Law Day 2011

Law Day: Something to Celebrate and Teach Read the Bar Journal article

Law Day 2011 Theme

The Legacy of John Adams, from Boston to Guantanamo

Resistance leader and patriot, advocate and diplomat, constitutional theorist and political activist, John Adams became our nation's first lawyer-president in 1797. Just five years before the American Revolutionary War began, he represented the British officer and soldiers charged with firing into a crowd of protestors and killing five civilians in the "Boston Massacre."

Already a prominent leader in the American colonial resistance to British parliamentary authority, Adams agreed to take on the cases and ably defended the accused at trial. His role in the 1770 Boston Massacre trials has come to be seen as a lawyerly exemplar of adherence to the rule of law and defense of the rights of the accused, even in cases when advocates may represent unpopular clients and become involved in matters that generate public controversy.

The 2011 Law Day theme provides us with an opportunity to assess and celebrate the legacy of John Adams, explore the historical and contemporary role of lawyers in defending the rights of the accused, and renew our understanding of and appreciation for the fundamental principle of the rule of law.

Law Day 2011–A Planning Year

Every good program needs to be evaluated and refreshed from time to time. It takes the time, energy, and creative input of many people to accomplish it.

As we begin 2011, the Law Related Education and Public Outreach Committee Law Day subcommittee is considering ways to expand and enhance participation in Law Day. subcommittee goals are to:

  • develop new program ideas
  • foster broad and diverse participation across Michigan’s 83 counties and
  • create interactive, web-based activities to link students, lawyers, bar associations, and community groups.

Local and specialty bar associations and individual lawyers already conduct a variety of Law Day activities each year. The subcommittee is identifying ways to link lawyers and students and others statewide to build connections and synergies that can be sustained and grow from year to year.

This new vision for Law Day requires the input of many. The Bar's Law Related Education Public Outreach Committee approved suspending the Law Day Essay Contest for 2011 and is using this year to explore and evaluate ideas for the future.


Margaret J. Krasnoff
Law Day, Chair
Law Related Education & Pubic Outreach Committee