The South Suburban College (SSC) Legal Studies Programs hosted their ninth annual Law Day on May 2, 2022. It showcased the college’s Paralegal/Legal Assistant, Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology and Criminal Justice System programs to high school and current SSC students. The day began with the Illinois Appellate Court Justices and a captioning demonstration. It continued with a presentation from alumnus Jarrett M. Adams, esquire, attorney with The Law Offices of Jarrett Adams, PLLC. The event concluded with a mock crime scene investigation.
“It’s a unique opportunity for our students to see so many different sides of the legal system and also to experience something first-hand about what it means to do something positive — even after being wronged by the system,” said Becky Walters, SSC Paralegal Studies and Criminal Justice Program Coordinator. “I am so grateful to Jarrett for being here to share his perspective with our students.”
Pursuing a career in law was not a lifelong dream for Adams. It began after a false accusation at only 17-years-of-age and a 28-year jail sentence. During his time in prison, Adams contacted entities to appeal his conviction and eventually reached the Wisconsin Innocence Project. They delivered an early end to his sentence after 10 years of incarceration, which sparked the first steps toward his career in the legal field. Today, Adams specializes in criminal defense, civil rights, and wrongful conviction cases in state and federal courts.
During his keynote, Adams recounted that the worst part of being in prison was seeing so many people who looked like him. He asserted that around 70% of the inmates alongside him were young black men, and he wants to do everything in his power to change that number. He believes that diversifying the justice system is vital for the future success of the legal field.
Adams founded a nonprofit organization called Life After Justice to fight injustice and assist individuals who are wrongfully convicted. He also wrote an autobiography titled, “Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System.” Signed copies were generously provided free of charge to Law Day attendees.
LaTherese Cooke, Coordinator of the SSC Court Reporting Program, was thrilled for students to experience Law Day and be exposed to many aspects of the legal field. “These students can't become what they don't see, so we have to open their eyes to the different options that are out there,” Cooke remarked. "This event shows them the many possibilities that are available to them.” She hoped that seeing Adams, who today pours his heart and efforts into his career, would inspire many students to pursue careers in the legal field.
Those interested in learning about the Legal Studies Programs at SSC are encouraged to attend upcoming open houses:
Monday, May 16: Paralegal/Legal Assistant Program Virtual Open House
Thursday, May 19: Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology Program Open House
Thursday, May 26: Criminal Justice Program Open House
For more information about South Suburban College, visit www.ssc.edu.