By Kelly Milliron • JBA Law Day Committee
Law Day, May 1, is an annual celebration across the U.S. that encourages us to reflect on how the law upholds freedom, justice and equality.
This year’s Law Day theme asks us to think about the role of the Constitution in times of change, particularly in the endeavor to create a “more perfect Union.”
The question of how “we the people” move toward something more perfect – something better – can be challenging amidst change.
Yet, the Constitution’s greatness rests in giving us the power to decide how our nation should improve, especially when change presses on our future. Even two centuries after the framers drafted the Constitution, it remains we the people who define freedom, shape justice and build the scaffolding of equality.
In honor of Law Day and continuing the conversation about this year’s theme, the Jacksonville Bar Association is sponsoring a series of events and services for the community.
On May 4, the JBA will host its annual meeting and Law Day Luncheon where we will honor this year’s recipient of the Liberty Bell Award. It recognizes a nonlawyer who has contributed greatly to our legal community and devoted outstanding service to helping Jacksonville citizens.
The JBA has held and will continue holding pro bono events where volunteer attorneys will serve different parts of our community.
On Feb. 26, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, with assistance from the University of North Florida, conducted “Citizenship Day,” where volunteers provided services to lawful permanent residents on their journeys to become U.S. citizens.
On April 30, the JBA will conduct an Asylum Clinic where volunteer attorneys will assist Afghani refugees in completing asylum paperwork.
The JBA also will hold a free “Ask a Lawyer” event May 7, where people will have the opportunity to speak with an attorney, one-to-one, for 10-15 minutes to get insight and guidance on a specific legal matter.
The JBA also is sponsoring its annual poster contest, where local attorneys taught fourth- and fifth-graders about this year’s Law Day theme.
Inspired by historical moments of constitutional change, the students draw posters displaying their artistic ideas and interpretation of what constitutional change has looked like or could look like in their futures.
Throughout the month of April and into May, the students’ posters will be exhibited on the JBA website. Members of the public are invited to view the work and vote online for their favorite artists.
The JBA and its members also are sponsoring several fundraising activities in support of Law Day.
Law firms and other legal entities are collecting art supplies to be donated to elementary schools and toiletries that will be given to clients of Downtown Ecumenical Services.
At 5:30 p.m. April 27, the JBA is sponsoring Rendezvous on the Rooftop at Burrito Gallery in the Brooklyn neighborhood along Riverside Avenue. The evening will include food, festivities and a raffle. Proceeds benefit Dreams Come True, a Jacksonville nonprofit that grants wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions.
On April 28 at 5 p.m., the legal community and the public are invited to an evening of music, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Edwards & Ragatz PA’s Law Day Gala. Donations made at the event will support Jacksonville Area Legal Aid.
For tickets and more information about these events, call (904) 399-4486 or visit jaxbar.org.
Kelly Milliron is a law clerk to U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Chief Judge Timothy Corrigan.