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This program is supported by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.




Just The Beginning - A Pipeline Organization (JTB) ® offers free educational pipeline programming for students in middle school, high school, college, and law school with a mission to inspire under-represented, under-served and at-risk students and increase the diversity in the legal profession.

Just The Beginning (formerly Just The Beginning Foundation) has served the community for twenty years through sustainable education programs that provide skills based learning for youth.


JTB offers educational and inspirational programming and follow up to under-served youth from disadvantaged, underexposed backgrounds and experiences, at no cost to participants as we lay the foundation for their educational and professional excellence.

JTB provides a pathway to success for young adults through a learning and mentoring experience, which enables and encourages participants to explore the possibility, through academic achievement, of entering the law as their chosen career.

As a Premier Pipeline Organization we reach back to young students and give them necessary life experiences and support throughout their educational career to stay on track towards higher education. 

We provide programs that develop the academic skills of young people. 

Our mission is to encourage and foster student academic goal setting and success with a focus on the legal profession and the continued expansion of all encompassing diversity within the legal field.

Our cornerstone program, the Summer Legal Institute involves a curriculum which is highly interactive, exciting and FUN.

Program activities and lessons are designed to motivate, inspire and encourage students on a path towards academic and personal success for now and in the future.

In a study by the National Collaboration for youth notes “The motivation and concentration levels of young people were much higher in informal youth programs than they were in school (or when hanging out with friends), suggesting the untapped power in youth development programs that can positively impact school performance.”   

This same study cites a 2010 research brief that focused on the academic effects of out of school activities - summer programs specifically. This study found that while little research has focused on summer learning programs there is clear evidence that summer learning loss among low-income children not participating in high-quality summer programs exacerbates the achievement gap.  As a matter of fact, another recent study attributed about one-half of the achievement gap between youth from low- and high-income families at the beginning of high school to summer learning loss.

Recent reviews of experimentally evaluated interventions  found that summer learning programs may significantly enhance short-term reading outcomes and, to a lesser extent, math outcomes.”An abundance of research provides solid evidence that youth development organizations are important agents in helping students achieve academic success." Targeted programmatic emphasis is necessary early on in the academic life of a child. Students as early as middle school require programming that develops high order thinking skills and other keys to success in not only middle and high school but in higher education as well.  JTB programming builds a foundation leading to successful engagement in law school admissions and ultimately those skills critical to bar exam passage.

Our curriculum provides students with direction and support for writing, reading for understanding, and oratory skills.  Through interactive engagement, community involvement, modeling and mentorship our programs enhance students’ academic and educational options and pursuits.  Our programs endeavor to enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve; our focus has historically been on unprivileged and otherwise disadvantaged youth. 

General Program Economic Demographics

  •   Almost 61% of JTB’s SLI classes were classified as living below the poverty level.
  •   JTB's SLI classes are primarily comprised of traditionally underrepresented students: 54% African-American, 20%   Hispanic, 8% Caucasian, 12% Asian, and 6% Multiracial.
  •   JTB through sponsorship dollars provides students with transportation, breakfast, lunch, and work materials throughout our programs.


We start early...  

By reaching the students as young as sixth grade, JTB helps eradicate any sense a student has that the legal profession is not a possibility for them.  Simple legal exercises and attorneys and judges with similarly diverse backgrounds can inspire the students to jump on the track towards the legal profession. 

See Middle School Programs

High school students not only benefit from the inspirational stories but also from more advanced exercises and activities exposing them to the legal community and the practice of law.  Other resources and learning opportunities keep the students focused on college and ultimately law school. 

See High School Programs

Numerous college programs exist for students interested in the law, and JTB partners with many of these programs and actively helps its students find the program that is most convenient and best suited for their needs. 

See College Programs

While in law school, students are focused on grades and their job after school.  JTB assists in this final push by offering a national judicial externship/clerkship referral program for qualified students. 

See Law School Programs



Join our efforts...

Donate Money: Insure our programs remain FREE to students.
Donate Time: Connect with youth in your community, they need you.
Donate Resources: Pens, paper, notebooks even snacks go a long way, and

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and others in your community.