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.
The Director of Public Legal Education recruits, coordinates and manages various programs that provide volunteer attorneys to influence the provision of law-related education, improve communication and expand relationships in the community.
Models for the following educational programs are available. The Public Legal Education Department and Public Legal Education Committee will provide assistance to local bar associations interested in implementing the programs described below. Attorney volunteers are encouraged to volunteer for a clinic even if it is not within their specialty area.
Doing Your Own Divorce
Volunteer attorneys provide information on filing for a simple divorce without the assistance of an attorney. The clinic is informational (not legal advice) and covers divorce procedures and forms, child custody and child support.
Small Claims & Collections
Attorneys instruct participants on using Colorado Small Claims and Collections court procedures.
Attorney volunteers teach bankruptcy for debtors only (not creditors), providing a general overview regarding bankruptcy along with tips and helpful hints.
Attorneys assist non-custodial parents in reconnecting with their children by providing information on obtaining court orders to see their children, and enforcing existing parenting orders. Child support issues are also addressed.
Throughout the year, schools may request tours of the courts. The local bar association may coordinate these tours with the help of volunteer attorneys. A tour of the courthouse is given and, with a pre-arranged agreement with a judge, students are taken into courtrooms where they may see a trial in progress. A minimum of 4-6 weeks' notice is generally required for scheduling.
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 70 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.
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.
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. They are also on our Web site http://www.cobar.org/group/index.cfm?category=55&EntityID=dpwfp and you can download any of them.