Courthouse Experience

The Courthouse Experience Program provides students in grades 5-12 with an authentic opportunity to learn about the justice system by observing real cases and court procedures.

Each year, nearly 6,000 students watch the law come alive on these enriching and valuable visits to the Multnomah County Courthouse and the Justice Center, led by committed volunteers who range from law students to retirees, paralegals and lawyers.

See below for more information about:

School Field Trips

Groups visit three buildings during the tour.  It begins in the Gus Solomon Federal Courthouse, 620 SW Main Street in Portland for a brief orientation.  Next, students will walk three blocks to the Justice Center to observe arraignments and community court.  The last stop is the Multnomah County Courthouse where students will observe trials and other court procedures.

Tour Dates/Times

  • October through early June
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (some exceptions)
  • 9am – 12pm

2014-15 Court Tour information will be published in August – Check website again at that time to schedule a Courthouse Experience tour for your group!

“Thanks so much for once again giving our students a real taste of the criminal justice system. The students particularly enjoyed the opportunity to converse with judges, who were very generous with their time.  These sessions are always so eye-opening, and yesterday’s [tour] was especially well-organized. Thanks so much to [our guides] and all the folks at CLP who made our day so fruitful.” —Paul Hogan, Academic Vice Principal, Jesuit High School

Teacher Resource Materials

  • Court Tour Manual – Includes detailed information about: tour logistics; courthouse behavior; the justice system; the Gus Solomon Courthouse, Justice Center, and Multnomah County Courthouse; fun facts; court-related lesson plans; and more!
  • Chaperone Responsibilities
  • Security Procedure at Multnomah County Courthouse
  • Pre-Tour Videos – We strongly suggest viewing these videos with your students to provide a better understanding and more meaningful Courthouse Experience.




    Videos funded by the MBF Civic Education Fund and produced with MetroEast Community Media.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t find your question below, please contact CLP at office@classroomlaw.org or 503-224-4424.

How many students may I bring?
The maximum number of students per tour is 60. If your group is larger than this, you will need to divide them and request multiple tour dates. If your group is smaller, another school group may join you.

Are there tours in the afternoon?
Classroom Law Project only offers morning tours since this is the most active time for the Justice Center and Multnomah County Courthouse. However, afternoon tours (1-3 p.m.) may be scheduled on a case by case basis. If you believe an afternoon tour would better suit your needs, please contact us at office@classroomlaw.org or 503-224-4424.

How many chaperones do I need?
Based on an agreement between Classroom Law Project and the Court, groups are required to bring one responsible adult for every 8 students. Groups arriving with too few chaperones may not be allowed to proceed and may be placed on the waiting list.

What if I have to cancel my tour?
If you have to cancel, please provide as much notice as possible – four weeks notice is appreciated – so that classes on the waiting list will have a chance to fill the opening.

Will I be able to reschedule if I cancel?
Unfortunately we have a long waiting list every year. If you would like to change your tour date, we are happy to place your name on the waiting list.

Does Classroom Law Project run court tours in other counties?
At this time, CLP does not administer tours for other county courthouses. Other law-related options to search on your own include:

  • Hatfield Federal Courthouse Tour, 503-326-8092
  • Pioneer Courthouse Tour, 503-833-5305
  • Portland Police Museum Tour, 503-823-0019
  • Other Oregon Courthouses, www.courts.oregon.gov/OJD

Volunteering as a Court Tour Guide!

Want to hang out in the courthouse and observe judges and attorneys practice their craft? Can you spare one morning a month? Does telling students about what goes on in the Multnomah County Courthouse and Justice Center sound like fun?

Then, being a Classroom Law Project Court Tour Guide is perfect for you! Download the flyer. Please share it with others!

Court tours begin in early October. Nearly 5,000 students, grades 5-12, visit the courthouse annually. Guides are needed to show them around.

ORIENTATION for the 2014-15 Courthouse Experience program will be Friday, September 12 from noon to 1:30pm at the Gus J. Solomon Federal Courthouse cafeteria, 620 SW Main Street in Portland. Registration required (we are providing lunch). Click here to register.

All you need to be a guide is:

  • willingness to work with 30-60 students, chaperones, and teachers;
  • one morning (8:30-noon) a month;
  • basic knowledge of court system and interest in learning more;
  • comfort with public speaking;
  • ability to coordinate logistics with a teacher.

Classroom Law Project will provide training. Being an attorney is not required though obviously very helpful. Many court tour guides are former teachers or other civic-minded adults interested in sharing our judicial system with students.

If you are interested in being a Court Tour Guide or  have questions, please contact the Classroom Law Project staff: office@classroomlaw.org or (503) 224-4424.