Lorri Montgomery
Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts


National Center for State Courts and courts across the country recognize Law Day May 1

Williamsburg, VA (April 28, 2011) -- Law Day is May 1 and courts and schools across the country recognize it in various ways throughout the first week of May. Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower who believed in the importance of the rule of law and the significance it plays in our democratic society. "In a very real sense, the world no longer has a choice between force and law. If civilization is to survive it must choose the rule of law," President Eisenhower said.

This year's theme, created by the American Bar Association, focuses on another president: The Legacy of John Adams, from Boston to Guantanamo. This theme highlights John Adams' commitment to the rule of law for the significant role he played in the 1770 Boston Massacre trials. An attorney before he became president, Adams defended the rights of the accused even in the face of public criticism when he represented a British officer and soldiers charged with firing into a crowd of protestors, killing five civilians in the Boston Massacre.
For courts, schools, and the media, the National Center for State Courts offers various resources for use in honoring Law Day: a law-related education module on the NCSC website, and a series of graphic novels - Justice Case Files -- to engage and educate the public about how the courts work and the importance of our justice system.

 Following is a glimpse of Law Day activities taking place across the country:

California: The Administrative Office of the Courts is partnering with public libraries, local bar associations, and law libraries to celebrate Law Week and AmeriCorps Week, May 2 - 7, which recognizes the contribution of volunteers in communities. More than a million people a day visit California's public libraries and frequently turn to them for legal information. The combined Law Week and AmeriCorps Week events celebrate such efforts.

Florida, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C.:  Several schools in each of these states are using the Justice Case Files graphic novels to learn more about how courts work. 

  • Florida: Members of the Young Lawyers Division of the Hillsborough County, Florida Bar are going into high schools in their community to discuss Justice Case Files: The Case of Jury Duty.
  • South Carolina: Several schools across the state are using the Justice Case Files graphic novels, which were donated to the schools by two S.C. law firms - Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, and Gallivan White & Boyd - for the students to learn about how the courts work.
  • Washington, D.C.: Judges from the District of Columbia Court of Appeals are visiting middle school students at the Community Academy Public Charter Schools to discuss the lessons learned in the Justice Case Files series.

Massachusetts: John Adams Courthouse in Boston is offering several activities for students from the region, including a courthouse tour and state supreme judicial court justices and lawyers fielding questions from visitors.

Utah: The Utah state courts are offering a variety of opportunities for students and the public to learn about the rule of law. Judge for a Day is a program organized by the courts to provide high school students the chance to shadow a judge for one day in April or in May. The courts also are running a one-page newspaper ad highlighting the significance of Law Day and the state's chief justice has written an editorial for the Salt Lake Tribune's Sunday editorial page.


The NCSC Backgrounder is designed to provide the media with statistics and facts related to current issues of interest.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation's state courts.