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Cheryl Speranza Leadership Institute at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women

On June 30, 2021, our associate Katherine T. McCarley, along with other members of the Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys (GRAWA) Women of Color (WOC) Group held a program for the Cheryl Speranza Leadership Institute at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women in Rochester. Starting in 2018, the Institute’s goal is to provide young women with the necessary tools to succeed in school and in life. Young women are provided with access to mentors, tutors, and advocates, as well as life and career coaching throughout college and beyond. 

Before arriving to lead their program, the WOC Group was informed that their event would be the first law-related event. Knowing this, the WOC Group wanted to give the young women a teaching experience that also included providing them with tools that would assist them in pursuing their dreams and achieving their goals in a collaborative and supportive environment. Thus, their program became an exercise in building skills such as comprehensive reading, public speaking, critical thinking, and teamwork.

Using fact patterns that involved difficult issues, the young women were eager to roll up their sleeves, dig into the issues, and demonstrate their ability to grapple with challenging concepts. When the time came to present their arguments in teams, each articulated their points and counterpoints with confidence and enthusiasm. Though no winner was selected amongst the teams, each received feedback on their individual presentation.

At the close of the event, many young women stayed to speak with the attorneys about career opportunities in the field of law.


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