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Law Academy

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About The Law Academy

The Law Academy was first established by Ron Garrison, a passionate and committed educator. Our Lead Teacher for the Law Academy is Daniel Martinez. Supporting Mr. Martinez as the lead of the community advisory is Judge Dan Healy, a renowned Superior Court Judge, who has been assisting the academy by helping to put together an advisory team of some of the best and brightest in the field.

Class of 2020 UC Berkeley Trip

A Peaceful Protest

iPad Information

Letter from Judge Healy

Community Invite to Support the Bethel Law Academy

    As Chair and one of the founders of the Advisory Board of the Jesse Bethel High School Law and Justice Academy, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the goals and accomplishments of the Law Academy and to invite members of the community to join us in our effort to support our schools.

    In 2013, as the Vallejo Unified School District was adopting a "wall to wall" academy structure at both Vallejo and Bethel High Schools, members of our legal community began exploring ways to support Vallejo schools in these efforts. These entities included the Solano County Superior Court, Solano County Bar Association, and State Bar of California. Partnering with the School District, our goals have included: increasing the level of school commitment and civic engagement by Vallejo students; encouraging increased diversity among students pursuing legal and public service professions; increasing available resources to economically-challenged students and families; and finding meaningful ways for the local legal and business communities to support local efforts to improve our schools.

    In its first two years of existence, the Law Academy has enjoyed enormous success, including:

  •  We formed the Jesse Bethel Law Academy Advisory Board, drawing support from judicial officers, attorneys from our local district attorney, public defender, and city attorney offices, and many other private attorneys in the community. 
  • We organized and supported numerous field trips for academy students, including tours of our courthouse, tours of UC Berkeley, Stanford and other law schools, and a tour of the California State Capitol and meeting with legislators.
  • We organized regular guest speakers to address the students, including government leaders and a range of legal professionals in the criminal justice and civil justice practices.
  • We organized a comprehensive mentoring program for all students in the law academy, pairing students with local volunteer attorneys, professionals and law students. Last year we had over 50 judges, lawyers and professionals spend 3 afternoons with the students on campus discussing careers in the legal profession and assisting in career planning, resume building, and related efforts.
  • With the support of local activists and merchants we sponsored a "Dress for Success" event where students were coached in appropriate dressing and preparation for job interviews and public presentations.
  • We are organizing a comprehensive internship program to provide real-life experiences to the students. This last summer we were thrilled to have students obtain paid internships in a variety of offices, including private attorney offices and our local probation office.
  • Partnering with the State Bar of California and the California Department of education, we are working to create a Pathway to Law School for students - a partnership among high schools, colleges (including Solano Community College) and law schools to enhance opportunities for Law Academy students to attend college and law school.
  • We are working to create programs to train and engage students in collaborative justice, conflict resolution and non-violence training.

    The Law Academy has proven to be a "win-win" for the schools and the legal community. We have witnessed an increased level of engagement and positive growth in the students, and the legal professionals participating in the academy have gained a profound sense of satisfaction by making a positive difference in the lives of these students.

    As we begin our third year of the Law Academy (our first with all four grades fully integrated into the academy), I am very optimistic that we will build on our recent successes to provide even more support for the students and teachers in the academy.

    To our students and parents: Please know that there are many members of our local legal community who are committed to support your efforts to succeed and thrive at school. We do so not only because we want to build a stronger school and community, but because we also want to see a diverse and talented Vallejo student body form our next generation of lawyers, judges and community leaders. We look forward to seeing many of you tonight on campus.

    To members of our legal community: Please join us as we work to support, mentor and encourage our local students and teachers and, in doing so, make Vallejo a better place. To join our efforts, please visit us at:

    I would also like to recognize the extraordinary efforts of Dr. Ramona Bishop and the Vallejo Unified School District in developing this academy structure, which has rightly challenged community members, businesses and professionals to step up and build a better environment for our students and teachers.

    Please join us in working with our local schools to give Vallejo students the productive learning environment they need and deserve.

                         Daniel J. Healy

                         Judge, Solano County Courts

                         Member, Bethel Law and Justice Academy Advisory Board

Objectives of The Law Academy

Knowledge and skills in the field of law-related career exploration will be acquired within a sequential, National Academy Foundation accredited program that integrates classroom, field-based and problem/project-constructed instruction. Pathway instruction is designed to prepare students for technical training, postsecondary education end entry to variety of career options within the numerous law-related professions.   

2015 Newsletter Articles

Law Academy Newsletter Articles:

State Capitol Field Trip

On April 20, 2015, our Law academy participated in a field excursion to the California State Capitol in downtown Sacramento. The bus departed from Jesse Bethel at 7:50AM and arrived at the capitol around 9:00AM. Upon our arrival, our academy students interacted with other students from other schools who also partook in the State Capitol’s historical tour of the capitol building. The students proudly wore their Law Academy dress shirts, embroidered with the Law Academy’s logo. Academy students learned the origin of legislation and how it is conducted in California. Students were also able to visit the governor’s office and sit in the exact room where California bills are passed or vetoed by California’s state legislature on a regular basis. The Law Academy thanks the state capitol for hosting the fieldtrip. (Breanna Adams, Phillip Nuval)


Mentorship Meetings

Over the course of the 2014-2015 school year, the Law Academy successfully conducted three mentorship meetings. These meetings entailed students being introduced to a variety of legal professionals and working with them to gain knowledge of career options open to them after graduation. The first mentorship meeting was held in early January. This meeting was mainly focused on discussing the purpose of the program and introducing students to their mentors. The second meeting was held in early March. This meeting was far more interactive than the first one and really gave students a chance to talk about themselves to their mentors. The second meeting was by far the most successful meeting, simply because students were more accustomed to the agenda, and felt as if their opinions were heard. An amenity of the second mentorship meeting was the reception held shortly after its conclusion. The final mentorship meeting was held in late April. This meeting served as a wrap up session, and focused on writing and reviewing resumes made by students. Multiple Vallejo police were able to show their presence and discuss their personal experiences. To accompany the police narratives, a panel of other guest speakers were allotted time to speak. In conclusion, because of the success of the mentorship meetings this school year, the Law Academy will continue to hold meetings next school year. (Breanna Adams, Phillip Nuval)


Law Academy Guest Speakers

The Law Academy has had the pleasure of hosting two guest speakers in Mr. Giatti’s law class since the end of spring break.

In March, the first guest speaker, Jill Sowards, a housing attorney,  came in and talked to the students about disputes between landlords and tenants. Sowards carefully laid out several different fascinating scenarios and gave the students a chance to analyze each one. Following each scenario were a number of questions that the students were asked to answer; the questions served as a demonstration of comprehension. The students really appreciated Soward’s approach to educating the class, and the humor infused into each scenario.

In April, a second guest speaker, Esther Moore, a family law attorney, came in and discussed a child custody case with the class. Moore provided a down-to-earth approach to each of the student’s questions. Many students found Moore relatable and very interesting.

The Law Academy thanks both of the guest speakers and hopes they will speak again next school year. (Breanna Adams, Phillip Nuval)


Advisory Board Meeting

In late April, three law academy students were given the opportunity to speak at Jesse Bethel’s monthly advisory board meeting. During this meeting, staff received feedback from the students on all of the events in the Law Academy this school year. The Law Academy strongly believes that students have a voice that needs to be heard so that the academy is constantly improved. This meeting was a huge success and more students will have the opportunity to volunteer to speak at the next advisory board meeting in May. (Breanna Adams)


  Katherine Anisin Math Teacher
  Shari Bagera Social Science Teacher
  Peter Cirelli English/ELD Teacher
  Billy Davis Math Teacher
  Fabian Giatti Social Science Teacher
  Chrystal Johnson Science Teacher
  Dwayne Jones Counselor - Law Academy
  Corey Meshak English Teacher
  Jeannette Ramos English Teacher
  Steve Takesh RSP Teacher