Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Law Day and the Magna Carta

Since President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958, May 1 commemorates the country’s pledge to the rule of law.

Law Day 2015 is also a time to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta – the Great Charter – which contains a statement that no one person is above the law. As the origin for the concept of the rule of law, it’s considered by some to be the most important legal document in history.

Several courts and bar associations across the nation host Law Day events throughout the month. In Ohio, two Supreme Court justices plan to participate in Law Day events across the Buckeye state. Justice Judith French is participating in two events.  On May 1, she will speak at the Lake County Law Day Breakfast in Mentor starting at 7 a.m. Later in the day, she will head to Medina and speak at the county’s bar association Law Day lunch at 11:30 a.m.

Justice French will talk to the groups about the Magna Carta and its symbol of freedom under law. She will also discuss her own experiences and give insight about how the courts protect basic rights, which come from the origins of the 800-year-old document.

"On Law Day, it's important for us to remember that a free society is always an unfinished work. Our current judicial system is a continuation of the progress begun by the Archbishop of Canterbury and King John of England in 1215 with the Magna Carta,” Justice French said. “In my interactions with legal professionals on Law Day 2015, I will thank them for the work they do every day to bring those same principles to life."

Justice William O’Neill will travel to Kent and speak at the Portage County Law Day Banquet on May 13 at 6:30 p.m.

“Law Day is a time when we as lawyers take a moment to reflect on the past and ask ourselves how we can improve our profession,” Justice O’Neill said.  “We provide a vital service to society but must be ever vigilant that the power vested in the legal system is used in a fair manner to benefit both our friends and our adversaries as well.”

“Law Day is a great time to both celebrate being a lawyer and to take a moment to renew our oath to conduct ourselves with dignity and civility in all our affairs,” Justice O’Neill added.

In conjunction with Law Day, about 700 lawyers and judges across the state are in Sandusky this week for the 2015 Ohio State Bar Association Convention where they are discussing best legal practices. The theme of the three-day convention that started April 29 is “Access to Justice.”