Hate Crimes Education Trial – For Volunteers

Hate Crimes Educational Task Force volunteers present a mock trial.

Volunteer lawyers presenting to a group of students.

Since 1992, Colorado Lawyers Committee volunteers have presented trials based on a fictional case arising from a violation of Colorado’s Hate/Bias-Motivated Crimes Statute (formerly the Ethnic Intimidation Statute). At the conclusion of the trial, small discussion groups of students become “juries” to discuss the issues presented and, with the assistance of a volunteer facilitator, reach a verdict. The students become very engaged in discussing diversity in their community and the value of preventing the spread of racial slurs and hateful actions.

We’re looking for lawyers, law students, and others to volunteer and help present these trials at schools throughout Colorado. Presentations generally take less than three hours and are scheduled throughout the school year. This is an excellent volunteer opportunity for transactional lawyers (who generally serve as facilitators or the judge), litigators, other legal professionals, and law students too.

Sign Up to Volunteer

If you’re looking for more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions.

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A third letter from a participant.

A letter from a student at Slavens School who participated in the presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Colorado Lawyers Committee?
The Colorado Lawyers Committee started in 1978, and is a group of more than 75 Colorado law firms committed to improving conditions for children and the underprivileged. The lawyers and others who donate their time through the Lawyers Committee work for systemic change through advocacy, negotiation, litigation, and education. Read more about us.

Who performs?
Typically, lawyers, paralegals, and law students play all the courtroom roles—the prosecuting and defending attorneys and the judge—in addition to acting as facilitators. For more information, you can view the script here.

How long does it take?

The presentation takes less than three hours. The trial generally presents best using this schedule of events:

A "prosecutor" presents her case.

A “prosecutor” presents her case to student jurors.

Opening Remarks:  5-7 minutes
Prosecutor Voir Dire:  15 minutes
Defense Voir Dire:  15 minutes
Judge gives jurors the Oath:  2-3 minutes
Judge reads the undisputed facts:  5-7 minutes
Prosecutor Closing Argument:  11-12 minutes
Defense Closing Argument:  15 minutes
Prosecutor Rebuttal Closing:  3-4 minutes
Jury Deliberations (with trained facilitator):  until 15-20 minutes remain
Presentation of verdicts and closing remarks: 20-30 minutes

Can I look at a script of the trial?
Yes! You can you can view the script here.

Does this qualify for pro bono credit?
This program qualifies for credit under the Colorado Supreme Court’s Pro Bono Initiative under Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Do I have to be a lawyer to volunteer?
No, anyone can volunteer. Law students, paralegals, other legal professionals, and even those outside the legal profession are encouraged to participate. There is more information for volunteers here.