Minneapolis (2-23-04): -- Educating and inspiring teens about the law was the goal of the eighth annual Legal Expo, which was held Thursday, February 19 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. This free event, sponsored annually by the Hennepin County and Ramsey County bar associations, features volunteer attorneys, judges, law enforcement officers, and other professionals leading educational sessions designed for high school students.
600 students and teachers from over 20 area schools––traditional and non-traditional, public and private––attended this year’s Legal Expo. Most students came from the metro area, but others from as far away as Princeton, Minnesota. Teachers throughout the area have responded enthusiastically to the Legal Expo because of its ability to make the legal system "come to life" for their classes.
Officers from the New Hope Police Department’s Canine Unit opened the program, introducing students to the role of police dogs in law enforcement. Then, each hour throughout the morning, students chose from three concurrent seminars. Students actively participated in discussions on: Teen Crime and Consequences; The Death Penalty; Parties, Drugs and Alcohol: What the Law Says; Understanding Credit and Consumer Fraud; Legal Careers; Internet Law; and School Rules: What Are Your Rights. Current issues facing the courts were discussed in a special session led by Justice Paul Anderson of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Judge Wilhelmina Wright of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
The Hennepin County Bar Association provides a wide range of resources for the community and for youth, including a speakers bureau of volunteer attorneys; Legal Stuff -- a 64 page booklet for teens; TEL-LAW, a free phone-bank of legal messages; Lawyer Referral and Information Services; and other public education programming.