Law Day

Each year, the Lawrence Bar Association joins with the American Bar Association, educational institutions, and lawyers across the country to celebrate how the law and the legal process contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share, and to the pursuit of justice. The Lawrence Bar Association hosts a speech contest for local high school students on the theme chosen by the ABA each year, followed by a dinner where members of the LBA honor the student contest winners and recognize the contribution of community leaders with the presentation of the Liberty Bell Award. 

See below for more information about this year's topic and events. 

Speech Contest

Any area student who would like to prepare a speech on the selected topic (described below) is encouraged to apply. Each speech should be approximately five minutes long and will be presented in front of a local judge in a courtroom at the Fenton Judicial Center in Lawrence.

The winner of the speech contest will be determined by a panel of judges and lawyers from the Lawrence Bar Association and will be awarded a cash scholarship of $500. For more information about the Speech Contest, please contact Cythina Grover Hastings

Law Day Topics

2014 -- American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters

Law Day 2014.jpg

Thursday, May 1, 2014

3:00pm - Speech Contest 
Fenton Judicial Center in Lawrence

5:30pm - Dinner
Salvatore's in Lawrence
Speech Contest Winner, Liberty Bell, 50-Year Award

This year's theme is centered on the law's place in our democracy as described by the ABA:

One of our most cherished national ideals, expressed eloquently by Abraham Lincoln, is “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” It is a principle enshrined in our nation’s founding documents, from the Declaration of Independence’s assurance that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed, to the opening three words of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, “We the People.”

The right to vote is the very foundation of government by the people. For this reason, striving to establish and protect every citizen’s right to vote has been a central theme of American legal and civic history. Much of the struggle for voting rights began decades ago, but the work is far from complete, and a citizen’s right to cast a ballot remains at risk today.

As we approach the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 2014 Law Day theme, American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters, calls on every American to reflect on the importance of a citizen’s right to vote and the challenges we still face in ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to participate in our democracy. 

2013 -- Realizing the Dream: Equality for All

The promise of equality under the law is what has made America a beacon to other nations. It is a pledge clearly set forth in the Declaration of Independence and in the opening words of the Preamble of the Constitution, “We the People.” It is, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, the proposition to which our nation is dedicated.

Law Day 2013.jpg

The year 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclama- tion. In 1963, during the Proclamation’s centennial, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and called upon our nation to live up to the great promise, en- shrined in its founding documents, of equality for all. Five decades later, the inspirational words of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech continue to resonate and challenge us to live up to our national ideal of equality under the law. The legacy of the Civil Rights Movement can be seen in the strides that have been made against discrimination based on race, gen- der, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation.

This year’s Law Day theme, “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All,” provides an opportunity to explore the movement for civil and human rights in America and the impact that it has had in promoting the ideal of equality under the law. It will provide a forum for reflecting on the work that remains to be done in rectifying injustice, eliminating all forms of discrimina- tion, and putting an end to human trafficking and other violations of our basic human rights. As Dr. King pointed out in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

Speech Contest Participants

Roberto Rios, Lawrence High School, Lawrence
Victoria Beeber, Andover High School, Andover
Samantha Fox, Presentation of Mary Academy, Methuen
Sarah King, Methuen High School, Methuen
Soham Kudtarkar, North Andover High School, North Andover
Jamie Shore, Salem High School, Salem, NH
Yomaris AponteLawrence High School, Lawrence
Zachary MarshallLawrence High School, Lawrence
Teresa NjeriLawrence High School, Lawrence

2012 -- No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom

This year's theme underscores the importance of the courts and their role in ensuring access to justice for all Americans. 

Law Day 2012.jpg

Open and accessible courts are the cornerstone of a free society. The framers of our Constitution recognized the importance of the courts when they made the judiciary one of the three coequal branches of our government. The courts are where we go to have our rights protected, our injuries redressed and our disputes resolved. Whether you are a consumer or a corporation, a victim or an accused, a lender or a debtor, a parent or a child, the work of the courts affects your everyday life. Recent budget cuts at the state and local levels have seriously compromised the courts’ ability to function effectively and keep the wheels of justice turning. This year’s Law Day theme, “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom,” underscores the importance of the courts and their role in ensuring access to justice for all Americans. 



Speech Contest Participants

Olivia Imprescia, Catholic Central High School, Lawrence
Amanda Lopez, Greater Lawrence Technical High School, Lawrence
Samantha Garcia, Lawrence High School, Lawrence
Brian Wilvell, Andover High School, Andover
Moorea Colby, Andover High School, Andover
Renu Mukherjee, Brooks School, North Andover
Kelsie Collins, Salem High School, Salem, NH
Jamie Shore, Salem High School, Salem, NH