What Is Law Day?

Written by Charlie Braithwaite7 minutes well spent
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Illustration featuring books, a gavel and a calendar showing May 1st

Picture this: A day dedicated to honoring the law’s crucial role in our society and the professionals who tirelessly work to uphold it. Law Day, observed every year on May 1st, is just that day.

Of course, you might be wondering, “What is Law Day?” If so, you’ve come to the right place.

This article explores the importance and origins of Law Day. We unpack its history, dig into the 2023 theme, “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration”, and suggest ways you and your firm can get involved in Law Day 2023.

The origins of Law Day

May 1st has historically been May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. However, during the peak of the Cold War, the US was keen to differentiate itself from the USSR, where May Day/International Workers’ Day was a massive celebration.

So, the US created its own alternative celebration.

In 1957, the American Bar Association (ABA) suggested introducing Law Day to overshadow May Day. A year later, in 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day to celebrate the US’s commitment to the rule of law. Congress caught on, and by 1961, they officially designated May 1st as Law Day, securing its place in our calendars.

Fast forward to today, and Law Day has evolved into an annual event where legal professionals, educators, and community leaders unite. Its goal is simple: To promote public understanding of the law and its central role in our society.

Every year, Law Day celebrates the importance of the rule of law and the American legal system as a whole. It’s also a fantastic chance to celebrate the dedicated individuals (like yourself) who work tirelessly to maintain it.

5 ways to get involved in Law Day 2023

Whether you’re joining the ABA or going solo, here are five ways to celebrate Law Day:

Explore the theme: Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration

Law Day 2023 centers around the theme “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration.” But what exactly do these cornerstones mean?

The first component, civics, focuses on the principles shaping our democratic system. Civics centers around understanding how the government functions and the role each citizen plays in upholding a democratic society.

The second element, civility, underscores the need for respectful and courteous public discourse. This is essential for fostering healthy debate and bridging gaps between differing opinions.

Collaboration, the final aspect of the theme, emphasizes the importance of working together across different sectors. It highlights that legal professionals, government officials, and citizens can unite to address shared challenges and achieve common goals. Consider The Civil Rights Act, or The Respect for Marriage Act, for example.

These three cornerstones are fundamental pillars of democracy. By promoting each of them, Law Day 2023 hopes to encourage individuals to identify ways they can promote these values within their communities and practices.

Legal professionals should use this opportunity to reflect on their own understanding and engagement with civics, civility, and collaboration. They can also discuss with colleagues and peers the practical steps they can take to promote these values in their professional lives. This may involve participating in pro bono work, engaging in community events, or joining forces with other legal professionals to address societal challenges.

Lawyer thinking about AI

Write or speak about the theme for Law Day 2023

What better way to engage with the theme than by sharing your thoughts? Fortunately, in today’s hyper-connected world, publicizing your opinions is easier than ever.

Writing or speaking about “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration” will help further your personal knowledge and educate others. Consider penning a blog post for your law firm’s website, contributing an article to a legal publication, or giving a talk in your community.

You could even start a Twitter thread or post on LinkedIn. Don’t think you have to publish an article in a newspaper or journal to contribute to the discussion, or to be heard.

If you’re unsure where to start and need help jump-starting your thought process, check out the Law Day Conversation Guide. These themes might appear high-brow or confusing—especially to non-legal folk. However, when writing about them, work back from first principles and show how they underpin daily life.

Remember: Civics, civility, and collaboration affect us all. While the specific terms might not resonate with everyone, their underlying meaning certainly will. Sharing your insights will inspire others. You’ll help them appreciate the importance of civics, civility, and collaboration.

What’s more, you’ll contribute to meaningful conversations that strengthen our democratic foundation, both within the legal community and beyond.

Become a Law Day partner

Ready to take your commitment to the next level? If so, partner with the ABA for Law Day. Connect with like-minded professionals, join forces, and celebrate law’s vital role in our society.

The ABA offers resources and support to ensure your Law Day event will be a resounding success. Plus, you’ll also boost your reputation by demonstrating that you’re a committed ABA partner.

By partnering with the ABA, you’ll contribute to a nationwide effort that strengthens our collective understanding of the law. Embrace this opportunity. Show that despite our differences, we’re all ultimately driven by the same goal: upholding the rule of law.

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Attend a local Law Day event

Attending a local Law Day event is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the spirit of the occasion. By participating in these gatherings, you’ll gain valuable insights into the law and its role in our society. Connect with fellow legal professionals and deepen your understanding of the theme.

Start by reaching out to your local bar association. They often have information about Law Day events in your area. Alternatively, ask colleagues or other contacts in the legal field if they know of any upcoming celebrations. You’ll likely also find out about events through social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or online forums.

Law Day events offer a unique platform for exchanging ideas and discussing pertinent legal issues. Don’t miss this chance to network and build relationships with like-minded individuals. The connections you make by attending Law Day events can lead to long-lasting collaborations, career growth, and will create a more robust legal community.

If you’re slightly uncomfortable with networking, don’t worry—you’re not alone.

Check out our blog for tips and tricks on how to make the most out of attorney networking opportunities. Understand the key do’s and don’ts of navigating the networking landscape to ensure you leave a lasting impression.

Local Law Day events offer a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the law and connect with fellow professionals. Engage in meaningful discussions, learn from others, and contribute to a more vibrant legal community. Find an event near you and make the most out of Law Day 2023.

Lawyers attending Law Day event

Apply for a Law Day Award

Celebrate your commitment to upholding the law by applying for a Law Day award. These accolades recognize outstanding efforts of individuals, organizations, and legal professionals who promote Law Day’s values.

But the benefits of awards extend beyond recognition alone. They can enhance your professional reputation, foster a sense of accomplishment, and inspire others in the legal community to strive for excellence.

Submit a nomination for a Law Day Award here. Note: You can only do this after the fact. Applications run from May 1st to June 30th.

Of course, Law Day Awards are far from the only legal awards that you could apply for. Consider Clio’s prestigious Reisman Awards. These awards celebrate innovation, excellence, and dedication in the legal profession. They showcase the achievements of forward-thinking lawyers, law firms, and legal organizations that continually push the boundaries of their field.

Applying for a legal award is a fantastic opportunity to highlight your dedication to the legal community and its ideals. Be proud of your achievements, and don’t be afraid to shout about them from the rooftops. Showcase your accomplishments. Elevate your professional standing and inspire others to pursue excellence.

Law Day 2023: Let’s celebrate together!

As we come together to celebrate Law Day, let’s remember our commitment to the principles that make our society strong, just, and equitable.

There are countless ways to get involved and make a difference:

  • Explore this year’s theme personally and with your firm
  • Write or speak about it
  • Become a Law Day Partner
  • Attend a local event
  • Apply for a Law Day Award

Embrace the spirit of Law Day. Let it inspire you to deepen your understanding of the law.

But Law Day is just one day out of the year. Make a habit of continually staying up to date with the legal industry’s latest trends and changes. For example, by reading Clio’s 2022 Legal Trends Report, which offers data-driven insights and analysis to help lawyers navigate the ever-evolving legal landscape.

Last but not least, no matter how you celebrate, make sure you enjoy yourself on Law Day!

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