On March 3, the American Bar Association (ABA) kicked off its annual Law Day celebration with a livestream broadcast during which ABA President Patricia Refo introduced this year’s theme and highlighted some suitable programming options. Law Day, a national day set aside to celebrate the legal system, its contribution to American governance, and the rights and freedoms it has engendered, has been celebrated annually since 1961 when Congress passed a joint resolution designating May 1 as Law Day, U.S.A. To help cultivate an appreciation and understanding of the law and all that it encompasses, organizers at the ABA have developed themes with activities and programs centered around that theme. This year’s theme, Advancing the Rule of Law Now, advocates the role that each of us plays in promoting the rule of law, defending liberty, and pursuing justice.  

What exactly is the rule of law? The rule of law recognizes that everyone, without exception, is “accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, independently adjudicated, and consistent with international human rights principles.” It exists to ensure that minority rights are protected and not infringed upon by the majority and that laws that affect all are equally applied to all. As ABA President Patricia Refo stated in her remarks at the Law Day 2021 kickoff event, “[t]he rule of law provides a bedrock of consistency and fairness in our society.” All are accountable, and no one is above the rule of law. This concept is quite evident in our daily lives each time we express an opinion that might be viewed as unpopular, practice a religion, attend school, or participate in jury selection in a court case.

On Thursday, April 29, from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. CT, the ABA is hosting a virtual program, “Advancing the Rule of Law Now: A Global Perspective.” A panel consisting of foreign law experts, including a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program; a former Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia; and a foreign law specialist from the Law Library of Congress, will explore how the rule of law in the United States shapes the international landscape.

On a local level, check out the website of the Houston Bar Association for some of its Law Week activities, including a Multi-bar Law Day Celebration featuring a conversation with Dallas Bar Association President Aaron Tobin and former FBI Director Louis Freeh and a Law Day Virtual Luncheon featuring Supreme Court of Texas Justice Brett Busby, Haynes and Boone Senior Counsel Lynne Liberato, and University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard Baynes. You can also sign up to take part in a virtual reading of What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick to Harris County-area elementary schools. Additionally, you can view the winning contributions to the HBA’s annual Law Week Poster, Essay, and Photography contests.

Find additional Law Day 2021 content from these sources:

United States Courts -Law Day – Access videos discussing the rule of law as well as discussion questions that will foster understanding of this important legal concept.

American Bar Association – Law Day 2021 -Discover additional ways to explore this year’s theme with subthemes and reflections on power under the rule of law and how the rule of law has shaped and sustained our country. There are also Law Day 2021 products available for purchase.