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2011 Law Day Art and Essay Contest Winners
Annual contest explores legacy of John Adams
Each May, the American Bar Association, in conjunction with state and local bar associations, sponsors Law Day programs around the country. The purpose of celebrating Law Day is two-fold: (1) to instill in students an appreciation for the law and foster a greater understanding of the American judicial system, and (2) provide an opportunity for attorneys to serve their local communities.
Winners will receive cash prizes for their entries, which will be on display at the TBA Convention in Chattanooga June 15-18.
Essay Competition Winners
Excerpts from First Place Essay
When reminiscing about his representation of the defendants from the Boston Massacre trial, John Adams wrote in his journal, "The part I took in defense of...the soldiers procured me anxiety..It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I have ever rendered to my country." Adams recognized that by providing these British soldiers with a fair trial, he was setting a precedent for what would become the courts of the United States. By representing these men - despite the horror of his fellow patriots - Adams began a legacy of protecting people's rights, even if those rights belong to unpopular defendants ... He fought to begin the practice of a fair trial and of a defense for everyone.
This legacy has lasted all the way to present day. Because of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, many U.S. citizens were willing to suspend the basic human rights of suspected foreign terrorists. Out of fear and a desire to find those responsible for one of the bleakest days in the nation's history, Americans - much like the Bostonians of 1770 after the Boston Massacre - saw no reason to hesitate from arresting any suspected terrorists and denying them a fair trial. Several law firms around the country, however, followed in the footsteps of John Adams and fought to be allowed to...represent the prisoners. Although these suspected terrorists, much like the British soldiers...were seen as unpopular and undeserving by the majority of the public, these lawyers were willing to put aside personal differences and prejudices and make sure that the American legal system stayed honorable.
While it may be difficult for the general public to recognize how important a fair legal system is when facing potentially dangerous defendants, John Adams' legacy will hopefully continue to overpower prejudice and encourage [representation] for all.
Excerpts from First Place Art
Art Competition Winners