Each year on May 1, the legal community comes together to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day 2019 provides an opportunity to reflect on the role that the law plays in protecting our liberty, securing justice and contributing to the freedoms that Americans share.

President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958 to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. In 1961, Congress designated May 1 as the official date for Law Day. Since then, every president has issued a Law Day proclamation recognizing the nation’s commitment to the rule of law.

Each year, the American Bar Association selects an issue of public discourse to highlight as the Law Day theme. The 2019 theme—Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society—places attention on these rights by probing their history and debating their future.

Practitioners, legal employers and bar associations across Illinois will host events to celebrate Law Day 2019. We’ve compiled a list of local events that are open to the legal community and the general public. We hope you’ll consider participating.

Saturday, April 27

  • The St. Clair County Bar Association – 18th Annual Law Day Run
    • 510 West Main St., Belleville
    • Run starts at 9 a.m.
    • Proceeds from the Law Day Run benefit the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation and other legal aid organizations that provide civil legal services to senior and low-income residents of southern and central Illinois.
  • The Chicago Bar Association – Call A Lawyer
    • 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • The public is invited to speak with an attorney over the phone for free by calling 312-554-2001. The event is hosted by the CBA Young Lawyers Section.

Tuesday, April 30

  • DuPage County Bar Association – 2019 Law Day Luncheon
    • Le Jardin at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Rd., Wheaton
    • 11:15 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Daniel P. Guerin, Chief Judge 18th Judicial Circuit Court, will provide the State of the Courthouse Address. Online registration is available until April 30.

Thursday, May 2

  • Peoria County Bar Association – Law Day Luncheon
    • Spalding Pastoral Center, 419 NE Madison Ave., Peoria
    • 11:30 a.m.
    • Dean Vikram David Amar from the University of Illinois College of Law will provide the keynote address at the annual luncheon. The deadline to register is Monday, April 29, at noon.
  • The Chicago Bar Association – Meet the Judges Reception
    • 321 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago
    • 5 – 7 p.m.
    • Join the CBA Young Lawyers Section for a meet and greet with judges from the Illinois Appellate Court, Federal Court and Circuit Court of Cook County. The Liberty Bell Award will be presented during the reception.

Friday, May 3

  • Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Law Day 2019
    • 18 N. County Street, Waukegan
    • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • The Judges of Lake County, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and the Coroner’s Office will present law-related educational programming to Lake County High School students. An awards ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. for K-12 students who participated in various Law Day contests (coloring, poster and essay).
  • The Chicago Bar Association – Law Day Public Celebration at Daley Plaza
    • Richard J. Daley Building, 50 W. Washington, Chicago
    • 12 – 1 p.m.
    • Enjoy music from the CBA Symphony Orchestra and hear personal reflections on the ABA Law Day theme. Hosted by the CBA Young Lawyers Section.

Planning an event? The ABA provides a guide with tools to help develop, publicize and implement a successful celebration.

Know of other events celebrating Law Day 2019? Please share in the comments below.

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Photo of laura bagby laura bagby

Laura Bagby is Communications Director at the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, where she develops and executes strategy to elevate the Commission among attorneys and judges in Illinois. Laura leverages communications channels to educate and engage with the legal community in support of the Commission’s mission of increasing civility and professionalism to enable the administration of justice.