by Lois Zerrer
for the Business Journal
Law Day 1998 is just around the corner. This year marks the 41st observation of Law Day throughout the United States, and the 34th anniversary celebration in Springfield.
American Bar Association President Jerome J. Shestack stated that this year's theme, "Celebrate Your Freedom," reminds us that there is indeed much to celebrate.
"Over the course of our nation's history, adherence to our constitutional rights and liberties has made our country the land where freedom rings. ... So let us celebrate our freedom and put our faith in law and all its qualities: fairness, equality, diversity, non-discrimination, openness, due process, accountability and compassion," he said.
The main event will be the luncheon to be held Friday, May 1. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has accepted an invitation to speak on this year's theme. An invitation has also been extended to Sen. Kit Bond. The luncheon is always attended by lawyers, judges, paralegals, legal secretaries and many invited guests from the community.
Each year, the bar association presents the Liberty Bell award. In years past the award has gone to persons such as teachers, youth workers, and law enforcement officials.
Another popular feature of our Law Day activities is the annual Fun Run. It will be held May 1 as well.
This year there will be prize categories for lawyers, judges and non-lawyers.
Proceeds from the Fun Run go toward the SMBA Scholarship Fund for deserving law students.
Many of SMBA's activities reach
out to the young people of the community. May 2 approximately 50 lawyers will serve as judges and jurors for the Mock Trial Tournament held at Ozark High School for area high school students.
For younger children, there is an art project with the Boys and Girls Club. The artwork is displayed at the luncheon and then is on display at the Busch Building in center city Springfield.
Arrangements are also being made for a significant number of lawyers to speak to classes during the week prior to Law Day. The school district is coordinating between speakers and teachers so that as many classes as possible can have speakers on the Law Day theme.
Literally hundreds of lawyers and affiliated members of the legal community participate in Law Day activities in Springfield each year. This is by far the most significant community-related activity for the bar association each year.
We hope that by reaching out to the community, as well as reminding our members of the importance of our legal heritage, we can promote the interests of justice and do our part to remind the community of the real purpose of our system of justice and its part in a free society.
(Lois Zerrer is executive director of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association.)
A significant number of lawyers will speak to students in area schools during the week prior to
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