Increasing public awareness of how the government and courts work is a critical mission for The Florida Bar. Benchmarks: Raising the Bar on Civics Education, a project of The Bar’s Constitutional Judiciary Committee, offers attorneys activities they can use when they are invited to speak to adult civic and community groups. An informed public is the best defense of the rule of law and a fair and impartial judiciary. Benchmarks activities are grouped in three categories:
1. Constitution and the Bill of Rights
Presentations test basic knowledge about how government works; review the rights included in the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution; explore how a judge would weigh the constitutionality of a law being challenged; and delve into two case studies that illuminate the workings of the courts.
2. Courts and the Judicial Branch
Presentations include an examination of the role of juries and an exploration of the different levels and functions of state and federal courts.
3. Special Topics
Presentations include an examination of U.S. voting practices historically and currently, and a primer on the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission.
Attorneys can become Benchmarks speakers by attending a Benchmarks training, which are held locally by voluntary bar associations as well as at Florida Bar meetings. When training is completed, sign up with The Florida Bar Speakers Bureau. Presenters can earn one ethics credit hour for each presentation for up to three presentations in a three-year reporting period. Form to apply for credit.
Benchmarks speakers may request up to 50 copies of the Constitution Pamphlet, which also contains the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, for their presentation. Email requests or call 850-561-5834.
To request a speaker for your group, please fill out the online request form.