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Department of Public Legal Education

The Public Legal Education Department and the Public Legal Education Committee work together and with local bar associations to provide the community with information, education and assistance in the understanding and use of the legal process, enhance public trust in the legal profession, give direction, and provide opportunities for members to participate in and coordinate these efforts with other community organizations.


ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAM


Our Courts Colorado
Our Courts is a joint activity of the Colorado Judicial Institute and the Colorado Bar Association that provides nonpartisan information programs to adult audiences around the state to further public knowledge and understanding of the state and federal courts in Colorado.

Our Courts presentations address the role of fair and impartial courts in applying and preserving the rule of law. All programs are free of charge.

  • "Our State Courts" How Colorado's procedures for selecting, disciplining, and evaluating judges keep our state courts fair and impartial. This presentation is available in Spanish.

  • "Our United States Courts" The types of cases that are heard in the federal     courts and the procedures that keep our federal courts fair and impartial.

  • “Divorce in Colorado Courts” This presentation covers how divorce cases proceed in Colorado Courts. Specifically, it explores the differing interest at stake, the issues that need to be addressed in a typical divorce case, the different ways in which divorce cases are resolved, and the ongoing role of the court in divorce cases in Colorado.

  • “An Economic Fresh Start- Bankruptcy Basics” This presentation discusses how bankruptcy cases work. Specifically, it describes the history of bankruptcy and how it has evolved into the present system, the different kinds of bankruptcy cases that can be filed, and the basic components of an individual bankruptcy case.

  • "See You In Court: The Life of a Civil Lawsuit" This presentation discusses the purposes of civil lawsuits, a party’s rights and remedies in such lawsuits, how such lawsuits are commenced and how they proceed, what really happens at trial, and the roles of the judge, the jury, and the lawyers in these proceedings.

  • "Law & Order: The Life of a Criminal Case" This presentation discusses the roles of the judge, the jury, the prosecution, and the defense in a criminal case, how criminal cases are brought and how they proceed, the setting of bail, the plea bargaining process, what really happens in a criminal trial, and how judges determine the appropriate sentences after a conviction

  • "Lincoln’s Legacy of Equality & Liberty" To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, Our Courts speakers are available to make a 25-minute presentation that uses Lincoln’s own words and the words of those who knew him to explain how Lincoln’s commitment to the principles of equality and liberty transformed our nation.

  • “Introducción a los Tribunales de Inmigracción”  This Spanish language presentation provides an introduction to the United States Immigration Courts, discussing how proceedings are commenced and conducted in those courts, the nature of these proceedings, a party’s rights and remedies, appeal rights, and the roles of the judge, lawyers, parties, and interpreters.

    Our Courts presentations and presenters take no position regarding any court case, legislation, ballot issue, or proposed change to the court system.

Our Courts actively reach out to potential audiences through:

  • Community leadership programs
  • Business and economic development associations
  • Professional and trade associations
  • Service organizations
  • Community colleges, undergraduate and graduate schools, and vocational schools
  • Libraries
  • Other community organizations

Click here for this programs website and more information about this program.


SCHOOLS

Classroom Presentations
Schools may call the CBA to request attorneys for special speaking engagements. These requests are for various legal topics and general career awareness in the law. Presentation ideas are available for volunteers through the Public Legal Education Department.

Colorado High School Mock Trial Program
The Public Legal Education Committee sponsors the Colorado High School Mock Trial Competition. Each year 60 schools (and over 105 teams) in Colorado participate in regional tournaments to advance to compete at the state tournament in March. The state champion subsequently competes at the National High School Mock Trial Championships. Many volunteer attorneys and judges assist by coaching, presiding over and scoring the students during this hands-on experience. Click here for this programs website and more information abou the program.


 CALL-A-LAWYER

The Department of Public Legal Education has models for legal call-a-lawyer programs. Volunteer attorneys field legal questions over a broad spectrum of the law, providing general legal information, options and agency referrals. Local bar associations may consider a monthly call-in program or perhaps one related to an annual event, e.g., Law Day (May 1).


SMALL CLAIMS HANDBOOK

This summary procedural handbook is provided by the Judicial Branch for distribution to all Small Claims Courts in Colorado. It is also provided to all participants in Small Claims Clinics and Collections Clinics. The handbook includes the salient information needed to file, document, and support a claim as well as how to present both sides of the case. Click here to download the handbook.


 PUBLIC LEGAL EDUCATION MATERIALS

The Public Legal Education Department houses a reference library of law-related and educational materials that are available to the public. These include: videos and printed materials, classroom lesson plans (constitutional studies, practical law for teens, Street Law in Colorado, etc.) and in-class mock trial scripts.

BROCHURES on an array of subjects are produced in this office by various sections and committees to help take the confusion and fear out of legal transactions. Some of those are “So Now You Are a Guardian,” “So Now Your Are a Conservator,” and “What To Do When Someone Dies.” To order any for your office, call (303) 860-1115 or (800) 332-6736 and ask for the brochure line. Click here to download any of them.  


Veteran Resources


Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans
The Colorado Bar Association and the CBA Young Lawyers Division, in cooperation with a number of local bar associations, will be offering free legal clinics for veterans across Colorado.MEET WITH AN ATTORNEY FREE OF CHARGE and get information on topics such as Veterans resources, benefits, taxes, housing and family law. The clinics assist in understanding the legal processes and forms.  Click here to find a list of clinics in your area.