May 1, 2012 – Lawyers and judges throughout the state are celebrating Law Day today by meeting with members of the community to promote understanding of the important role courts play in our democracy.
The theme of Law Day 2012, selected by the American Bar Association, is No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom. The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Young Lawyers Division (YLD) has arranged visits between 26 volunteer lawyers and students from 17 schools as part of the celebration.
“Through our Young Lawyers Division, the State Bar is proud to help bring students and lawyers together to enrich the community’s understanding of our legal system,” said State Bar President Jim Brennan. “Wisconsin lawyers, no matter which side of a case they may represent, play a key role in ensuring our system of justice functions properly.”
“Throughout our country on this year’s Law Day, we recognize the integral role of our courts in America’s system of government,” says Kelli Sue Thompson, State Bar Bench Bar Committee chair. “A properly funded and effective court system allows all individuals and organizations a forum to exercise and vindicate their legal rights, and it speaks directly to the American ideals of fairness, justice, and equal protections.
“The members of the Bench Bar Committee appreciate the integral role of our judges and courts in our justice system,” says Thompson. “Wisconsin has a strong court system that includes a long history of supporting access to this system by all, including those too poor to afford counsel. Wisconsin is also at the forefront of making strides in ensuring equal access by all in noncriminal issues that come before the courts.”
Law Day Events
Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson is kicking off Law Day activities with opening remarks at the Dane County Courthouse, where the Dane County Bar Association and the Dane County Circuit Court are hosting an open house that features short informative programs presented by judges and lawyers. Organizers said that volunteer lawyers are also on hand to provide free legal consultations at the courthouse.
“Law Day is an opportunity for everyone involved in the legal community to reach out and promote understanding of the courts and the law and to listen to people’s concerns,” said Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson.
In Columbia County, high school students will join Judge Alan J. White, District Attorney Jane Kohlwey, defense counsel Mark Lawton and other local attorneys for a mock trial and panel discussion at the courthouse.
The Milwaukee County Bar is sponsoring a Law Day Boy Scout event, phone bank, web chat and walk-in legal clinics on May 2.
On May 2, Abrahamson will join Deputy Chief Judge Maxine A. White, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Milwaukee Municipal Court Judge Derek Mosley and attorneys Mark Goldstein and Rob Ricigliano to meet with fifth and sixth graders at Maple Dale School in Fox Point. The Milwaukee Bar Association is also hosting Law Day activities, including free legal clinics.
On May 4, the Optimist Club of Merrill will hold a law fair featuring booths, displays, and presentations by Abrahamson and others legal professionals. About 900 students are expected to attend.
Find more information about activities being hosted throughout Wisconsin and the nation here.
It’s not too early to start planning for Law Day 2013. Wisconsin attorneys interested in volunteering to carry the Law Day message to K-12 students can e-mail the YLD at LawDayWI@gmail.com.
Law Day was formally established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958.