In an effort to underscore the importance of funding the state courts, American Bar Association President William T. (Bill) Robinson III will speak at the annual Law Day Luncheon of the Chattanooga Bar Association on May 10. The program takes place at the Sheraton Read House in the Silver Ballroom from 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m.
As part of Law Day 2012, Mr. Robinson is touring some of the States to highlight the crisis in court underfunding around the nation. Mr. Robinson has participated in Law Day events in Florida, New York, Maryland, Ohio and Kentucky. His final Law Day stop will be in Chattanooga on May 10. The theme for Law Day 2012 is; “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom.” President Robinson has made the work of the Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System one of his primary areas of focus for the 2011-2012 year. The Task Force is addressing some of the most critical issues facing the legal profession today: The severe underfunding of our justice system, depletion of resources, and the courts’ struggle to render their constitutional function and provide access to justice for countless Americans. According to the National Center for State Courts, 42 states cut funding for their judiciaries in 2011, which has hindered the courts’ ability to render access to justice for all Americans. It also has placed families and businesses in jeopardy as courtrooms have been forced to close, shorten their hours and lay off staff.
The Chattanooga Bar Association will present its Annual Liberty Bell Award at the meeting. The purpose of the “Liberty Bell Award”is to recognize community service that has strengthened the America system of freedom under law. In selecting the recipient of this award, the Chattanooga Bar Association considers such service as including activities which (1) promotes better understanding of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights; (2) encourage a greater respect for the law and the courts; (3) stimulates a deeper sense of individual responsibility so that citizens recognize their duties as well as their rights; (4) contribute to the effective functioning of our institutions of government; and (5) foster a better understanding and appreciation of the rule of law. This prestigious award, presented annually by the Chattanooga Bar Association, will be selected from nominations received by the awards judges. Lawyers and judges are not eligible for the award; however, all other fields of endeavor are intended for the inclusion, namely education, business, sciences, communications, labor, government, religion, professions and youth organizations.
The Chattanooga Bar Association and Chattanooga Bar Foundation present a college scholarship to the winner of the High School Law Day Essay Contest. This contest is based on the theme of Law Day and is open to every high school student in Hamilton County – public, private and home-school.
The FELLOWS Class of 2012 will be announced. To become a Fellow of the Chattanooga Bar Foundation, A lawyer must be a member of the Chattanooga Bar Association, must be at least 35 years of age and must be licensed and practicing law for at least 10 years. Only lawyers who are judged to have outstanding records of service to the bar and to the community are so honored.
While Law Day is officially recognized on May 1, many civic groups and bar associations celebrate with month-long programs, presentations and events. Envisioned in 1957 by then ABA President Charles S. Rhyne as a special national day of recognition, the first Law Day was established byPresident Dwight Eisenhower the following year. Congress issued a joint resolution in 1961 designating May 1 as the official day to celebrate the nation’s commitment to the rule of law.