Minnesota Urban Debate League Fellow Program
Gray Plant Mooty is proud to serve as a model for other Twin Cities law firms, hosting the first Minnesota Urban Debate League Fellow in 2010, and building on a successful program in subsequent years. Dean Eyler, a principal in the firm’s Litigation practice group and chair of the MUDL Advisory Board, worked with Amy Cram Helwich, Executive Director of MUDL, to develop this unique program to benefit both the firm and the students of our community.
Through the program, the firm funds one student each summer through a competitive selection process. That student attends debate camp on a scholarship and then works during the remainder of the summer in the offices of the Minnesota Urban Debate League and in Gray Plant Mooty’s Minneapolis office. The firm provides a variety of work experiences and observation experiences to the student.
Independent studies have shown that students participating in debate through Urban Debate Leagues throughout the country have significantly increased literacy scores, improved grade point averages, and improved high school graduates rates. In fact, 100 percent of students participating in MUDL last year graduated on time and are now attending college. The Urban Debate League programs promote critical thinking skills, instill confidence in the students, and assist them in developing and expressing informed opinions. Further, the programs promote educational equity and help to close the achievement gap by making debate available to students in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools who would not otherwise have access.
The firm's 2012 Fellow, Dai’Quan Robinson, said of his experience, “It was a wonderful experience for me being able to see what actually goes on within the walls of a law firm and the hard work that it takes to keep them up. I really loved meeting some of the wonderful lawyers and staff here and learning about what they do on an everyday basis. In all, this was a very pleasing learning experience and helped me better understand what it meant to work at a law firm and I could definitely see myself coming back in a couple of years down the road.”