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'They can do anything': unique program introduces Muskegon teens to legal careers

'Started by a practicing attorney, 'Aspiring Ladies of Law' passes along valuable insights to would-be female lawyers.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A unique program for young women interested in pursuing careers in the legal field just wrapped up its first year at Muskegon High School.

"Aspiring Ladies of the Law" passes along insights from actual practicing attorneys and judges, in addition to some major life lessons.

Kylee Foster has a pretty good idea of what she wants to do when she grows up.

After all, the Muskegon High School 10th grader and future lawyer found out what her passion was back in middle school. 

“Throughout middle school, I often participated in a lot of debates,” Foster related. I plan on opening as many doors as possible.”

Yet found many of her questions about getting into the field had no easy answers.

In a twist, however, those answers would ultimately find Kylee, in addition to a handful of other like-minded high-school-aged ‘Aspiring Ladies of the Law’

The program, which is billed as a first of its kind, fittingly featured a similarly out-of-the-ordinary recruiting drive.

“It was called tap you on the shoulder while you're eating,” Kendrah Robinson laughed. “I said, hey, you want to go to law school? And they're like, no, we don't know what law school is… we ended up… with about 10 in the group and they've been with me ever since September.”

The voice of experience at the front of the class, Robinson is a practicing attorney with the Muskegon County Public Defender’s Office.

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Once herself an aspiring lady of the law, Robinson said she set out to change things up for the next crop of lawyers, in part, based on her own early struggles.

“I didn't know anything about it. I didn't know what things to expect in law school,” Robinson related. “I found it a very lonely process.”

Members spent their off hours in between classes getting schooled on those basics during regular sessions: what the GPA should be to get into law school, which classes they should think about as part of their undergrad, in addition to other sometimes hard-to-find insights.

This week’s session took on a bit of a different flavor as Robinson took a break from the usual lesson plan, instead celebrating the end of the program’s inaugural year.

In recognition of all these Aspiring Ladies achieved, several of their role models, a panel of sitting Michigan judges, joined in to share their own stories, in the process, helping pass along perhaps the most useful lesson:

“They can do anything they want to,” Robinson explained. “They heard from two judges today that said, it wasn't easy for me… If you don’t give up, things can happen for you.”

“It's really inspiring,” Kylee related.

Kylee is considering attending the University of Michigan.

“Just seeing people who are like me, who are black, who are women in these positions of power, it's really nice,” she mused. “It gives me hope.”

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