From the Chair
It is with much enthusiasm that I assumed the Chair of the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public for 2016-2017. Over the last few years, this Committee has grown in its mission—assuming responsibility for coordinating the civics education programs of the ISBA—and expanded its goals and objectives. I am confident this will be a very successful year with the help and talent of this year’s Committee members and associate members.
I would like to thank those members who have stepped up to chair the various subcommittees of the Committee: Judge Michael Chmiel as Civic Education Chair; Nancy Easum as Outreach Chair; Lauren DeJong and Ed Schoenbaum as Communications Co-Chairs; Z Williams as Members Chair; and Sarah Taylor as Mock Trials Chair. The important work of the Committee could not be accomplished without their time and commitment.
I know I have a hard act to follow in succeeding Immediate Past Committee Chair Rocky Martinez. Rocky did an excellent job in guiding the Committee and so nicely summarized our accomplishments over the past year in the last issue of this newsletter. It is my hope that this year we can expand upon those successes with the help of not only our Committee members but also volunteer attorneys and judges.
In addition to our current Lawyers in the Classroom and Courtroom in the Classroom programs, we are close to rolling out our adult education component – tentatively titled Courtroom in the Community - later this year. This program will be available to community and civic groups who are interested in learning more about how our legal and court system work. We are also currently organizing a Speakers Bureau which will be marketed to groups who are interested in a program on a specific legal subject matter, for example estate planning. Volunteers are needed for both of these presentations.
In addition to civics education, the other major focus of our Committee is our involvement with the High School Mock Trial Invitational. This program provides high school students the opportunity to experience how our system of justice works through preparation and presentation of a trial in a statewide competition with the winner advancing to the national competition. The Invitational would not be possible without the many attorney and judges who volunteer some of their weekend hours to judge and evaluate the teams. We are also looking to expand the number of schools who participate in the Invitational and are currently investigating the possibility of offering a scholarship that will enable less affluent schools to participate.
I am confident that this will be a busy but exciting year. Anyone who is interested in learning more about or volunteering with Lawyers in the Classroom, Courtroom in the Classroom, Courtroom in the Community, the Speakers Bureau, or the High School Mock Trial Invitational should contact our outstanding staff assistant, Kim Furr, at ISBA Headquarters for further information.