February 2019Volume 24Number 3PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

Share your talents!

A few years ago, the Illinois State Bar Association included in its mission the education of the public and students of all ages about the important role of attorneys and judges in our justice system and the importance of an independent judiciary in the administration of justice. The responsibility of administering this task was given to the Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public. The Committee oversees several opportunities for attorneys and judges to volunteer their time in their communities toward the advancement of civics education.

Lawyers in the Classroom is a program that has been around for several years.  This program offers a lawyer the chance to go back to school to speak to students on a law-related subject.  Schools will generally request a speaker and will be pared with a volunteer who has indicated a willingness to make a difference in the lives of students in the volunteer’s community.

The Speakers Bureau is geared toward civic and fraternal organizations who are interested in learning about a specific area of law, such as estate planning.  The organization is matched with a volunteer who is knowledgeable in the area requested.  Available on the ISBA website is a publication entitled “ISBA Speaker’s Bureau:  A Guide for Lawyers Invited to Speak” to assist volunteers when making presentations to their local community organizations.

In addition, the Mock Trial Invitational is an ISBA sponsored program that provides high school students throughout Illinois the chance to participate as attorneys and witnesses in a trial from start to finish and to learn the intricacies of the trial process.  Volunteers are always needed to serve as judges or evaluators during the invitational, which will be held this year on March 9-10 at the UIS Public Affairs Center in Springfield.

As women attorneys, many of us have families and other responsibilities that we are constantly juggling. However, through our well-earned knowledge and experiences, we also have much to offer our communities. If you are interested in learning more about these programs or in volunteering your time and talents, please contact Kim Furr at the Illinois Bar Center.

WATL Committee member and past chair of the Law-Related Education Committee for the Public.

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