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Rotunda Report
  • Rotunda Report
    April 23, 2013

    State Bar Gears Up to Educate the Public on Wisconsin’s Court System

    Forty-eight volunteer judges and attorneys are participating in the State Bar of Wisconsin’s newest public education program. Our Courts Wisconsin aims to further public knowledge and understanding of the courts and legal system.
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    April 22, 2013 – Last Saturday, 25 volunteers participated in a day-long training session at the State Bar. Attorneys and judges were able to hone their public speaking skills, while learning what it takes to educate the people of Wisconsin.

    “The legal system is complex and best explained by people with legal training and experience.  Lawyers and judges are in the best position to simplify and accurately explain how things really work to a non-law-trained audience. Our Courts is designed to be interactive and entertaining, while still being accurate and informative,” said Speaker Committee Chair of Our Courts Hon. Edward Leineweber.

    Our Courts Wisconsin features four programs that will be presented to a wide array of audiences across the state. The programs are free of charge to community groups and will highlight how important a role the courts and the legal system play in a constitutional democracy.

    “The courts across Wisconsin are deciding cases every day which affect the lives of our citizens, yet most people have a poor understanding of how the courts actually work. Worse, that understanding is often mistaken, based on bad information gleaned from movies, TV or other entertainment media,” added Leineweber.

    The programs are: “Lincoln’s Legacy,” “Myths and Realities in Wisconsin’s Courts,” “Understanding the Criminal Court Process: Protecting the Rights of Wisconsin Citizens” and “Understanding the Importance of Your Court System: Courts Serving Wisconsin Citizens.”

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

    “Lincoln’s Legacy” is an essay written by Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Russell E. Carparelli that shares a personal side of Abraham Lincoln. “Myths and Realities in Wisconsin’s Courts” is a humorous presentation that will help audiences understand the judicial system through excerpts from various pop culture depictions of court proceedings. Attendees will gain basic knowledge of criminal court proceedings in “Understanding the Criminal Court Process: Protecting the Rights of Wisconsin Citizens.” And “Understanding the Importance of Your Court System: Courts Serving Wisconsin Citizens” is an interactive program that gives an overview of the Wisconsin Court System.

    “We know people believe that fair, impartial, and independent yet accountable courts play a vital role in our system of government. They recognize the value in their own lives as a means of resolving disputes and protecting legal rights. It is important that judges and lawyers be willing to step into the public spotlight to help advance public understanding of the legal system, and raise the level of trust and confidence in the process,” said Leineweber.

    To volunteer or request that a program come to your area contact the State Bar of Wisconsin Public Education Program Manager at 608-250-6191 or

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