Montgomery, Alabama, February 2, 2011 – What if Twitter and Facebook had existed when John Adams defended the soldiers accused of the Boston Massacre? What would his "Top 10 Tweets" have been or what would his Facebook Page have looked like?
The Alabama State Bar is calling for entries from students in grades K-12 across the state for a creative competition based on this year's Law Day theme, "The Legacy of John Adams: Defending the Rights of the Accused."
But now there's a new wrinkle: for the first time, students will be able to submit entries for a new social media category in addition to creating posters or writing essays.
State Bar President Alyce M. Spruell of Northport (Spruell & Powell LLC) said, "This year's theme
Fits well with our Bar's year-long emphasis on the importance of civics education in our schools and communities. Focusing on the life and legacy of John Adams provides us with the opportunity to explore the historical through modern-day role of lawyers in defending the rights of the accused – one of the cornerstones and often times lightning rods – of our system of justice."
John Adams became our nation's first lawyer-president in 1797. Five years before the American Revolutionary War began, he represented the British officer and soldiers charged with firing into a crowd of protestors and killing five civilians in the "Boston Massacre." His role in those trials has come to be seen as an example of adherence to the rule of law and defense of the rights of the accused, even in cases when advocates may represent unpopular clients and become involved in matters that generate public controversy.
Information and entry forms can be found on the state bar website at www.alabar.org/lawday or by calling 800-354-6154, extension 2126, for contest entry information. The deadline is April 4, 2011.
Gulf Shores attorney Ashley Swink (Phelps Dunbar) and Tuscaloosa lawyer David Rains (Rosen Harwood PA) Wynn Newell & Newton) serve as co-chairs of the state bar's Law Day committee.
The poster and essay entries will be presented in two (2) classifications – grades K-3 and 4-6 for posters; grades 7-9 and 10-12 for essays and the new social media category. A total of $2,400 in U.S. Savings bonds will be awarded to winners. Teachers also receive a monetary gift for use in the classroom.
"With the various opportunities for the students to participate in the Law Day competition, they will have the ability to make the connection between the rule of law and how it affects our citizens' daily lives. In my opinion, there is no better way for them to learn about the importance of our justice system and the role of lawyers," Spruell said.
In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established May 1st as Law Day to strengthen our heritage of liberty, justice, and equality under law. This is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law and to underscore how law and the legal process contribute to the freedoms we share.
The 16,600-member Alabama State Bar is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility, competence and satisfaction of its members; improving the administration of justice, and: increasing public understanding and respect for the law.