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Lawyer Helps Students ‘Do the Write Thing’


Can writing an essay about combating youth violence actually help young inner-city students stay out of trouble? Chicago lawyer Robin Hulshizer hopes so.

The partner at Latham & Watkins is the Chicago chairwoman for “Do the Write Thing,” a national essay contest run by the National Campaign to Stop Violence. She hopes her passion for igniting the fire within students through writing will help them avoid certain behaviors such as joining a gang and encourage them to do their best in school.

Each spring, sixth through eighth graders are invited to submit an essay about how violence has affected their lives, including what they believe are its causes and what they can do to help reduce it. This year’s challenge resulted in more than 1,200 submissions from Chicago students. The two winners, along with their parents and teachers, were honored at a May 7 awards banquet at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The winners will also attend the Do the Write Thing Challenge National Recognition Week in July in Washington, D.C.

Hulshizer was inspired to get involved when her daughter entered middle school. She knew that there were many challenges facing children at that age which can lead them astray. In her role as the chairwoman, she oversees all aspects of the contest from the initial solicitation to helping coordinate the winning students’ trip to Washington. She also recruits volunteer judges to read the entries; she herself read about 40 essays this year.

Even though this year’s competition is over, Hulshizer is studying the essays more carefully in an attempt to better understand the issues associated with youth violence. And, she’s using other resources to think through what actually can be done to combat the problem, such as uniform ratings for movies and video games.

It’s up to the adults now, she has stated, to identify solutions for one of the most serious problems facing our nation today.


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