October 02, 2012
Back in 2007, Jim Day, a partner in Latham’s San Francisco office, was looking for an opportunity to give back to the community. “I wanted to find something where I could participate, not just pay,” he says. When he was introduced to the All Stars Project (ASP) by two other Latham partners who were active with the organization, he knew he had found what he was looking for.
ASP works to better the lives of inner city youth through supplemental educational and performing arts programs. “It was the kids, frankly, that made me want to get involved,” said Day. “I was struck by them telling their personal stories of how the All Stars had helped them. Some of these kids had been homeless and were now back on track and leaving the All Stars to go to college.”
An Internal Champion at Latham
Today, Day sits on the Advisory Committee of the ASP of the San Francisco Bay Area. He has become a strong champion of the project at Latham, with particular involvement in ASP’s Development School for Youth (DSY), a leadership training program that connects teens and young adults with people in the business community.
DSY students spend three months attending weekly workshops at a variety of local businesses. Under Day’s guidance, Latham’s San Francisco office is one of the stops for these students. Day has organized annual mock trials for the students, with Latham associates acting as coaches and playing the roles of witnesses and judge.
Students who complete the three-month program are guaranteed paid summer internships. For the past three years, two DSY students have interned at Latham. “The kids that make it through this program are people who are really looking to improve themselves,” said Day. “I think that they see that a summer working at a big firm in a high-rise building downtown is a fairly unique opportunity for kids coming up in their neighborhoods. They recognize that, and they are trying to grab the opportunity and run with it.”
A Mutually Beneficial Partnership
In addition to providing students with valuable lessons about navigating the professional world, DSY also enables Latham’s lawyers to meet and help people who are facing different obstacles than the commercial clients they interact with on a day-to-day basis. The program also gives the firm a chance to deepen its ties with the community in a meaningful way. “I think that as an organization and a group of professionals, we have an obligation to give back to the communities that we are in,” said Day. “It’s easy to find places to give money; it’s harder to find places where you can offer your time and play a role in helping kids improve their lives.”
ASP will honor Day for the time and support he has given the organization at the Partners With Youth 2012 Benefit Luncheon on October 25, 2012, in San Francisco.