Celebrating 60 Years of Law Day

On May 1, 1958, President Eisenhower established Law Day to honor the role of law in the creation of the United States of America. Three years later, Congress followed suit by passing a joint resolution establishing May 1 as Law Day. The American Bar Association defines Law Day as: “A national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share.” The language of the statute ordaining May 1 calls it “a special day of celebration by the American people in appreciation of their liberties and rededication to the ideals of equality and justice under law.” 2018 marked Law Day’s 60th anniversary and this year’s theme was Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.  

The U.S. Constitution sets out a system of government with distinct and independent branches: Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court. It also defines legislative, executive, and judicial powers and outlines how they interact. These three separate branches share power, and each branch serves as a check on the power of the others. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” James Madison explained in Federalist 51. Why? Madison believed that the Constitution’s principles of separation of powers and checks and balances preserve political liberty. They provide a framework for freedom. Yet, this framework is not self-executing. We the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and advancing our rights.  

The Law Day 2018 theme enables us to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working for ourselves and our posterity (American Bar Association, www.americanbar.org/aba.html).  

CLSMF celebrates our volunteer attorneys during Law Day celebrations in Lake, Hernando, Marion and Citrus Counties. CLSMF’s pro bono attorneys volunteer their time and provide much needed legal assistance to individuals who are not able to afford a lawyer for their civil legal needs. By taking cases for full representation, participating in clinics and providing guidance at forms workshops, these lawyers impact individual lives.    

This year’s honorees assisted clients in family and consumer matters. Below read more about these incredible individuals who gave back to their communities through the practice of law:    

In Lake County, CLSMF recognized Ryan Hobby who has provided pro bono work through CLSMF since 2015 by assisting individuals with matters related to family law. Because of his commitment to pro bono work, Ryan was awarded the Florida Supreme Court Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award in 2016 and 2017. He prides himself in advocating for the best interest of children and feels fortunate to assist individuals with great need through his pro bono work.    

Hernando County attorney, Scott Smith was recognized by CLSMF for his pro bono work this past year. Scott has been practicing in Hernando and Citrus Counties since 1994, but began his pro bono work through CLSMF in 2007 and has consistently provided services to low-income individuals since then. Scott believes that doing pro bono work and obtaining just results for an individual or family positively impacts society as a whole.    

In Marion County, CLSMF recognized Reuben “Ben” Williams, IV, a partner at the Law Firm of Wilson and Williams. Reuben assists low-income individuals by taking on cases for full representation and by participating in CLSMF’s legal advice clinics. In addition to his pro bono work, Reuben is a member of the Marion County Bar Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Humane Society of Marion County.  

Attorney, Richard Peck, IV was recognized in Citrus County for his dedication to consumers. Rick joined CLSMF’s pro bono panel in order to provide representation to disadvantaged citizens who may not have access to legal services. Rick has prosecuted hundreds of debt collection harassment lawsuits on behalf of consumers and also has ample experience in prosecuting appeals. 

We are grateful for our volunteers’ dedication to help individuals access justice. If you are interested in joining the ranks of our honorees, please contact us at [email protected] for information on available volunteer opportunities. 

L to R: Jeff Harvey, Margaret Harrell, Mrs. Williams, Justice Alan Lawson, Reuben Williams IV, Ray McNeal, and Iris Castro at the Marion County Law Day