Just before Thanksgiving last year, Herndon trial lawyer Doug Landau happened upon a notice from the Fairfax Bar Association (FBA) seeking Attorney Volunteers:
Rachel Carson Middle School, located at 13618 McLearen Road in Herndon, has asked the Law Related Education Committee to provide attorney volunteers for their “We the People” Program. Students are preparing for the district and state competitions starting in December. Much of it is based on constitutional law and the teacher is looking for a volunteer to spend about 50 minutes with the students.
Landau Happy to Help Students Prepare for “We the People” Program
Landau was thrilled to volunteer to help the students at Rachel Carson Middle School (“RCMS”). Since all four of his children had attended this relatively new Fairfax County Public School, and as he had volunteered extensively at their high schools (Oakton, Hotchkiss and The Madeira Schools) even after their graduations, he agreed to teach. The “We the People” program teaches middle school students about the U.S. Constitution and promotes civic competence and responsibility. Since its inception in 1987, more than 28 million students and 75,000 educators have participated in the “We the People” Program.
Landau Goes Back to School
Helping out RCMS instructor Cynthia Burgett turned out to be a learning experience for both the students and this experienced personal injury lawyer. The students represented a wide array of ethnic and international backgrounds. In order to prepare for class, both students and the Herndon attorney would study the topics and materials provided by Ms. Burgett.
Going to the middle school was unlike any experience Landau had encountered teaching lawyers for the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”) or the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (“VTLA”). “The students’ enthusiasm was infectious; they were unfettered by the conventions attorneys are saddled with during their legal training. They worked hard, used technology to help with their timing, and were always inquisitive. Their improvement was incredible,” noted Landau. The RCMS group was ready for the state-wide competition. Landau thought his “tenure” at Rachel Carson was at an end.
He was wrong. Our local Rachel Carson team won the Virginia state championship !
Students Advance to National Championships
Ms. Burgett wrote to Landau again, “It turns out that we will be going to the “We the People” National Competition April 5-7. Would you be available…”
Landau, a Fairfax County Bar member since 1985, agreed to help get the students ready for the National Championships. As his firm, ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., is just up the street in the center of the Historic Downtown District of Herndon, he can get to the school in less than 10 minutes. And, the National Championships will also be close by. The “We the People National Invitational” will be held on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University. The competition will bring students, teachers and educators from all over the United States to this once-in-a-lifetime event. “Unlike my past participation in the the FBA’s court house tours, mock trials and Law Day class visits, which are all ‘one-and-done’ programs, working with the same students and seeing their progress made for a meaningful and rewarding experience for everyone involved.”
Abrams Landau, Ltd. Wishes RCMS Students Good Luck!
The legal team at Abrams Landau, Ltd. extends its hearty congratulations to the constitutional scholars at RCMS and wishes them great success at the National Championship! Watch this site for the results!