The University of Colorado at Boulder is offering a “mini law school” beginning September 8. Classes will be held once a week for eight weeks. Students will be able to attend live lectures at the CU Boulder law building or live webcasts at CU South Denver. The classes will discuss, among other topics, criminal, business, constitutional, family, and property law.
The classes will not have reading assignments or homework. No academic credit will be offered, but people who attend six of the eight sessions will receive a “Mini Law School Certificate.” The purpose of the classes is to offer people the opportunity to learn some law basics.
Some people wonder if they really need a lawyer? Can’t I just represent myself? What does a lawyer have to offer me? People who receive this “Mini Law School Certificate” may think they will be educated enough to represent themselves or give legal advice. While being educated about the law is certainly a good thing, these classes are not intended to be a substitute for a full law school education and the practical experience practicing attorneys have to offer.
Criminal defense attorneys have a lot to offer their clients separate and apart from just knowing what the law says. Defense attorneys have relationships with prosecutors that help in negotiation discussions. Negotiations not only involve plea bargaining, but also knowing when and how to show the prosecution any legal defenses. Like any profession, there are trustworthy prosecutors and untrustworthy prosecutors. Knowing who you are dealing with is important when deciding how to approach discussions. Defense attorneys also know judges. Many decisions are left up to the judge, so having experience practicing in front of the judge will help the defense attorney make educated guesses about how a judge might decide a certain issue. This is important for things such as bond hearings, motions hearings, evidentiary rulings and sentencing hearings.
We definitely encourage people to be educated about the law because clients who are educated about the law may be able to be more helpful in their own defense. But, remember that attorneys have a lot more to offer than simply knowing what the law says.