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Release Date: June 17,2024

“Raising the Bar” to Hold Second Conference Opportunity

Akron, Ohio, June 10, 2024 – Raising the Bar will hold its second annual conference on Thursday, June 27, 2024 at the University of Akron School of Law from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The conference is co-hosted by Akron Municipal Court Judge David Hamilton and Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro.

The first conference was held in October 2023 and 19 Summit County schools were represented with participants.

Shapiro and Judge Hamilton co-created Raising the Bar for minority high school students in the Akron area to introduce them to career opportunities in the legal field.

The program is supported by a partnership with Summit County’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative created by the 44th United States President Barack Obama, is a program that works to close the opportunity gap for boys and young men of color. MBK Summit County received certification in 2023 through the MBK Alliance out of the Obama Foundation.

The conference will consist of breakout sessions with local legal professionals and give students the opportunity to connect with peers while learning about civil, criminal, and constitutional law. Programming in the conference hopes to help young people identify and evaluate their skills, hone in on critical thinking and deductive reason, connect them with resources and help them gain the knowledge to pursue a career in the legal profession.

Speakers include: Executive Shapiro, Judge Hamilton, Heart to Heart Leadership team members, Attorney J. Dean Carro, Attorney Vonsheay Brown, Attorney Edward Littlejohn and Deanna Thomas who serves as Akron Municipal Court Judge Jon Oldham’s Judicial Attorney.

The conference is free to those who have signed up, and breakfast and lunch will be provided.

This event can accommodate 100 students. Registration and more information can be found here:

Raising the Bar launched in 2022. Selected juniors and seniors at Akron Public Schools’ Buchtel CLC were a part of the pilot program.

Judge David Hamilton created the court-sponsored Compassion, Opportunity, Mentoring, Purpose, Achievement, Success, Stepping forward (COMPASS) Program in November 2020 for males who are high risk to reoffend. COMPASS provides an alternative to jail and offers resources including trauma therapy, counseling, formal mentorship, financial literacy and vocational services.

The University of Akron School of Law is located at 150 University Ave. in Akron.