News Releases
September 06, 2012

Volunteer as a Boston Debate League Judge

Press Release

Since announcing its partnership in May of this year, the Boston Bar Association and Boston Debate League (BDL) have been hard at work recruiting volunteers to help support academic debate in Boston Public High Schools (BPS). Volunteering as a BDL Judge is a great way for busy lawyers, with a limited amount of time, to help expand the pipeline of racially and ethnically diverse young people into the legal profession. The commitment is minimal — judges are asked to volunteer for as little as one four hour session on a Friday evening or Saturday — though many choose do to more. Judging is open to lawyers, professional staff and anyone with a high school diploma. No prior debate experience is required, though judges must attend a training seminar. Potential volunteers can either attend the BBA’s training and information session on October 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm or the on-site training prior to each debate tournament.

So why volunteer? Simply put, the BDL needs your help. In four years the BDL jumped from 25 to more than 600 debaters, with more than 800 expected for the 2012-2013 year. Hundreds of judges are needed at each and every debate to listen to debaters’ hard fought arguments, offer advice and contribute to their academic achievement. Consider the following facts courtesy of the BDL:

  • Debaters are three times less likely to drop out of school than non-debaters
  • African-American males who debate, in particular, are 70 per more likely to graduate from high school than those who don’t.
  • Urban debaters improved both their Reading and English ACT scores by 15 percent
  • Urban debaters are 34 percent (English) and 74 percent (Reading) more likely to achieve the college readiness benchmarks after just two years in debate.

Tournament dates are as follows:
October 19th and 20th
November 16th and 17th
December 7th and 8th 
December 14th and 15th
January 18th and 19th 
February 8th and 9th 
March 1st and 2nd

For more information contact Sonia Shah at or or 617-778-1976