Recently, Michael Koch, one of the partners here at NBA, organized a field trip for 24 Fourth graders from Cherokee Elementary School. Michael took the class to the Louisiana Ninth Judicial Courthouse in Alexandria, where they got to meet Major Karla Ryder from the Rapides Sherriff’s Office. Major Ryder told the kids what a law officer does, why they arrest people, and for what reasons people most often get arrested. Then the students got to go to a courtroom and talk with a real Judge- Judge Mary L. Doggett, of the Louisiana Ninth Judicial District Court. Judge Doggett spoke to the children about the role a Judge plays in the judicial system, and answered the students’ questions. The class also got to visit the Rapides Parish jail, where Warden Clark spoke and took them on a jailhouse tour.
After listening to all the different people involved in the legal process, Michael brought the class back to the Courthouse, where the kids were each assigned a role for a mock trial. Different students got to be lawyers, witnesses, parties, bailiffs, judge and jury, and they got to perform the trial by themselves (well, with a little help from Michael and their teachers!). They did opening and closing statement and an examination of witnesses. After the jury reached their verdict (a “0″), the class proceeded to celebrate their victory (or mourn their loss) with a pizza lunch at Cici’s pizza. After lunch, Micheal brought them back to the Neblett, Beard and Arsenault main office, where they got to see what a law practice looks like. They got a surprise pop quiz about the law and legal system from Michael and their teachers- with the winners getting prizes instead of grades.
The teachers advising the field trip complimented the program, saying it was “awesome” and that it “was the best field trip [they] had ever been on”. We’re glad they had a fun day, and hope they learned a lot, too!
Neblett, Beard and Arsenault’s field trip program is open to any local school. The program is available for all age groups, from Elementary to Junior and Senior High School, and provides a unique opportunity for students to get a firsthand learning experience about our nation’s legal system. If you know a local school that would like to participate, call Neblett, Beard and Arsenault and ask for Firm Administrator Irene Duplechin.