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Section 6: Department of Public Legal Education

DENVER BAR ASSOCIATION PUBLIC LEGAL EDUCATION

The Public Legal Education Department works with the Denver Access to Justice Committee, and the Democracy Education Committee to provide the community with information, education and assistance in the understanding and use of the legal process, to enhance public trust in the legal profession, to give direction and opportunities for members to participate in these efforts and to coordinate these efforts with other community organizations.

The Public Legal Education coordinates various programs to provide member attorneys the opportunities to provide law-related education and legal information, improve communication and expand relationships in the community through voluntary service.

The following educational programs are available.


CLINICS

BANKRUPTCY CLINICS

For debtors only (not creditors), the volunteer attorneys provide general overview information regarding bankruptcy and the process with the recent Federal law changes, and provide tips and helpful hints. These clinics are held at the federal Bankruptcy Court (U.S. Customs House, 721 19th Street) on the 2nd Tuesday and 4th Wednesday of each month from 1:30-3 p.m.

"DOING YOUR OWN DIVORCE" CLINICS

This free informational clinic provides an overview of the divorce process (with and without children), allocation of parental responsibility actions and forms related to both actions.  Volunteer attorneys provide information on filing for a divorce without the assistance of an attorney, and will cover divorce and allocation of parental responsibility procedures and forms, child custody, child support, maintenance and property division. Participants should bring forms to the clinics. (available here: www.courts.state.co.us). This clinic is informational only and questions are welcomed.  These clinics do not provide legal advice or representation nor do they directly assist in completing court forms. This clinic is presented at 1437 Bannock Street Courtroom 311 on the third Wednesday of each month from noon-1:30 p.m.

FAMILY LAW LEGAL CLINICS

This free informational clinic provides an overview of the divorce process (with and without children), allocation of parental responsibility actions and forms related to both actions.  Volunteer attorneys provide information on filing for a divorce without the assistance of an attorney, and will cover divorce and allocation of parental responsibility procedures and forms, child custody, child support, maintenance and property division. Participants should bring forms to the clinics. (available here: www.courts.state.co.us). This clinic is informational only and questions are welcomed. These clinics do not provide legal advice or representation nor do they directly assist in completing court forms. The clinics are scheduled by and held at the offices of the office of Economic Development (1200 Federal Boulevard room 1018).  This clinic is offered the 3rd Tuesday of each month 5:30-7 p.m.

LEGAL NIGHTS AT MI CASA AND SAN JUAN DIEGO

Both Legal nights are sponsored by the Colorado lawyers committee, DBA Young Lawyers Committee and Denver Access to Justice Committee.  Legal Nights allow you to meet with an attorney free of charge and get information in the areas of Immigration, credit, housing, landlord/tenant, employment and family law. Attorneys provide referrals to appropriate agencies.   Spanish interpreters will be available.  Legal Night at Mi Casa is located at 360 Acoma Street, Denver, CO 80204 on the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30-7 p.m.  Legal Night at El Centro San Juan Diego is located at 2830 Lawrence Street, Denver, CO 80205 on the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30-7 p.m.

SMALL CLAIMS AND COLLECTIONS CLINICS

Attorneys instruct participants on Colorado's Small Claims and Collections court procedures. Small Claims is offered on the 3rd Tuesday of each month; Collections is offered on the 3rd Thursday of each month.The classes are held at the City and County Building Civil Division (1437 Bannock Street room 164) from 11a.m. -1 p.m. 


PROGRAMS

CALL-A-LAWYER

The Denver Bar Association, in partnership with Channel 9, sponsors a weekly legal information call-in program at Channel 9 called "Lawline 9." Volunteer attorneys field legal questions over a broad spectrum of the law, providing general legal information, options and agency referrals. LawLine 9 - Every Wednesday, 4:00 - 6:30 p.m. - 303-698-0999 

CLASSROOM SPEAKERS

Schools may call the DBA 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.

 DENVER REGIONAL COLORADO HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL PROGRAM

The Democracy Education Committee administers and coordinates the Denver Regional Mock Trial Competition. Many volunteer attorneys, judges and paralegals assist by coaching, presiding over, and scoring the students during this hands-on experience.

 CONSTITUTION DAY

The Democracy Education Committee Coordinates Constitution Day which is held the week of September 17.  Volunteers teach students of all grade levels about the Constitution. 

LAW DAY ART CONTEST

On May 1st of each year, Democracy Education Committee celebrates Law Day by accepting entries of art submissions from K-5 grades in DPS schools.  The theme is based on the American Bar Association’s theme for this week.  Any Denver Public School is welcome to participate.  The Democracy Education Committee picks the winner and the student and teacher receive a Target Gift Certificate and their art work is published in the Docket.

 HOMELESS VET STANDDOWN 

Volunteer attorneys provide free legal information at this annual event. The DBA collects consumer legal information from the Colorado Judicial Branch, Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the Denver District Attorney’s Office (Economic Crimes Unit). Attorneys distribute the information available, as well as answer legal questions. The DBA also provides information about our legal clinics and outreaches program. 


PUBLIC LEGAL EDUCATION MATERIALS

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


WE THE PEOPLE

Denver Public Schools contact the Public Legal Education Department to recruit volunteers for We the People Hearings.  These hearings are for middle and high school students.  Volunteers listen to a presentation given by a group of students about the Constitution and rate / give feedback to the group.  


UNITED WAY BRIDGING THE GAP- JAVA AND JUICE

The DBA ATJ Committee is started a partnership with Bridging the Gap at Mile High United Way. This program assists youths who are aging out of foster care.Each month BTG offers a program called Java & Juice. These are monthly meetings held in a coffee shop or other gathering place.  A guest speaker discusses a topic and has a conversation with the young attendees. A DBA volunteer (or two) is needed for each session. The DBA volunteer will discuss important topics that pertain to youth between the ages of 14 and 24 using the CBA Public Legal Education guide, “So, You’re 18 Now... A Survival Guide for Young Adults: Rights and Responsibilities.” This guide covers topics such as: citizenship, renting, leases, marriage, paternity, estate planning, employment, pay, police stops, warrants, buying and selling a car, liens, auto insurance, and DUI/DWI.


DEMOCRACY EDUCATION COMMITTEE

This committee shall develop, coordinate, administer, and manage projects and programs to educate the public regarding democracy, legal principles, practices and institutions. It shall coordinate and add value to democracy education and associated activities in Denver schools to enhance public knowledge of and trust in the legal profession. The committee shall give direction to and opportunity for members of the legal profession to participate in these efforts and to coordinate such efforts with other bar associations and community organizations.


DBA ACCESS TO JUSTICE COMMITTEE

The DATJ Committee endeavors to increase the availability of free and low cost legal services and legal education programs for poor, low and moderate income persons in metropolitan Denver. The committee administers and evaluates programs, and recruits volunteer lawyers for legal service opportunities (both legal advice and legal information) that suit their interests and availability including: pro se clinics on various legal topics such as family law, bankruptcy and small claims court proceedings; annual events such as the Homeless Vet Stand Down; various "call-a-lawyer" programs offered by TV or radio stations; and other such programs or events as needed. The committee regularly evaluates legal needs of poor, low and moderate income persons in the community, and the best ways to meet those needs. The committee works in cooperation with the DBA staff, Metro Volunteer Layers and its governing board, United Way, the Young Lawyers Division and other CBA and DBA committees, various specialty bars, Colorado Legal Services and other organizations (e.g., El Centro De San Juan Diego, Mi Casa Resource Center, the Office of Economic Development, Denver District and County Courts).