Alameda County Superior Court
For Law Day 2021, Alameda County Superior Court mixed old traditions with new innovations. As every year, the Court observed Law Day with the county Board of Supervisors, issuing a joint proclamation declaring May 2021 to be Law Month. This presentation featured remarks from court and local education leadership, and student speakers. Afterwards, the Court and the Office of Education convened a virtual Law Day Reception attended by judges, educators, and students. A keynote address on the importance of the Rule of Law to American democracy was delivered by former California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin.
New in 2021 was the launch of a series of virtual civic learning presentations delivered to schools by elected officials, judicial officers, lawyers, and other civics experts. These “virtual fieldtrips” allowed students to meet government officers and explore a variety of topics including the three branches of government, voting rights, and social justice.
The Court used its Twitter account @AlamedaSuperior, a press release, a flyer, information sheet, a digital sign-up form, and email blasts to raise awareness about Law Day and Law Month. These efforts reached over 400 students across 9 school districts. Law Month provides momentum for the Alameda County Civic Learning Partnership, a collaboration of government, community, and education that foster continued civic learning and civic engagement opportunities for Alameda County youth. These programs were developed by the Court’s Judicial Outreach and Elimination of Bias Committee.
Arkansas Bar Association
Our Legal Related Education Committee began a contest 3 years ago, titled "Spend a Day with a Judge." This contest is both an essay competition and (typically) a courtroom artist competition. Our essay entrants write about the Law Day Theme for the year, while our courtroom artists draw live at the regional or state Mock Trial competition. In 2021, the Mock Trial competition was virtual, so there were essay entries only. The contest is available to all Arkansas high school students. The students wrote an essay regarding the Law Day theme, "Advancing the Rule of Law, Now." The essays were blind-judged, and the winners got to "Spend a Day with a Judge" on Law Day, near May 1st. The 2021 winners had a virtual talk with Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Kemp, since the courts were still not open for visitors at that time due to the pandemic. The contest is open to all high school students, and it gives both artists and writers a chance to compete, learn about the law, and meet and great local judges.
Birmingham Bar Association
A one-hour virtual CLE program featured legendary Attorney Fred Gray of Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray & Nathanson, P.C. in an interview with Past Birmingham Bar Association President William N. (Bill) Clark of Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt. Attendees heard the inspiring and motivating story of Attorney Fred Gray, the legendary civil rights attorney who represented heroes such as Claudette Colvin, Rosa Parks, Vivian Malone and James Hood. Attorney Gray's legal career spanned over 65 years. Enthusiastic, energetic and out of law school less than a year, he began a dynamic civil rights career in 1954. His first civil rights case was representation of Claudette Colvin, a 15-year old African American high school student who refused to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1955. In December 1955 he represented Mrs. Rosa Parks who was arrested because she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, igniting the Montgomery Bus Boycott, City of Montgomery v. Rosa Parks. He was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s first civil rights attorney. Other legal victories that Attorney Gray secured throughout his renowned career include Dixon v. Alabama (establishing due process rights for students at public universities); Gomillion v. Lightfoot (overturning the redistricting of Tuskegee that excluded most of the majority-black residents); Williams v. Wallace (protecting the Selma to Montgomery marchers); and cases fighting to allow the NAACP to operate in Alabama.
Delaware County Bar Association
The Delaware County Bar Association’s (DCBA) 2021 Law Day Program offered a meaningful and topical opportunity for students in a challenged school district to participate in programming based on the ABA Law Day theme “Advancing the Rule of Law, Now.” The hallmark of the Chester Law Day Program for years has been a presentation by local school students followed by their opportunity to ring Delaware County’s own “Liberty Bell.” This year, to accommodate the pandemic, the program was presented virtually with an eye toward incorporating as many of the traditional live elements as possible. Local sixth grade student presenters were trained by Widener law student “Fellows” to argue a Moot Court case; the argument invoked issues of school speech and its limits. The training involved not only the student presenters but their entire classroom. The DCBA was fortunate to also have Mary Beth Tinker, the plaintiff in the landmark SCOTUS case originally setting the parameters of school limits on student speech, as a program participant.
Judiciary of Guam, District Court of Guam, and Guam Bar Association
Nearly a year after the worldwide coronavirus pandemic which dramatically changed all aspects of life as we know it, and despite the challenges we all faced, the Guam Law Week committee, made up of representatives from the Judiciary of Guam, the District Court of Guam, and the Guam Bar Association, planned numerous events to promote and educate the public about the 2021 Law Day theme, “Advancing the Rule of Law Now,” which reminds all of us that we the people share the responsibility to promote the rule of law, defend liberty, and pursue justice. The Law Day theme was celebrated with planned activities which spanned nearly a month long. Guam’s Governor declared Law Month and Law Day. The 2021 program included the traditional art, coloring and essay contests, and the first “Race Judicata” Virtual 5K Run/Walk/Roll. A virtual proclamation and resolution ceremony kicked off the celebration and the committee used various platforms to educate the community about the Law Day theme and the important role they play in our society. From virtual mock trials, and appellate arguments, held by Zoom to in-person physical fitness activities involving our at-risk youth and Special Olympians. Our most popular Law Week event –fairy tale mock trial plays – was held virtually with an elementary and a middle school. The students’ performances were livestreamed on the Judiciary’s YouTube channel. Other events held included: Secure the Blessings of Liberty by Planting, the Annual State of the Judiciary Address, a Naturalization Ceremony at the District Court of Guam, and Awards Ceremony.
The Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute
In honor of the 2021 theme, “Advancing the Rule of Law Now,” the Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute organized a 30-minute virtual panel discussion for high school students explaining the importance of due process. The discussion among experts in law and education presented a clear explanation of the Constitutional right of due process as a critical component of the rule of law in our society. We held a “premiere” on Facebook and YouTube and sent email blasts linking to the video and its discussion guide. This made it available the entire week leading up to Law Day on so that teachers could preview it and develop lessons around it. The entire event was intentionally planned to be short enough that students could watch it during one 50-minute class period if needed. To date, across all media platforms collectively, the video has been seen more than 500 times. Teachers have reported that they had students watch it in class, while others assigned it as homework. The video and discussion questions remain on FMJI’s website to serve as a resource for future teachers.
Monmouth County Bar Association, New Jersey Courts, & IOLTA Monmouth Vicinage
There was a slate of virtual programs in 2021 designed to commemorate Law Day and discuss the theme of “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” They included:
March 2021-April 2021—Art, Essay and Poetry Contest
March 25, 2021—Applying the Equal Protection Clause to Advance the Rights of Women—Discussion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s teaching at Rutgers School of Law Newark, her Equal Protection strategies and jurisprudence by Justice Mary Catherine Cuff (Ret. App. Div.) and Justice Virginia Long (Ret. Supreme Court Justice) and Penny Venetis, Esq. Rutgers School of Law – Newark.
May 5, 2021—Law Day Ceremony, Awards and Kick-off of Law Day Theme.
Keynote Address: Jessica Lewis Kelly, Esq., Special Assistant to the Director of the New Jersey Courts: “Trailblazing with Technology: Maintaining Transparency and Citizen Involvement in Jury Trials During a Pandemic”
May 13, 2021—"Virtual Juries: Inspiring Citizens’ Participation in Jury Service in a Pandemic:” Owen McCarthy J.S.C.; Jonathan Lomurro, Esq. and Charles Crocco, Esq. (Bar Assoc.) Rachel Walton, Monmouth Vicinage, Civil Division Manager. Those involved in executing the first virtual jury trial in the Superior Court of New Jersey discussed how the public remained involved in shaping the rule of law during shutdown.
May 24, 2021—"Monmouth Law Day: Qualified Immunity and the Application of Pierson v. Ray” Discussed the doctrine of qualified immunity and its origins, and the current test applied. Sarah Ricks, Esq., Rutgers School of Law -Camden.
June 14, 2021—"A Citizen’s Role in Abiding By and Shaping the Rule of Law.” Naturalization Ceremony in-person and via livestream. Address by Paul Escandon, J.S.C. on the Oath, Rule of Law and his family’s immigration story.
September 1-30, 2021—Art Exhibit At Monmouth County Library Headquarters for Public – All contest entries from March.
September 17, 2021—"Access to Education and the Citizenship Clause: Plyler v. Doe:” Jessica Levin Esq., Education Law Center
November 20, 2021—"A Profile in Trans-Advocacy: Pauli Murray’s Efforts to End ‘Jane Crow’ and Reform of States Laws on Race and Color”
Palm Beach County Bar Association
West Palm Beach, FL
The Palm Beach County Bar Association's Law Week Committee presented two webinars for school aged children: "Cyberbullying and The Law" and "Careers in the Law." The webinar on Cyberbullying focused on the boundaries of Cyberbullying; Legal, School, and Lifelong Consequences; and Resources. "Careers in the Law" included four speakers who talked about their day-to-day work as a local judge; a paralegal; a professor and an attorney. Several hundred students and their teachers participated in the virtual program.
Passaic County Bar Association & Passaic County Judiciary
The 2021 program was completely virtual. The Law Day Committee compiled clips from judges and committee members speaking on the theme. Our featured speaker this year was former Secretary of Homeland Security, the Hon. Jeh Johnson, who served in that position under the Obama Administration. Secretary Johnson spoke engagingly to the students about his own experiences growing up and the path he took to reach high office. He also emphasized his own role as a member of the President’s cabinet in ensuring that the rule of law would prevail in perilous times, including the challenges posed by terrorism and the concomitant need to maintain due process and protect the rights of the accused. Finally, the virtual program announced the middle school and high school contest winners in categories for artwork, poetry, song and video (non-music). The link to the video and contest winners can be found at Passaic Vicinage (njcourts.gov). Once you arrive at the Passaic County Judiciary’s webpage, you simply scroll all the way to the bottom of the page where you will see the link to Passaic Law Day 2021 program.
Pennsylvania Bar Association
The PBA encouraged all members to celebrate Law Day by taking a break, going outside, getting some chalk, gathering your kids or a few kids from the neighborhood and drawing a Law Day celebration message. (CDC guidelines for masking and social distancing were followed.) Adults and children of any age could participate. We offered these tips to members:
The chalk art project can be as simple as drawing the letters for “LAW DAY 2021” or “RULE of LAW.” Will it be written in cursive or with block letters that are filled in with stripes or polka dots? What colors will you use? Are you adding flowers, butterflies or more law-related symbols like a flag, stars, an eagle, a gavel, a judge on the bench, the scales of justice? This is a great opportunity to engage safely with young people and talk about the importance of laws in our society and the rule of law. These are meant to be conversations — not formal lessons — but they do provide a great opportunity to engage kids and make them think about their community and the real-life, day-to-day ways that the rule of law shows up, helping them understand what the rule of law means in a concrete way in their everyday life. Here are some more ideas to get you started…
You can remind youth about current rules for social distancing and safety. • You can talk about rules on where you could draw, do you need to ask permission, what is trespassing, we cannot deface other people‘s property, what kind of speech or message would be appropriate to write in a place that is visible to others in the public; there are lots of opportunities for informal conversations about the law and rule of law. What other examples can the youth think of where there are rules? • You can talk about the purpose of rules and laws. • What are the consequences of breaking the rule or law?
Participants were encouraged to share photos, tag the PBA, and enter the contest, using the hashtag #PBAlawday2021. People loved this activity. We selected entries from parents who did this with their children, teachers who did this with entire classrooms, and groups of attorneys who engaged their neighbors. We ended up selecting 6 winners and three honorable mentions because the stories and photos and enthusiasm were just so inspiring. We also opened up a separate staff-only contest to encourage staff to get involved in the conversation and fun.
White Plains Youth Bureau
White Plains, NY
Our 2021 Law Day featured interactive workshops in different virtual breakout rooms (1-Exploring the Rule of Law, Career Panel with City Councilwoman, County Attorney, an ADA, An Author/ Life Coach, 2-Crime Scene Simulation, 3-Mock Trial, 4-Learning about the 14th Amendment and a 5-Advocacy Discussion on Repealing the Pink Tax). The virtual program was opened to middle/ high school students. The keynote speaker was Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah, who gave an amazing speech focusing on how we can advance the rule of law today by getting involved and making a difference. We also did a tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Our activities made an impact on our target audience that many youths from the event have since joined Youth Court, which is a juvenile diversion program, and they want to be a change in their community and have become very passionate about social justice issues. A US Congressman also reached out to our youths to create a Youth Advisory Council to engage youths in a leadership role and become familiar with the bill making process. Our Law Day 2021 event had a huge impact on the community and the youths in the community. Ten of our youths interned at several law firms and with several Judges over the summer to gain experience into the law field. Our youths are making a difference.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, Harrison County Bar Association, Monongalia County Bar Association, & Cabell County Bar Association
The West Virginia State Bar Women in the Profession Committee’s inaugural Law Day Contest provided opportunities for K-12 students to submit posters, essays, songs, poems, and/or social media posts on one of two themes: “Advancing the Rule of Law Now” or “Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100.” The Committee created a social media hashtag for the legal professionals, students, and educators to use during the Contest-- #wvlawday2021. Our outreach included working with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, the West Virginia Department of Education, county boards of education, and administrators and educators in public and private schools throughout the State. We also invited participation from alternative schools and homeschool students. We received entries from 128 students, grades four through twelve, representing every region of West Virginia. Some of the students’ entries were truly outstanding, providing thoughtful and eye-catching work about increasing government oversight of police departments based on historical and recent events, the importance of participating in local government, and the legacy of the women’s suffrage movement.
All participating students were invited to a virtual presentation by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, followed by a virtual tour of the Supreme Court of Appeals' chamber. Our panel included a WV Supreme Court Justice, a WV Circuit Court Judge, a WV Family Court Judge, a WV Magistrate, a court reporter, a judicial law clerk, a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney, a children's attorney, a court administrator, a judicial assistant, and a probation officer. The event was recorded and posted to YouTube and disseminated to teachers and members of the WV legal community for educational use.
The contest winners for each grade range (elementary school, middle school, and high school), and the best-in-show winners were also announced during the virtual meeting. In a separate event, the middle school and high school winners were invited to a virtual tour of the West Virginia University College of Law and a panel with current students. In addition to these events, our winners were given cash prizes, and all participating students were provided with material on careers in law, buttons and/or stickers on women’s suffrage, written feedback on their submission, and a certificate of participation.