Law Day Job Shadowing is a cooperative project of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation and the Nebraska Supreme Court, conducted annually on or near Law Day, May 1. Piloted in Lincoln Public Schools in 2001, the program went statewide in 2002, with up to 12 communities participating.
Groups of fifth graders spend one hour with lawyers, judges, or other professionals such as police or sheriff officers, court clerks, or court reporters. They experience some of the day-to-day activity of these professionals and observe their relationship to both criminal and civil laws.
The fifth graders may go in small groups to various offices around their city, or they may go as a group to a courthouse. All groups of students are chaperoned by adults. Legal professionals may wish to carry out a mock trial demonstration or engage the students in some other type of experiential activity such as writing a simple contract or a will.
2011 Law Day Job Shadowing Teacher Material & Orientation
Thank you for your interest in Law Day Job Shadowing. You will find below resources to help you plan your job-shadowing event. There are orientation videos available for students and teachers, which may be downloaded. Additionally, supplemental information has been provided, which includes 1) courthouse technology, 2) courtroom procedures, 3) courthouse jobs, and 4) a vocabulary list.
Download Supplemental Information
The supplemental information found below is also available as a downloadable PDF pamphlet.
Here are some items you may want to look for or inquire about on your Job Shadowing adventure. Please be aware that not all courthouses have all technologies.
Court Reporter’s Transcription Machine
Monitors (for jurors)
Computers (for judges, bailiffs and prosecutors)
Radio communications (law enforcement)
Case Look-up (JUSTICE computer system)
PDAs/IPhones (for personal calendaring and organizing)
Following are the procedures followed to ensure fair trials in civil and criminal cases.
Bailiff calls Court to order
Judge announces the case
Judge addresses jurors (jury trial only)
Lawyers question jurors (voir dire – jury trials only) (Selection of jury panel)
Lawyers give opening statements
Lawyers call witnesses
- Direct Examination
- Cross Examination
Lawyers give closing arguments
Judge gives jurors instructions (jury trial only)
Jury deliberates (jury trial only)
Verdict is announced
Sentencing of defendant (criminal trial only)
Jobs at the Courthouse
These are some of the jobs you may observe on your visit to the courthouse.
Public Defender/Defense Lawyer
State Patrol Dispatcher/Communications
Appeal - a proceeding in which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court's judgment for the purpose of convincing the higher court that the lower court's judgment was incorrect Arraignment - initial appearance
Bench - the place where a judge sits in court or the body of persons who hold positions as judges Bar - the whole body of lawyers
Civil - relating to private rights and to judicial proceedings in connection with them Civil Case - a case which involves civil remedies, not criminal penalties Complaint - a document sworn to by a victim or police officer that sets forth a criminal violation County Court (Nebraska) - The jurisdiction of the county court is established by state law which provides for exclusive original jurisdiction in probate matters, actions based on a violation of a city or village ordinance, juvenile court matters without a separate juvenile court, adoptions, preliminary hearings in felony cases, and eminent domain proceedings. The county courts have concurrent jurisdiction in civil matters when the amount in controversy is $51,000 or less, criminal matters classified as misdemeanors or infractions, some domestic relations matters, and paternity actions. County judges also hear all small claims matters filed within the court system. County judges in all counties except Lancaster, Douglas and Sarpy have the same duties as judges of separate juvenile courts. Appeals from the county court are made to the district court, although in certain probate and juvenile cases, appeals are made directly to the Court of Appeals Criminal - relating to, involving, or being a crime or a person who has been convicted of a crime Criminal Case - a case which criminal penalties may be assigned to the party found guilty of the crime
Defendant - the party against whom a criminal or civil action is brought Discovery - the disclosure of information held by the opposing party in an action District Court (Nebraska) - District courts have original jurisdiction in all felony cases, equity cases, domestic relations cases, and civil cases where the amount in controversy involves more than $51,000. District courts also have appellate jurisdiction in certain matters arising out of county court. They also serve as appellate courts in administrative appeals, where they review the record of testimony and evidence from the lower court or tribunal and issue an opinion and ruling in the case. District court decisions may be appealed to the Nebraska Court of Appeals and/or to the Nebraska Supreme Court.
Evidence - something that furnishes or tends to furnish proof
Hearing - a court proceeding usually involving a judge listening to evidence or arguments
Judgment - a formal decision or determination on a matter or case by a court Jurisdiction - the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised Jury - body of individuals sworn to give a decision on some matter submitted to them Jury Box - the area in the courtroom where the jury sits
Motion - a proposal for action Oath - a promise (as to perform official duties faithfully) Objection - a statement of opposition to an aspect of a judicial or other legal proceeding
Petition/Petitioner - a formal written request made to an official person or body (as a court or board)/ a person who makes a petition Plaintiff - the party who institutes a legal action or claim Pleadings - a process or system through which the parties in a legal proceeding present their allegations Probate - the process of administering an estate
Respondent - one who answers or defends in various proceedings Rules of Evidence - body of rules establishing what testimony and other evidence is relevant, pertains to the issue to be decided, and should be allowed; also establishing what evidence is not relevant, may prejudices one side or the other, and should not be allowed. The Rules of Evidence make trials fair! Rules of Procedure - the way a trial is conduced...who goes first, what happens at each state of the proceeding or trial
Sentence - the punishment that one convicted of a crime is ordered to receive Small Claims Court - a special court intended to simplify the resolution of minor disputes involving small claims Subpoena - a demand for a designated person to appear in court under a penalty for failure to comply
Trial - a judicial examination of issues of fact or law disputed by parties for the purpose of determining the rights of the parties
Verdict - The decision of a jury or judge either for one party or the other in a civil trial; the decision of guilt or innocence in a criminal trial
Voir Dire - the process of questioning prospective jurors to determine which are qualified and suited for service on a jury Witness - one who is called on to be present at a transaction so as to be able to testify to its occurrence