Director's Note: Every Day is Law Day!




By Elizabeth Andersen 
Director, ABA Rule of Law Initiative

We at the American Bar Association (ABA) start off each May with “Law Day.” Established by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower on the suggestion of then-ABA President Charles S. Rhyne, Law Day is celebrated each May 1 as a day to reflect on the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. Each year, the ABA establishes a theme for the day and works with bar associations, law schools, and legal organizations across the country to carry out educational programs. The 2018 Law Day theme was “Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom,” highlighting the important role that legal concept plays in the U.S. constitutional structure. In a recent article on the history of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI), ABA ROLI Board Chair Judge Margaret McKeown traces the ABA’s international rule of law development work to the original law day, and indeed, public education about law and legal institutions remains a core part of our work. Programs such as ABA ROLI-sponsored “Court Open Days” in Marrakech or our “Road to Justice” presentations in Mexico City, provide citizens with information about their rights, their courts, and how to access them. In Turkey, ABA ROLI’s website and SMS-messaging platform provide Syrian refugees with information about their legal rights. And ABA ROLI community forums across Libya are informing citizens about their draft constitution. Without such public understanding, there can be no rule of law, so for us, every day is Law Day!

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