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Peoria attorney offers free series to teach kids basics of trial law

mock trial 2

PEORIA (HOI) -- 'Order in the Court with Art, Inc.' invited Central Illinois students grades 5th through 8th to learn the basics of a mock trial in a simulated criminal courtroom.

Peoria native and attorney Chris McCall organized this series and said he never had the opportunity to explore the world of law growing up.

"I didn't know an attorney til I was in college. That's the first time I met a lawyer, so these kids can now meet lawyers who do this everyday," said McCall.

Each week of the series different attorneys from Central Illinois will come in and teach the students how to conduct legal research, courtroom procedures and much more.

"This is a win win scenario. The attorneys get the chance to pay it forward, the kids get a chance to get off the street, get out the house," said McCall.

Volunteer actors from the Corn Stock Theatre will act out different legal scenarios, making the experience for these future lawyers as real as possible.

Students like Emma Pulley said they came to the orientation to see if a career in law was in their future.

"I just kind of thought it would be interesting to kind of learn how lawyers do court cases," said Pulley.

The kids were equipped with snacks and a binder full of information to take advantage of this free program.

"It's definitely nice to not have to worry about expenses to learn about something as valuable as this," said Pulley.

The owners of Art Inc. collaborated with McCall, donating the space every Saturday from 12 pm to 2 pm through the end of October.

"We will be socially distancing, we will have masks, we have sanitizer and so we can learn together in spite of the pandemic," said McCall.

McCall hopes this program comes full circle with one of these kids deciding to become an attorney and returning to practice law in Central Illinois.

Paige Blanzy

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