Sunday, February 26, 2012

Discussing the Law at Albemarle County's "Life After High School" Conference

Yesterday, Denise Lunsford and I made a presentation on behalf of the Charlottesville Albemarle Bar Association at Albemarle County's "Life After High School" conference for students with special needs.

During our session, we led a discussion with students and their parents about the legal rights and responsibilities of adulthood.  As the basis for the discussion, we used the Virginia State Bar's excellent resource, So You're 18: A Handbook on Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities.

You can download a free copy of So You're 18, here.


So You're 18 was recently revised by members of the Conference of Local Bar Associations.

This is a great book!!  It presents legal issues as a series of discrete topics (voting, military service, contracts, jury duty, criminal charges, etc.), and it provides concise and understandable summaries of how a person's legal rights and responsibilities change upon reaching the age of 18.

For instance, the book explains that an 18-year old is capable of entering into legally enforceable contracts, whereas a 17-year old cannot (for the most part) make a contract. It provides practical advice about how to register to vote and -- for young men -- how to register for the Selective Service. It also highlights the many differences in the way a person is treated by the criminal justice system upon turning 18.


Yesterday's conference included a series of presentations related to completing high school and then transitioning into adulthood.  Sessions included "SOL Accomodations and Diploma Options", "Getting Ready for Employment", and "Making a Successful Transition from High School to College." Denise and I focused on how the law treats an adult differently than a child.


For any non-local blog readers: my co-presenter at the conference, Denise Lunsford, is the Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney. Yesterday, the students and parents were particularly interested in her first-hand insights into the justice system and her practical pointers for staying on the right side of the law.

Thanks to the Albemarle County Schools for inviting CABA to yesterday's conference. I hope that we'll have a chance to do it again!