September 2015Volume 2Number 1PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

Chair’s column

Welcome to a new year of law-related activities! This article will provide a brief overview of what the Standing Committee on Law-Related Activates for the Public (LRE) has planned for 2015-16.

`The LRE’s purpose is to develop, implement and administer programs that will enhance an understanding of our legal system, promote the consideration of law-related careers and champion for an environment which values civics education. Although there are only 16 ISBA members who are officially appointed to the Committee, a significant number of individuals (several from outside the Bar Association) are committed to its mission and hundreds of volunteer lawyers and judges present free programs, publications and lesson plans. We have adopted an eight-page strategic plan, which sets priorities, itemizes task lists and identifies target dates for the five Standing Subcommittees of the LRE. The Civics Education Committee continues to promote the Lawyer in the Classroom and Courtroom in the Classroom Programs (for students) and will be developing a new initative this year……..bringing lawyers into the community (especially adult organizations). The Communications Committee is in charge of the ISBA LRE web pages ( for non-ISBA members and <> for ISBA members), newsletters, pamphlets and lesson plans. The Membership Committee will be spreading the word about our activities within the ISBA, recruiting volunteers and engaging in public outreach. Of course, the Mock Trial Committee will be concentrating on event logistics, the problem (case) and materials, as well as coordinating the plethora of volunteers who make the High School Invitational possible. And, of course, we cannot forget to mention the Long Term Planning Committee that will be setting goals for next year and thereafter. We will be working with the Illinois Judges Association, local bar associations and established non-for-profit groups, such as the McCormick Foundation, that are committed to civics education. It is our sincere hope that coordination with these groups will enable the centralization of legal and civics resources for the public.

Speaking of synthesizing information, I wish to ask a question. Would it be helpful to develop a statewide calendar of civics activities—conferences, hearings, programs, etc? We are willing to try if such a resource would benefit those who are interested in advancing civics education in Illinois. Please notify us of civics educational activities at your earliest convenience and we will add them to the calendar.

As always, we welcome your ideas, suggestions and screams of pain. LOL. Please forward inquiries and words of wisdom to Kim Furr, our ISBA staff liaison, via e-mail at or by calling 1-800-252-8908. She will ensure that your matter is forwarded to the appropriate person on a timely basis.

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