SBM Launches New Law Day Contest That Links with Michigan Legal Milestones


The State Bar of Michigan is starting a new Law Day tradition in 2012 by launching a statewide contest to highlight the theme "Michigan: No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom," utilizing SBM's Michigan Legal Milestones.

The Michigan Legal Milestones is a 25-year-old State Bar program that commemorates important jurists and court cases that have contributed to our rich legal history. Bronze plaques detailing the background and importance of each case, event, or personality have been placed throughout the state. There are 36 milestones to date.

To participate, contestants should familiarize themselves with the milestones and tie those that are appropriate into the 2012 Law Day theme in a creative project. Examples of acceptable projects include dramatic or musical plays, debates, video game designs, essays, podcasts, commentaries, re-enactments, mock trials, short documentaries, and more.

"The idea behind this unique contest is to promote greater public understanding of the law and to create more partnership opportunities for lawyers and the community at large," SBM President Julie Fershtman said. "Lawyers and local bar associations can get started by collaborating with schools, community adult or youth groups, colleges, universities, and law schools."

Winning projects will be those that most effectively illuminate or dramatize the significance of the Michigan Legal Milestone and its relationship to the role of the courts and /or an understanding of the role of the judiciary in Michigan's constitutional democracy. Electronic submissions are highly encouraged.

Cash prizes will be awarded. The top prize is $1,000 (one winner); second prize is $750 (two winners) and third prize is $500 (up to 3 will be awarded). All winning submissions will be eligible for statewide recognition as a Michigan Model Law Day project as well as for entry into the National American Bar Association Law Day awards competition. Michigan's 2012 Law Day theme closely parallels the American Bar Association's. This year marks the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.

The contest is overseen by a subcommittee of the State Bar Law-Related Education and Public Outreach Committee, chaired by Margaret Krasnoff and Jeff Paulsen. Bart O'Neill and Margaret Krasnoff head the Law Day subcommittee.

The Law Day contest entry deadline is 5 p.m., Saturday, April 7, 2012. For more details about the contest rules and resources visit SBM Law Day or e-mail Visit Michigan Legal Milestones for a complete list of milestones.

Questions can be directed to SBM Communications Specialist Samantha Meinke at (517) 346-6332 or