Law Day: A Call for Lawyers to Educate Everyone!
May Day, Communism Day, Law Day!
Law Day, you say? We do. President Ike Eisenhower, in 1958, declared May 1 to be Law Day, U.S.A. (Codified on April 7, 1961.)
Does this mean you can go home early? Well, it's your office, your firm, your rules, but according to the infallible Wikipedia, Law Day has come to be more of an opportunity to educate the masses on legal concepts, particularly for students. Instead of (or at least before) happy hours and beach trips, Law Day should be spent discussing law, liberties, and justice.
Why You Should Observe This Holiday
Why? We've got a few reasons. First, and most importantly, people don't know what the First Amendment is. Seriously, it's sad.
Take, for example, the Donald Sterling fiasco. He gets suspended by the NBA and Twitter explodes in Freedom of Speech rage. And don't even get us started on criminal rights, like the right to remain silent or the right to an attorney. Kids hear the phrases on Law & Order, but do they really understand Miranda basics, custodial interrogation versus informal questioning, etc.? Not. Even. Close.
And besides, community talks are great for marketing. Give a talk on Estate Planning to a retirement community, get a few walk-in clients or referrals. Give talks to college students on criminal rights, and you'll be on speed dial when they get DUIs.
ABA's Theme -- American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters
This year, at least according to the ABA, is all about the right to vote.
"The American Bar Association has identified a host of problems across the country that undermine the sacred right to vote -- the most American right," ABA President James R. Silkenat said. "This year, 50 years after passage of both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, we can recommit ourselves to democracy by exercising our franchise and by removing barriers that prevent our neighbors from legally casting their votes."
How? For one, the ABA has provided PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and lesson plans for educating students on this fundamental right, as well as coloring book pages for younger audiences.
The ABA has also taken this opportunity to highlight a recently released report, prepared by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which highlights the practical obstacles to exercising the right to vote. (Think: the obscenely long lines in some parts of the country during the 2012 Presidential election.) The report calls for modernizing voting technology, increasing the accessibility to, operating hours, and number of polling places.
"The Commission has concluded that, as a general rule, no voter should have to wait more than half an hour in order to have an opportunity to vote," the report said.
Are you planning on observing Law Day? Share your plans with us on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.
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