The Oregon Court of Appeals judges and staff regularly travel around Oregon to hear oral arguments and talk with high school and college students and community groups about the Court's work and about Oregon's justice system.
Since 1998, the Court has held oral arguments at schools, universities and local courts in multiple cities. A panel of three judges and a staff person work with the schools and local courts to schedule the trips. The judges meet with students who attend the arguments to discuss the appellate process and the Court's work. The students are able to read the briefs and summaries of the cases. They discuss them in class before the Court arrives. The Court works to choose cases that involve local parties and lawyers and present issues that would interest the students.
If you are interested in having the court visit your community, please read the School Requirements for more details. If you would like further information with regard to the Court of Appeals' school visitation program, please contact Nina Stoddard at 503.986.5441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When traveling outside Salem, the Court often also meets with local community groups, service clubs, and local bar associations over lunch or dinner.
Former Court of Appeals Chief Judge Rick Haselton wrote an article about the Court's "road show." "Kids Ask the Hardest Questions" first appeared in the Summer 2004 issue of Trial Lawyer, the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association's (OTLA) quarterly journal. The author and OTLA gave us permission to republish it here.
If you are interested in bringing a class to tour the Supreme Court Building in Salem or to hear oral arguments there, please contact the Appellate Court Services Division to arrange your visit.
If you are thinking about requesting a visit from the Court of Appeals, we'd like to provide information about what that visit will entail. The program consists of two parts: the oral argument session and in-classroom visits by the judges. The oral argument session begins at 9:00 a.m., usually consisting of three or four cases (selected by the court bearing in mind the student audience) with short Q&A periods after each argument, and concluding before noon. The court will work with the school to accommodate the school's schedule. An information package will be sent to the school approximately two weeks prior to the court's visit. It contains information on the court, short bios of the judges participating that day, copies of the briefs for each case, and summaries of each case prepared by the court to assist in preparing the students for the court's visit. After the students' lunch period(s), the judges will visit one or more classrooms for a more one-on-one visit with the students. Additional information can be found in the School Location Setup Guidelines below.
The court requires several commitments by the school:
- That each case argued be attended by a minimum of 50 students. The location of the arguments would need to be large enough to accommodate the minimum amount of students, up to 13 attorneys, and the physical set-up required for the judges, attorneys, and bailiff (see attached Guidelines for more information).
- That the information package (particularly the case summaries) provided be used by teachers and/or local lawyers to prepare the students prior to the arguments.
- That the judges visit with students in at least one classroom setting after the arguments.
If you need additional information or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us, either by email or by phone. We are available 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. for lunch--although we may be available to speak with you during that time by prearrangement).
We look forward to hearing from you.
School Location Setup Guidelines
Auditorium or similar facility that can accommodate the following. Please see diagram below for layout of the following:
- Room with an entrance close to judges' bench to allow judges to robe. This can be a screened-off area.
- For judges
- One long table on risers, with skirting, and three chairs. This can be an eight-foot table or two six-foot tables pushed together. If judges are up higher on a stage, it is not necessary to add risers.
- For bailiff
- One table, no less than five feet, and 2 chairs.
- Two counsel tables, each with two chairs
- One podium
- 1 U.S. flag--situate on right and behind of presiding judge
- 1 state flag--situate on left and behind of presiding judge
- Seating for audience
The School is Asked to Provide
- Designated parking area (10 spaces if possible) for judges, counsel, and bailiff (the bailiff brings the "traveling court" equipment and needs the space closest to the entrance to the "courtroom")
- Map of school complex, identifying area where arguments will be heard and parking area
- Bell schedule for classes (if the bell schedule will be followed)
- Audio/sound equipment to amplify arguments to audience (4 microphones for court use and, if available, 1 microphone for audience use in asking questions of court)
- Door monitors (to provide limited activity during arguments)
- Bottles of water or pitchers of water and cups for judges and counsel
The Court Will Provide
- Copies of summaries of the cases (these will come to you prior to the court sitting)
- The argument schedule
- A copy of bench sheet indicating the cases and attorneys that will be arguing
- The audience should stand when the judges enter or leave the "courtroom"
- Attentiveness to speakers
- Please communicate to the students that they should stand and talk loudly when asking questions (or use the microphone, if provided)
- No cell phones
- Please refrain from
- Changing seats
- Food and drink
- Slouching in seats
- Taking pictures other than at designated times. Permission to take pictures must be obtained from the court prior to arguments.