In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day as a day to celebrate the law. He saw this as a counter-balance to the USSR May Day celebration. Law Day celebrates the fair justice system that enables the United States to generally treat everyone equally. Law Day also helps people understand how the legal system protects our liberty, strives to achieve justice, and contributes to the freedoms that Americans enjoy. A few years later, in 1961, Congress voted May 1, the official date for Law Day.
Over the years, Law Day has grown to encompass an entire week. On May 5th, as a part of Hernando County Law Week, there was an ‘Ask a Lawyer’ pro bono event where volunteer attorneys were available to meet and discuss legal concerns.
In celebration of Law Week, the Hernando County Bar Association created three scholarships, the Hernando County Bar Association $2,000 Law Student Scholarship, the Alan W. Underwood $1,000 Memorial Scholarship, and the Geraldine Bishop $1,000 Memorial Scholarship. Each applicant was asked to write a 750-800 word essay on the American Bar Association law week theme, “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration.” This year’s winners were Haven Anderson, Raelee Surak, Hanna Maglio, and Mollie O’Brien.
Also awarded by the Hernando County Bar Association were the 2023 Liberty Bell Award and the Hernando County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award. The Liberty Bell Award is an award given to a non-lawyer individual or organization who has dedicated time and talent to strengthen the effectiveness of the American system of freedom under the law. This year’s Liberty Bell Award recipient was the Kiwanis Club of Brooksville, and the recipient of the Hernando County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award was Louis Okun. Law Week is a great way for the Hernando County Bar Association to interact with the community and teach people more about the legal system.