About this Program

Help the young people of Boston enhance their academic skills and expand the pipeline of racially and ethnically diverse future attorneys by volunteering for the Boston Debate League (BDL). The BDL is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to support academic debate teams and train BPS teachers to use debate as a regular part of their classroom practice. The program helps students develop valuable skills such as critical thinking, persuasive writing, and effective communication through competitive debate.

According to the BDL, debaters are three times less likely to drop out of school than non-debaters, and African-American males who debate are 70% more likely to graduate from high school than those who don't.  For more information on the impact of the BDL, please click here.

Volunteer Opportunities & Time Commitment

  • Volunteer JudgeThe BDL holds six city-wide debate tournaments throughout the academic year where students compete in teams of two, arguing the pros and cons of public policy proposals across a broad spectrum of topics. Hundreds of judges are needed for each debate. This is about a four hour commitment. 
  • Debate Mentor: The commitment is significant but gratifying. From September through March, volunteer mentors are assigned to attend a weekly after-school debate practice session lasting between one and two hours. All volunteers must submit to a CORI check and participate in a three-hour training seminar to qualify for the program. 
  • General SupportThose who may not be able to volunteer as a mentor or judge can provide general support in the form of legal and other-in-kind support, event support and hosting, and volunteer outreach and shepherding.

Requirements for Volunteering

No specific experience required. Training is provided for all volunteers by BDL. 


If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Katie D'Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at kdangelo@bostonbar.org.