Forest Park, IL...American studies students from Proviso East and civics students from Proviso West gathered at Hamburger University at McDonald’s corporate offices in Oak Brook on Monday, April 29, to participate in "Law Day Symposium: Street Law 2013" presented by McDonald’s legal department.
Approximately fifty students met with Jennifer Cohn and Edward Lance IV in the morning to experience life as a lawyer working for McDonald’s Corporation. Students were divided into small groups in the morning to get an in-depth look into the various aspects in McDonald’s legal department. Students attended sessions on ethics, tort, zoning and property, and marketing and intellectual property law. David Eurioles, a Proviso East junior, said that in his session on civil law he learned how to be able to extract information from a minute detail for a court case. Not only were students examining the trials and tribulations of civil lawsuits, but they were able to understand how much time and energy is spent both protecting and promoting the McDonald’s brand throughout the world.
Frederick Burks, a Proviso East junior, reflected on the fact that McDonald’s has 12 million online mentions every two seconds.
"I can’t believe how much time McDonald’s had to dedicate to media rather than just food," he said.
Heidi Barker, McDonald’s vice president of Global External Communications, met with students before lunch to talk about the impact of the ever-changing global media market on McDonald’s Corporation. Barker explained that her position allows her to deal with evolving media concerns and issues as they take place throughout world. Barker said that her job is non-stop stating that she checks her emails before bed and when she first wakes up to deal with possible issues around the globe.
After being treated to a meal, students were led in a mock trial by attorneys from McDonald’s Corporation. The attorneys taught students the proper language and order usage for a court trial.
"I liked how there were actual lawyers telling us how to prepare for the case," said Shabria Harris, a Proviso East junior. Students from Proviso West represented the defendant, the Chicago Cubs, while students from Proviso East represented the plaintiff, Brook, a young girl who was blinded by a batted ball at a baseball game at Wrigley Field. Each side presented opening and closing statements as well as examining and cross examining witnesses. Some students even acted as witnesses in the trial. Students not participating in the actual trial served as the jury to determine if the Cubs had breached their obligation to their customers. If they had breached it, students determined a monetary value that should be provided to the plaintiff. Ultimately, the plaintiff did win in three of the five juries present for the final decision.
Devonta Brown, a Proviso East junior, said that he enjoyed the opportunity.
"I liked that they gave us future insight into the world," he said. "We learned what it is like to be lawyers today."