Benchmarks Civics Project
The New Jersey State Bar Association and New Jersey Judiciary created a partnership to foster a better public understanding of civics and the essential role the courts play in a vibrant democracy.
The program is called the Benchmarks Civics Project. The project aims to inform the public about the way the courts work; what it means to be a citizen; and the importance of an independent, fair and impartial justice system.
Through the project, lawyers will receive professionalism continuing legal education credits (CLE) when they attend a training session about speaking on civics issues to community groups. Once trained, attorneys who go out and speak with those groups can earn additional professionalism CLE credits.
The Benchmarks Civics Project offers attorneys three lesson plans for attorneys to use when speaking in the community:
Benchmarks Activity 1: Could You Pass the Test?
This lesson will introduce participants to their role as citizens and increase their knowledge of the U.S. and New Jersey constitutions.
Benchmarks Activity 2: Take A Closer Look
Participants will review the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and examine some factors to determine if a hypothetical law violates the U.S. Constitution.
Benchmarks Activity 3: What the Law Means
The lesson will review the role of the judge in the judicial branch and how this branch is different from other branches of government and other elected officials. Participants will receive a practical, easy-to-understand introduction to judicial decision making and judicial review.