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NHS hosts 50th Annual Law Day in coordination with The New York Bar Foundation

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After 50 years, the annual Law Day, hosted by Northport High School in coordination with The New York Bar Foundation, continues to have a tremendous impact on students with an interest in law.  Dozens of students from school districts across Long Island travel to Northport to participate in the mock trial competition, judged by experienced attorneys and judges. 
During the course of the event, teams of students rotate amongst different classrooms and receive information about fictional cases. They have just a few minutes to review the trials and build their cases as either prosecution or defense. With this year being the 50th anniversary of the event, the trials were each inspired by a famous film from each of the decades. 
David Scott, Northport High School teacher and coordinator of the district’s law program, Project P.A.T.C.H., has been overseeing the event since 2000. Several alumni who participated in the event as students returned as judges. 
Matt Cohen, CEO and President of The Long Island Association, was a champion Mock Trial Team member when he graduated in 2000, coincidentally the same year Mr. Scott began at NHS. He spoke about the impact this event has on students, saying “I think this teaches students, teenagers, a lot of important skills - how to think quickly on your feet, using deductive reasoning, being able to advocate for something you believe in or someone you believe in. I think it’s really instructive and it’s also fun. It’s a fun way to learn these types of skills.”
Fellow alumni Lois Bladykas, NHS class of ’08 and an attorney with Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C., spoke of how the day prepared her for a career in law. “I think it gave me a lot of confidence with public speaking,” she said. “I think as a kid, I had a little bit of fear of public speaking originally, but when I started participating in law club and Law Day especially, you’re forced to talk in front of people and it definitely gave me that confidence.”
Students who participate in Law Club, Mock Trial or who have taken American Law at Northport High School held roles both as attorneys in the mock trials process as well as in supporting roles to help organize the day and keep the event running. Students from Commack High School, Ezra Academy, Longwood High School, Syosset High School, Plainview-Old Bethpage High School, East Islip High School and Massapequa High School joined NHS students for the event. 
Robert Ansel, a Northport parent and general counsel for Power-Flo Technologies, emphasized how the experience can benefit any student, but especially those pursuing a career in this field. “This is a great experience for people who are considering going into the law or public speaking because it forces them to think on their feet very quickly, synthesize facts and then make a presentation,” he said. “It’s a nice little crucible of sometimes how life is, and I think it’s a good lesson even if they don’t want to go into public speaking.” 
Joe Flanagan, Class of ‘12 and an associate with law firm Ogletree Deakins, was emotional discussing the impact of Law Day on his life. “I would not be where I am if it were not for Law Day. This truly established the skills to allow me to excel in my career,” he said. 
Sean Truehart, class of ‘17 and an attorney with the Bronx District Attorney’s office offered some advice for students looking to pursue a career in law. “Stick with it,” he said. “Just having finished up the process myself a few months ago, it takes a long time, but it was well worth it. I love what I’m doing.”
The bracket style tournament ended with a final round judged by U.S. Circuit Court Judge, the Honorable Joseph Bianco. 
Congratulations to all of the participating teams!