Rotunda Report: ‘Try It, You’ll Like It’: Volunteer to Teach Wisconsinites About the Court System:

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  • Rotunda Report
    August
    16
    2013

    ‘Try It, You’ll Like It’: Volunteer to Teach Wisconsinites About the Court System

    Katie Stenz

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    Aug. 16, 2013 – As requests for the State Bar of Wisconsin’s four Our Courts Wisconsin programs pour in, committee leaders are putting out the call for more volunteer attorneys and judges.

    “None are in a better position to improve the level of knowledge and understanding about the courts in our communities than the women and men who work in them daily – local lawyers and judges,” said Our Courts Speaker Committee Chair Judge Edward Leineweber.

    The State Bar is in need of attorneys and judges from all over the state to add their own personal expertise and knowledge to Our Courts’ ready-made presentations.

    “A friend and mentor once told me that it was okay to ‘do well by doing good.’ While our primary motivation in volunteering needs to come from a heartfelt desire to give back to others, the fact remains that the kind of public exposure Our Courts Wisconsin volunteers receive as they make these community presentations can be invaluable in building a career,” Leineweber said.

    Volunteering to be an Our Courts presenter is not only a positive way to enhance a resume; it is a great way to educate the public – in many diverse settings – on the often misunderstood court system.

    “As judges and attorneys, we’ve all been frustrated, and maybe even a little discouraged, by the misinformation about the justice system that circulates in our communities,” Leineweber said. “But when I encounter these situations it usually turns out to be well-intentioned people who just don't have the information necessary to understand an admittedly complex topic, and I believe that we can reach these individuals through Our Courts.”

    Even though community and school groups can make specific requests for programs, presenters have the ability to pick and choose what they present, depending on audience needs and their own experiences. Requests have been coming in from both large and small cities and towns, so there are many opportunities for volunteers to reach out to people in their own neighborhoods and communities.

    Katie StenzKatie Stenz is the public affairs coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached at org kstenz wisbar wisbar kstenz org, or by phone at (608) 250-6145.

    Our Courts’ four programs range from the dynamic reading of an essay about Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln’s Legacy, to an interactive look at Wisconsin’s courts in Understanding the Importance of Your Court System. Audience members will gain knowledge of criminal court proceedings in Understanding the Criminal Court Process through the use of a fictional case. Myths & Realities is a humorous presentation that helps audience members better understand the judicial system through exploring and critically analyzing pop culture references of court proceedings.

    “I welcome the opportunity to get Our Courts Wisconsin’s message of competence, fairness and integrity out among my friends and neighbors,” Leineweber said. “To my colleagues across the state I can only say: ‘Try it, you'll like it.’”

    To volunteer, contact the State Bar of Wisconsin Public Education Program Manager at 608-250-6191 or PubEdCoordinator@wisbar.org. You may also visit www.wisbar.org/OurCourts for more information.

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