallas, CEO of the Philadelphia School District, said he would be contacting and encouraging area law firms to offer internships to high school students as well. In addition to the $500 scholarship, winners of the essay contest would also receive a weekly transpass and $10 a day during their internships, which will be provided by the school district and ALM. Students who want to be considered for an internship at the district attorney’s office would write an essay answering “How does the rule of law make a society fair and just?” Students interested in the internship at The Legal Intelligencer would answer, “What is the price we pay for freedom of speech?” Intern duties at the Philadelphia office of ALM would include fact checking, some administrative work and reporting for the publications, said Hank Grezlak, an associate publisher. Opportunities for interns at the DA’s office would include some legal research as well as “learning what it takes to build a case,” Abraham said. “They’ll learn how the wheels of justice work.” Students should submit typewritten essays by Feb. 24 to a school guidance counselor. ALM editors will judge the essays, and winners will be announced in April, Abraham said.

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