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April 22, 2024

ABA 66th annual Law Day events to focus on democracy

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2024 — The American Bar Association will host various events through early May to mark Law Day 2024 that address the theme, “Voices of Democracy.”  May 1 is designated as the official Law Day.

“Law Day is a special day of celebration by the people of the United States in appreciation of our liberties as well as a day that seeks to cultivate respect for the rule of law that is so vital to our democratic way of life,” ABA President Mary Smith noted.  “On this particular Law Day, however, we find our system of laws as well as our very democracy under great strain. It is incredibly important, therefore, that all lawyers, and indeed all Americans, use their voices on this May 1st to stand up for the rule of law and for our cherished American democracy and to work to ensure that they continue to endure,” Smith noted.

The programs include:

Monday, April 22
Law Day 2024 Conversation with ABA President Mary Smith and Law Librarian of Congress Aslihan Bulut is available at the Law Library of Congress blog.

Tuesday, April 23
The American Bar Association will present results from the sixth ABA Survey of Civic Literacy during a live online event. The survey measures the American public’s civics knowledge as well as their views on a range of topical issues.

This year’s results include whether people believe democracy in the U.S. is stronger or weaker than it was five years ago; whether they have concerns about the integrity of the November general election; and who they believe is responsible for safeguarding American democracy.

ABA President Mary Smith will deliver opening remarks, and Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour and host of “Judy Woodruff Presents: America at a Crossroads,” will moderate a panel discussion focusing on survey results about democracy in the U.S. Panelists are Danielle Allen, professor of political philosophy, public policy and ethics at Harvard University and author of “Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus”; Amanda Carpenter, writer and editor at Protect Democracy and former communications director for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; and retired Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and co-chair of the ABA Task Force for American Democracy. The public can register here.

Thursday, April 25, 3 p.m. EDT                                                                                                                ABA President Mary Smith will give opening remarks for a webinar hosted by the Law Library of Congress and the American Bar Association, “Voices of Democracy: Law Day 2024.” The panel will highlight varying voices of democracy and discuss democratizing measures from around the world. Panelists include Elizabeth Andersen, executive director, World Justice Project; Valerie Hans, professor of law, Cornell Law School; Elin Hofverberg, Law Library of Congress foreign law specialist; Eduardo Soares, Law Library of Congress foreign law specialist; David Sip, team leader, SCD Strengthening Municipal Resilience Against Corruption, North Macedonia with the National Democratic Institute. Law Librarian of Congress Aslihan Bulut will give closing remarks. Register here.

Wednesday, May 1, 1:30 - 5:30 p.m. EDT
Join the American Democracy Listening Tour live or livestreamed from the National Constitution Center. The livestream will be on the ABA Task Force for American Democracy website.

Philadelphia is the third stop on the cross-country listening tour that addresses issues such as trust in elections and improving civic dialog.

Mike McDonald, president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and Jen Coatsworth,
Philadelphia Bar chancellor, will give welcome remarks. Matt Archer-Beck, ABA Law Day chair, will share the importance of Law Day and ABA President Mary Smith will introduce the ABA Task Force for American Democracy. Mark Alexander, dean of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, will moderate a conversation on civility and the state of democracy with task force co-chairs, retired Judge J. Michael Luttig and Jeh Charles Johnson, former secretary of Homeland Security. There will be a presentation by Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt and other panel discussions.

Wednesday, May 1 at various times/nonpublic events
Law Day events will take place around the country at various times.

“We are really excited about Law Day this year and its theme, ‘Voices of Democracy’,” Archer-Beck said. “It is always wonderful to see how people incorporate the theme in their own Law Day commemorations around the country.  This year’s theme emphasizes the stake that everyone has in our democracy and the importance of both making our voices heard — through voting and civic engagement — and listening to others’ voices in our communities.  We are particularly excited to highlight the work of the ABA’s Task Force on American Democracy at a combined listening tour and Law Day program at the National Constitution Center on May 1.”

All events are free and open to members of the media and the public, but registration is required. For media credentialing, contact Betsy Adeboyejo at (202) 662-1039 or [email protected].

The ABA provides resources for schools, state and local bar associations, civic organizations and others who are planning programs and activities for public audiences to discuss the theme either live or virtually. To view various resources and upcoming programs, go to ABA’s Law Day website.

To view Smith’s Law Day video message, click here.

To view the Law Day launch program, click here.

Law Day resources can be viewed online.

About Law Day

Envisioned in 1957 by then-ABA President Charles S. Rhyne as a national day to recognize the country’s commitment to the rule of law, Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower the following year. Congress issued a joint resolution in 1961 designating May 1 as the official Law Day. Many civic groups and bar associations celebrate with programs, presentations and events.

Law Day is sponsored by the ABA Division for Public Education, whose mission is to promote public understanding of law and its role in society.


The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on X (formerly Twitter) @ABANews.