ABA Law Day Explores Law in the 21st Century — Its Changes and Challenges
With the May 1 approach of Law Day 2010—a day that marks the nation’s commitment to the rule of law—the American Bar Association once again will present a variety of educational programs as well as resources for bar associations, civic organizations, schools and other educators to conduct their own Law Day events.
This year’s Law Day theme – “Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges” – sets its focus on the dramatic changes in the law as it seeks to shape and adapt to new conditions presented at the beginning of this second decade of the century.
“The legal profession is at a transformative stage in its history. We live and work in an increasingly borderless world,” said ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm. “Law Day is a wonderful opportunity to interact with the public, including students – who may one day decide to pursue a career in the law – and ask them questions about the impact of globalization and technology on their lives and the law including ethics, their understanding of Constitutional democracy and their ideas about how our laws address the needs of the people living in the United States.”
To provide diverse perspectives on this Law Day’s theme, the ABA asked leaders in the law to offer their reflections on the following question:
What do you personally think is the most significant or interesting challenge that confronts law in the 21st century? In meeting this challenge, what legal tradition should we strive to maintain?
Among ABA Law Day celebratory events are three “Dialogue on Law in the 21st Century” programs to be held in Washington, D.C., April 27, 28 and 29 at the U.S. Department of Interior, Duke Ellington School for the Arts, and the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy respectively. Dialogue programs afford lawyers, judges and teachers an opportunity to engage students and community members in discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions.
The “Dialogue on Law in the 21st Century” is the eighth annual edition of the ABA Dialogue Program. The Dialogue Resource Guide offers step-by-step directions and discussion questions to enable educators to lead a discussion on this year’s theme. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy introduced the first Dialogue program, the Dialogue on Freedom, at the 2002 ABA Midyear Meeting in Philadelphia. Subsequent Dialogues have addressed Brown v. Board of Education, the American jury, separation of powers, youth and justice, the rule of law, and Lincoln and the law.
Other ABA programs in Washington, D.C., include an April 26 National Press Club luncheon seminar for high school teachers participating in programs by the Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit organization that educates and inspires young people to become informed and engaged citizens. Featured speaker at the luncheon is Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at The George Washington University and the legal affairs editor of The New Republic.
Also in Washington, D.C., on April 27 the ABA Division for Public Education will conduct the 10th Annual Leon Jaworski Public Program on this year’s Law Day theme at, and in cooperation with, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and its U.S. Studies Program. Featured panelists include Anita L. Allen, deputy dean and Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Jamie Gorelick, former deputy attorney general of the United States; Paul Schiff Berman, dean, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University; and Beth Simone Noveck, U.S. deputy chief technology officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative. John Milewski, host of the Wilson Center television program “dialogue,” will moderate the discussion.
Lamm is scheduled to participate in the events on April 26 – 28.
Since 2001, the ABA Division for Public Education has conducted the Leon Jaworski public program series that examine themes of law, politics, and culture and have operated on the premise that exploring fundamental legal identities and attributes help us better understand who we are as Americans. Click here for more about these public programs.
The Division for Public Education also maintains the Law Day Web site, www.lawday.org, that offers a wide range of Law Day program planning materials for schools, court houses, civic groups, lawyers and others.
Envisioned in 1957 by then ABA President Charles S. Rhyne as a special national day of recognition, the first Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower the following year. Congress issued a joint resolution in 1961 designating May 1 as the official day for celebration.
While Law Day is officially recognized on May 1, many civic groups and bar associations celebrate with month-long programs, presentations and events.