What is Law Week?

Law Day 2019 (May 1) focuses on the theme “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.” Learn more about it here.

Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society

Law Day is a national celebration of the rule of law in our society. It has been sponsored and promoted by the American Bar Association since 1961, when President Dwight Eisenhower designated it a national holiday. The HBA joins local and state bar associations nationwide in sponsoring activities surrounding May 1. While the HBA calls its celebration “Law Week,” it encompasses much more.

The Law Week Essay contest was established in late 1970s; poster contest was established in 1986; school reading program was established in 2003, as was the dialogue program, the photography contest was established in 2012. The Special Needs Day at the Courthouse began in 2013.

Contact Bonnie Simmons at bonnies@hba.org or (713) 759-1133 with any questions.

What are we doing for Law Week?

Special Day at the Courthouse

Law Week 2019 activities begin Friday, February 22 when over 400 special needs students and their teachers are invited to the Historic 1910 Courthouse for guardianship presentations by local and state judges and attorneys, as well as assistance with ideas for creating posters and photos for the HBA’s Law Day contests. Contact Bonnie Simmons at bonnies@hba.org to RSVP your students or children for the Special Day at the Courthouse.

14th Court of Appeals Chief Justice Kem Thompson Frost welcomes participants at the 2018 Special Day at the Courthouse event.

Poster Outreach Workshops

Also in February, the HBA, the Asian American Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association, the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston, and the Houston Lawyers Association will sponsor Law Day Poster Outreach Workshops for children in the Chinese Community, East End, and Alvin.

A judge speaking to children at a community center during a 2018 poster outreach workshop.

Essay, Photography and Poster Contests

The HBA’s annual Law Week Poster, Essay, and Photography contests run through Friday, March 1 at 5:00 p.m., with all Harris County-area students invited to participate. Cash prizes for students and their teachers are generously underwritten by: Icon Wealth Partners, LLC, Stratos Legal, and 3b Studio. Winners will be recognized online and in publications and programs. Selected entries will be on display in courthouses and professional buildings downtown. First-place winners will automatically be entered in the statewide contest.

Law Week Committee members gather around a table to view poster contest entries.

Law Week Readings

From April 15 to May 10, volunteers from the Law Week Committee, the Lawyers for Literacy Committee, the Speakers Bureau Committee, and others will read The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story by Darcy Pattison to elementary students in 100 schools throughout Harris County and donate the book to each school’s library. Schools: Click here to sign up for Law Week Readings at your school. Attorneys: Click here to volunteer as a reader.

A lawyer sits on a chair in the middle of a classroom with a large crowd of elementary-aged children surrounding her, and all are smiling at the viewer.

Law Day Luncheon

The Houston Young Lawyers Association (HYLA) & Foundation’s annual Law Day Luncheon is set for Friday, May 10, with the Honorable Charles “Chip” Babcock serving as keynote speaker. HYLA will present its Woodrow Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer Award and the HYLA Outstanding Mentor Award at the event. The HBA will award its first place winners for the Law Day Poster, Essay, and Photography Contests.

The 2018 contest winners, their parents, and HBA and HYLA leaders gather for a photo at the 2018 luncheon.

Dialogue on Freedom

In October, the Law Week Committee will send teams of judges, lawyers and law students to area high schools for an interactive Dialogue on Freedom presentation based on this year’s Law Day theme.

Dialogue program presenters pose in front of a mural with students at an Aldine high school.

Contact Bonnie Simmons at bonnies@hba.org or (713) 759-1133 with any questions regarding the HBA’s Law Week activities.