History of Law Day
Law Day was conceived by the late Hicks Epton, a Wewoka attorney and past president of the Oklahoma Bar Association. President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day nationally by presidential proclamation in 1958. On this occasion, he said, "It is fitting that the American people should remember with pride and vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice and quality under law. It is our moral and civil obligation as free men and as Americans to preserve and strengthen that great heritage."
The first of May was set aside in 1961 by a Joint Resolution of Congress as a "special day of celebration by the American people in appreciation of their liberties and the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States of America" and as an occasion for "rededication to the ideals of equality and justice under laws."
Since the first observance, the American Bar Association, the national voluntary organization of the legal profession, has acted as the national sponsor of Law Day. State, county and local bar associations organize individual projects throughout the country. Many national organizations also recognize Law Day, including the National Education Association, National Governors' Association, United States Conference of Mayors, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America and civic and services clubs such as Rotary International and Kiwanis International.
In 2005, the American Bar Association honored the OBA with the Outstanding Law Day Activity Award. The theme for that year was “The American Jury: We the People in Action.” A record number of Oklahoma students — more than 2,000 — participated in various art and writing contests. Local and state government organizations encouraged citizens to recognize Law Day through various community events. For the 27th year, attorneys offered free legal advice over the phone on April 28 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The OBA also produced the hour-long Ask A Lawyer TV show, which aired on public television. One segment of the show featured the first group interview with five jurors from the Terry Nichols state trial.