Raising the Bar Program Launches

Akron Municipal Court Judge David Hamilton has introduced a court-sponsored pilot program for area high school students entitled “Raising the Bar.”

Raising the Bar has a mission to introduce more minorities to a career in law and give exposure to various career opportunities in the legal profession.

Selected juniors and seniors at Akron Public Schools’ Buchtel CLC will be part of the pilot program. This program is funded through My Brother’s Keeper. A major partner in this program is Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro’s Office.

Raising the Bar’s first session is being held today with additional session dates of Thursday, November 10, 2022 and Thursday, December 8, 2022. A completion ceremony slated for Wednesday, December 14, 2022 where family and friends of the graduates will be invited to celebrate their accomplishment.

The program’s curriculum includes interactive materials containing team building activities, critical thinking and deductive reasoning lessons and other valuable tools to identify each student’s strengths and how those values can be shared in a professional environment.

Statistics supporting this program include:

  • 81% of active lawyers are White and of those, 62% are male
  • 5% of active lawyers are Black
  • Black women make up 1.73% of all lawyers
    (Statistics retrieved from:

Upon completion, the students will earn community service hours and hours of service that will count toward the requirement for their college and career pathway.

Judge David Hamilton created the court-sponsored Compassion, Opportunity, Mentoring, Purpose, Assistance, Survival, Stepping forward (COMPASS) Program in November 2020 for males who are high risk to reoffend. COMPASS provides an alternative to jail and offers resources including trauma therapy, counseling, formal mentorship, financial literacy and vocational services.

Judge David Hamilton

Judge David Hamilton