Mini Law School brings law to the people

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COLUMBIA – Throughout the month of October, the University of Missouri’s Law School has been hosting law classes for the public.

It is just one of the four locations state-wide that the Missouri Bar chooses to host their Mini Law School for the Public. The other locations include St. Louis, Cape Girardeau and Springfield.

Associate Dean for Faculty Research, Paul Litton says the Mid-Missouri location switches off every other year between Columbia and Jefferson City. 

For the past two weeks, Hulston Hall opens its doors to the public for two hours in the evening.

“We try to find topics that are timely in the news and topics that will be very useful to people in their daily lives,” Litton said. “These are really interesting topics that will be explained a lot more clearly in this venue compared to just reading an article about it,” Litton said.

The first session covered wrongful convictions; how they are caused and how they are dealt with Missouri as well as an individual’s Miranda rights.

The second session covered juvenile guardianship, grandparent’s rights and family law issues. 

This week will focus on treatment courts.

“Treatment courts basically provide alternatives to prison and jail for people who have been involved in criminal conduct but whose charges are drug or alcohol related,” Litton said. 

Litton will be speaking on constitutional rights to privacy and other unenumerated rights.

“That means the rights that the Supreme Court has found within the Constitution even though they aren’t explicitly mentioned,” Litton said. “Like the right to marry, the right to use contraception or the right to terminate a pregnancy.” 

Registration is required but anyone is welcome to join. To see how to register or learn more about the schedule click here.

Litton said the lectures are specifically geared toward people with no prior knowledge about law.

“There’s no assumption of knowledge in any of the talks, basically they are all geared toward folks who have no legal knowledge,” Litton said. “That’s in a sense the whole purpose, to help out the public who don’t have any training whatsoever in law.”