President-Elect Stephen Zack, who will become the ABA’s first Hispanic leader in 2010, is making plans for his tenure. Today he announced that he wants to launch an ABA initiative that will ask schools to make classrooms available so that lawyers can teach children about civics over a three-day holiday weekend.
“Probably the greatest concern we have in this country today" is high school students' failure to understand the most fundamental principals of our government,” said Zack, an administrative partner with Boies, Schiller & Flexner in Miami.
Zack, who spoke about the idea for an "ABA academy" at the ABA annual meeting, hopes to kick off the program on President’s Day weekend in early 2011. Students who complete the curriculum would receive a certificate that, Zack hopes, law firms will then accept as a kind of pass for a one-day visit to those firms to learn about the legal profession. He will also ask the students to agree to read the Declaration of Independence every Fourth of July.
“We want to start to change the very fabric of our society,” he said.
Six months ago, Zack called on members of the National Conference of Bar Presidents to lobby legislatures to change the curriculums in the 31 states where a civics course isn’t currently required for high school graduation.