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Jax Daily Record Monday, Apr. 30, 201212:00 PM EST

Law Day 2012: No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom

by: Lindsay L. Tygart

It’s that time of year again. Spring is here, the sweltering heat has not yet arrived, and the opportunities and events surrounding Law Day are fully under way.

Every year, a day is set aside nationally to celebrate the law and to raise awareness of the legal process and how it has contributed to the rights and freedoms we, as Americans, enjoy. Law Day is our chance to show the community our role as lawyers and our commitment to serving Jacksonville and her citizens.

This year, the theme of Law Day is “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom.” Simply put, this year’s theme is designed to celebrate the importance of our judicial system and raise awareness regarding court funding shortages that, unfortunately, are occurring all across the country.

This year’s events officially began April 11 with the signing of the Law Day proclamation by Mayor Alvin Brown. It declares May 1, 2012, as Law Day in Jacksonville. This was quite a historic event in that ABA President William Robinson, The Florida Bar President Scott Hawkins, and The JBA President Mike Freed were all in attendance.

This was the first time in the history of celebrating Law Day in Jacksonville that we had representatives of Bar service from the national, state and local levels.

The Law Day proclamation was followed by National Citizenship Day April 14 at Florida Coastal School of Law. Numerous lawyers from all areas of practice volunteered their time on a Saturday to meet with and assist members of the community who desired to become naturalized citizens. Each attendee met with an attorney volunteer to obtain information and assistance in completing his or her application for citizenship.

This year, because of the dedication of Kathy Para, our National Citizenship Day chairperson, as well as the time and effort of more than 35 volunteers, we were able to assist a record 100 applicants in applying for U.S. citizenship.

The Law Day Naturalization Ceremony, where individuals took an oath to become American citizens, took place April 19 at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse before Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger. The ceremony began with the Florida Youth Challenge Academy Color Guard and was followed by a special keynote speaker, Mario Rubio, director of state policy for Mayor Alvin Brown.

The Young Lawyers Section of The Jacksonville Bar hosted the Fourth Annual Rendezvous on the River Charity Fundraiser April 26 at River City Brewing Company. The event benefited Dreams Come True, a local charity that grants terminally ill children their wish. The event included live music from The Fratello Band and prizes were raffled off throughout the evening.

This year’s Rendezvous was sponsored by Florida Coastal; The Jacksonville Bank; Volpe, Bajalia, Wickes, Rogerson & Wachs; Tanner Bishop; Moseley Prichard Parrish Knight & Jones; The Jax Mediation Center; JAX Copy; Kubicki Draper; Holland & Knight; and Esquire Deposition Solutions.

There will be an art supply drive to benefit S.P. Livingston Elementary School and a toiletries drive to benefit the Downtown Ecumenical Services Council from April 27 through May 11.

There are collection boxes located at various law firms Downtown and on the Southbank. The following law firms have graciously agreed to host a collection box: The Bedell Firm; Brennan, Manna & Diamond; Holland & Knight; JALA; Marks Gray; Moseley Prichard; Edwards & Ragatz; Rogers Towers; and Tanner Bishop. Please feel free to drop your donation items at any of these firms or at The JBA office. If you or your firm is interested in hosting a collection box or has any questions, please contact Christa Figgins at [email protected].

Edwards & Ragatz also will be hosting the Third Annual Law Day in May reception to benefit JALA. This event is 5:30-8:30 p.m. May 3 at the EverBank Building veranda located on Riverside Avenue.

There will be live music from Ron Rodriguez and cocktails and appetizers from Tom & Betty’s. The suggested donation is $25 and 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to JALA. Everyone is invited so, please join us for this exciting event. For more information or to RSVP, please contact me at [email protected].

All of these wonderful events would not be possible without the endless hours of time and effort expended by my co-chair, Fraz Ahmed, and the Law Day Committee of Beau Baker, Lissa Dayton, Matt Detzel, Christa Figgins, Michael Lockamy, Carol Mirando, Shea Moser, Kathy Para and Lois Ragsdale. And a special thanks to Susan Sowards and Kendra Rhodin with The JBA.

For additional information regarding Law Day or any of the events associated with Law Day, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or my co-chair, Fraz Ahmed, at [email protected].

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