Wyoming State Bar Foundation Makes Substantial Contribution to Judicial Learning Center

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Bar Foundation is pleased to announce it will make a contribution to the Wyoming Judicial Learning Center in an amount of over $173,000.

“I am thrilled that the Bar Foundation is in a position to make such a significant contribution,” said Tenille Castle, President of the Wyoming State Bar Foundation Board of Directors. “The mission of the Judicial Learning Center aligns with those of the Foundation and we are proud to be a partner in this initiative.”

The Wyoming Supreme Court, in collaboration with the Wyoming State Bar Foundation, launched this project last year to create a Judicial Learning Center within the current State Law Library in Cheyenne. The Center will house interactive exhibits to teach audiences about the importance and meaning of the Rule of Law. Exhibits will highlight Wyoming’s unique and significant contributions to our country’s legal system. Understanding the law can be difficult. This Center provides a fun and interactive environment to promote education about important legal concepts.

The fundraising goal for the project totaled $280,000. The Wyoming State Bar Foundation acted as the conduit for those funds. The 62nd Wyoming Legislature appropriated $280,000 in matching funds for the creation of the Center.

The Judicial Learning Center was inspired by the Colorado Judicial Learning Center in Denver. Wyoming’s Judicial Learning Center will be located on the first floor of the Supreme Court Building in the existing Wyoming State Law Library. The center will include the following exhibits:

  1. Judicial Milestones: A 40-foot exhibit composed of three-foot panels highlighting important historical milestones in Wyoming’s legal history;
  2. Hear From a Judge: Wyoming judges will tell unique stories about one of five themes, including Landmark and Historic Wyoming Court cases. Visitors will hear and see videos of each judge’s story through an interactive kiosk;
  3. Wyoming Map: Visitors will learn about Wyoming’s judicial court districts by exploring an interactive map of Wyoming on a simple and intuitive touch screen interface;
  4. iCivics Learning Stations: iCivics is a web-based project, promoted by U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, designed to promote civic education and inspire students to be active participants in our democracy. iCivics stations will allow visitors to play interactive games to learn about the law;
  5. Rule of Law Theatre/Exhibit: The Center will include a theatre room where a “fast-paced, fun-filled introductory film using pop culture movie clips, animation, 3D graphics” is played to demonstrate the difference between the Rule of Man and the Rule of Law; and
  6. Other exhibits include: You Be The Judge, What it Takes to Be A Judge and Assembling the Rule of Law.

“Everything we can do to improve public trust and confidence in our system of justice should be done,” said the Honorable E. James Burke, Chief Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court. “There is no question that the more people understand about our system of justice, the more confidence they have in it. The educational dividends generated by this project will benefit our citizens and our state for years to come.”

The Wyoming State Bar Foundation was established as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation in 1981 to 1) provide civil legal services to the poor of Wyoming, who would otherwise be unable to obtain legal assistance; 2) provide public education projects which promote a knowledge and awareness of the law; and 3) provide projects which improve the administration of justice.

Since 1989, the Foundation has awarded over $1,000,000 in grants to agencies and programs in Wyoming which are dedicated to the above goals. The Foundation’s funding comes from private contributions, membership dues and through the IOLTA program, which is interest earned on lawyers’ trust accounts.

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