The Institute’s public service and education activities contribute to improving the legal system and operation of government by increasing public awareness and understanding of its purpose and function. Public service projects address current legal issues and needs facing the citizenry and government. Large and diverse sets of audiences are reached through publications, conferences, and media presentations. The Institute also supports projects designed to improve teaching about the law and legal institutions at all educational levels.
Past public service and education activities inlcude:
Seminars on Handling Offenders with Developmental Disabilities
Institute staff organized and conducted two one-day seminars for judges, state’s attorneys, defense counsel, probation officers, and mental health professionals on the law and offenders who have developmental disabilities. A handbook on the topic was developed and disseminated.
Law Day Forum
The Instiute sponsors a yearly Law Day Forum to highlight a current legal issue. Guest speakers have included retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice Seymour Simon; Jerold Solovy, chair of the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County (Greylord investigative commission); and Professor Lief Carter, author of several books and articles on the constitution and religion.
Law-Related Education in Secondary Schools
The Instiute conducts projects for secondary education teachers and students. Projects have included the research and writing of a book, Understanding the Illinois Constitution, F. Kopecky and M. Harris (1986), which provides a concise resource for the study of the governing structure and the constitutional history of Illinois (major funding by Illinois Bar Foundation); assistance in the development of materials and the format for the Illinois State Bar Association sponsored mock trial competition for high school students; and the writing of articles and editing of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Law-Related Education newsletter.
Scattered Site Housing Forum
In the fall of 1994, the Institute sponsored a one-day forum on the topic of public housing Springfield. Led by Professor Gary Orfield of Harvard University, members of the UIS faculty and staff as well as the Springfield community leadership, media, and general public focused on this topic throughout the day.