MEDIA CONTACT:  Diane Curtis   415-538-2283

San Francisco, April 30, 2010 — Fifty-two years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared May 1 Law Day, stating that “a day of national dedication to the principle of government under law would afford us an opportunity better to understand and appreciate the manifold virtues of such a government and to focus the attention of the World upon them.”

This year, bar associations around the state are honoring the day with events ranging from student and lawyer discussions and foreclosure relief clinics, to luncheons and special speakers.

Many tailor their events to the theme set by the American Bar Association, which this year is “Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges.”  While Law Day is officially May 1, many groups hold their Law Day celebrations throughout the month or on another day.

A sampling of events:

  • The Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers is holding its second foreclosure relief clinic, in which attorneys who receive special training counsel homeowners facing foreclosure.
  • The San Joaquin County Bar Association sponsors, as it has for decades, a Law Day luncheon as well as conversations with eighth graders and essay and poster contests. Via teleconference to the county office of education, inmates from the Chowchilla women's prison will describe their lives and the events that landed them in prison and take questions from the students. The teleconference will be followed by a presentation by Superior Court Judge Richard Vlavianos.
  • The Glendale Bar Association pairs attorneys with civic teachers in local high schools who spend the day talking to students about practice of law, with an emphasis on the ABA theme.
  • The Kern County Bar Association, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance and Kern County Law Library provided volunteer attorneys to give free, 15-minute legal consultations at a local mall.
  • The San Mateo County Bar Association will honor its Hillsdale High School mock trial participants, who won the state championship.
  • The South Bay Bar Association will offer free legal advice at the Torrance courthouse on issues including civil, family, probate and estate planning law.
  • The Orange County Bar Association will hold a Law Day luncheon and present Bill Gailey, a member of the State Bar Board of Governors, with the Liberty Bell Award  that recognizes community service that has strengthened the American system of freedom under law.
  • The Pasadena Bar Association will hold a luncheon with speaker Milan Smith, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, who will speak on the ABA theme of Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges.

Founded in 1927 by the legislature, the State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. By April 2010, membership reached 227,000.