July 1, 2011 – State Bar members are invited to participate in a one-day symposium at the Bar Center in Madison on Thursday, July 21, that will explore ways to enhance the public’s understanding of Wisconsin’s court system.
The free workshop will feature a presentation by the Hon. Russell Carparelli of the Colorado Court of Appeals, who is collaborating with the American Bar Association, the National Center for State Courts, and others to develop effective national programs that foster a deeper public understanding of the judiciary.
Judge Carparelli created the Our Courts project in February 2007 with U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger. It provides nonpartisan information to adult audiences (such as Rotary Clubs and community groups) to further public knowledge and understanding of the state and federal courts in Colorado. More than 280 presentations have been made by volunteer presenters to more than 9,000 audience members since then. In February 2010, the American Bar Association Coalition for Justice awarded the Our Courts project its 2010 national award for public education about the role of fair and impartial courts.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson will welcome participants to the event and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley will demonstrate iCivics, an online civics education resource created by Retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The event will also include small group discussions in the afternoon focusing on such issues as effective educational initiatives and partnership strategies to improve public awareness of the court system.
“Most people have only a vague understanding of the court system and its operations,” explains State Bar President Jim Brennan. “The ultimate goal of the day’s activities is to develop an action plan to strengthen the public’s understanding of Wisconsin’s judicial branch by expanding and coordinating our public education efforts,” Brennan says.
Wisconsin judges, librarians, teachers, attorneys, and others have been invited to the event, but Brennan stresses that a limited number of seats are available for State Bar members and others who share an interest in promoting a better public understanding of the courts. “I encourage interested parties to contact Marsha Varvil-Weld, our Public Education Coordinator, at (608) 250-6191 or at org mvarvil-weld wisbar wisbar mvarvil-weld org to participate in this important event,” Brennan adds.