Volunteer: Shannon Calt
Occupation: Attorney, Aldridge Pite LLC
Experience: Shannon has been an attorney since 2011, specializing in creditor rights – which includes civil litigation, bankruptcy, creditor/debtor issues and more. He is admitted to practice in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii, which means he has taken – and passed! – all four bar exams.
Shannon’s connection with Civics Learning Project began about 5 years ago. He leads courthouse tours regularly during the school year, giving students a look into the justice system from the perspective of a practicing attorney. He also volunteers every year as a Presiding Judge for the regional and state Oregon High School Mock Trial competitions.
In his own words:
My favorite thing about volunteering as a tour guide is inspiring interest in what the students are about to see. In my short presentation, I try to tell stories that personalize the justice system, and impart the seriousness of what they are witnessing. Everyone in court is a real person – they are friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, even fellow students. Anyone could end up in court, and hopefully they would all receive justice. During a Civics Learning Project Courthouse Experience tour, students are getting to see behind the curtain for a moment, and I hope my contribution makes the experience more meaningful.
The best part of volunteering as a judge for Mock Trial is the difficulty of picking a winner among such well prepared students. Their performances are sometimes indistinguishable from, or even better than, actual lawyers. Having been a less-than-stellar high school student myself, I am frequently in awe at their effort and ability. I love it when a student has the perfect response to an interesting objection, and I can look them in the eye, nod, and rule for them while privately thinking “well done!” There is an interesting saying that goes: “God created man and Sam Colt made them equal.” Well, in today’s world, I submit that Civics Learning Project Mock Trial teaches year after year that preparation and hard work can make any of us a giant.