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Bar associations statewide mark Law Day

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In April and early May, bar associations around the state and the Indiana Supreme Court celebrated Law Day, which is officially May 1, according to the American Bar Association. This year’s theme is “Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions and Emerging Challenges.”

Law Day was started by the ABA May 1, 1958, as a way to encourage the legal community to host events for the general public and to work with classrooms to explain to students of all ages how the judicial system works.

As part of the Indiana Supreme Court’s educational outreach program Courts in the Classroom, two groups of students participated in a re-enactment of Brown v. Board of Education April 30. A webcast of the event and supplementary educational materials are on the court’s website. Students from four schools and several home-school groups visited the Supreme Court at the Statehouse. Many participated by reading trial transcripts and descriptions of various players in the landmark case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States May 17, 1954.

Lake County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section organized events for April 30 for eighth-graders at eight schools in northwest Indiana. Featured speakers of the 30 volunteer attorneys included Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Lake Superior Judge Jeffery Dywan, and Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter. The talks centered around this year’s theme, with a focus on technology and the law, including copyright issues associated with the illegal downloading of music off the Internet. Students were also eligible to enter an essay contest about legal issues.

On May 1, the St. Joseph County Bar Association and the St. Joseph County Public Library co-sponsored a presentation of a courtroom scene from “To Kill a Mockingbird” performed by Adams High School students at the St. Joseph County Courthouse.

The presentation, which was open to the public, was part of the events to celebrate “One Book, One Michiana,” which has encouraged northern Indiana residents to read the classic novel by Harper Lee. In the past, SJCBA has had mock trials to celebrate Law Day, but it decided to work with this program for this year, according to Amy McGuire, SJCBA executive director.

The Allen County Bar Association hosted its annual Law Day luncheon, Liberty Bell Award presentation, and Volunteer Lawyer Program recognition at the Grand Wayne Center in Fort Wayne May 5. The 2010 Liberty Bell Award, which is given to non-lawyers who support social justice, was given to Rachel Tobin-Smith, executive director of Stop Child Abuse and Neglect.

The Evansville Bar Association hosted its annual mock trial presentations and lunch for students April 29, and the bar association celebrated its annual Red Mass to bless the legal community April 30. Earlier in the month, the EBA recognized Judge J. Douglas Knight, past president of the bar association and past co-chair of the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana, with the James Bethel Gresham Award. On April 21, the EBA and Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwest Indiana recognized attorney P. Michael Mitchell of Bamberger Foreman Oswald & Hahn; Scott Wylie, who works for the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwest Indiana; legal secretary Teresa Koch, who works for Bamberger Foreman Oswald & Hahn; and paralegal Lauren Hall Jones.•

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