Celebrations involve public service, awards, fun

The theme of the 2014 Law Day is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters,” which asks Americans to reflect on the importance of a citizen’s right to vote and the challenges we still face in ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate in our democracy.

Bar associations and legal organizations across the state are gearing up for this year’s Law Day with events that begin this week and run through May. A round-up of activities follows. If your organization is hosting an event that is not listed here, please send details to tbatoday@tnbar.org.

April 17-25
Memphis Bar Association
Law Week Events

Law Week 2014 will get rolling April 25 with the 7th Annual Law Week Launch Party in Court Square from 5-7 p.m. Come enjoy music, free drinks, including wine and beer, food by Central BBQ and Lickity Split Ice Cream. All members of the Memphis legal community are invited and attendees are encouraged to bring a canned good for the Mid-South Food Bank to the event.

The event is sponsored by the Memphis Bar Association and its Young Lawyers Division, Tennessee Bar Association, Association for Women Attorneys, Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association, Memphis/Mid-South Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, University of Memphis Student Bar Association, University of Memphis Law Alumni Association, Tennessee Association for Justice, Association of Legal Administrators, Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance, Legal Professionals of Memphis and Memphis area court reporters. Community sponsors include BankTennessee, IPSCO, Alpha Reporting Corp., The Marston Group, RocketFuel, Brewer Detective Agency, The Daily News, Federated P.I., Mid-South Drug Testing Shred Shop.

Other events scheduled during Law Week include:

April 17, 4-6:30 p.m.
Legal Lines – Volunteers with the MBA Young Lawyers Division will answer legal inquiries live on WREG News Channel 3. Volunteers are needed to work 30 minute shifts Please contact Mary Wu or Nicole Bermel Dunlap to get involved.

April 28, 10 a.m.
Naturalization Ceremony – The MBA will hold its annual naturalization ceremony on April 28 beginning at 10 a.m. at The Cannon Center, 255 N Main St., Memphis, TN 38103. Volunteers are needed to assist in handing out programs and American flags to new citizens. To get involved call the MBA at (901) 527-3574.

May 2, Noon
Memorial Service – The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) will hold its 2014 Memorial Service May 2 at noon on May 2 at the downtown Calvary Episcopal Church. Attorneys who died in the past year who will be honored include: Fred Acuff, Alex Barnett, Howard R. “Roy” Berkenstock Jr., James C. Blackburn, Malford A. Blankenship, Leo J. Buchignani, Susan McKwen Clark, Bill Clifton, Elizabeth Tansil Collins, Clarence J. Colbert Jr., Thomas E. Crawford, Lundy Webb Daniel, David M. Discenza, Gayden Drew IV, Dauphine Mahoney Garthright, Lyman Christian Harrell III, Leroy L. Hidinger Jr., Evie Randolph Horton, W. Thomas Hutton, Paul D. Leitch, Col. Paul J. McClure Jr., James McMahon, Etandra Fenae Miller Douglas, Charles A. Sevier, G. Donald Siemer, William J. Simmons, Sonja White-Simpson, Cecil D. Smith, Frank T. Stegbauer, Stephen K. Tapp, Richard S. Wade and William C. Wilson. Those who would like to submit a memorial about any of the deceased should email Mary Lynes or call her at (901) 527-3573.

April 25
Jackson Madison County Bar Association
Law Day Luncheon

The Jackson Madison County Bar Association will hold its Law Day luncheon April 25 at 11:30 a.m. in Clayton Hall at the First United Methodist Church in Jackson. Tickets are $15 for members and $18 for non-members. Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom, a partner with Lewis Thomason and a past president of the Tennessee Bar Association, will be the keynote speaker.

Contact Kathryn Tucker to RSVP.

May 1
Nashville Bar Association
Law Day Luncheon

The Nashville Bar Association (NBA) will hold its annual Law Day Luncheon May 1 at the Downtown Renaissance Hotel. The Hon. Alberto R. Gonzales, former U.S. Attorney General and newly named dean of Belmont University College of Law, will be the keynote speaker. Gonzales served as counsel to George W. Bush during his days as governor of Texas and then joined him in Washington, D.C., as the first Hispanic White House counsel. He also served as the Texas Secretary of State and as a state Supreme Court Justice. He joined the Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden in 2011. He has served as the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law at the Belmont College of Law since moving to Tennessee. The event is sponsored by First Tennessee Bank.

Aegis Science Corporation Academy of Health Science and Law at McGavock High School will receive the Liberty Bell Award. Victor S. "Torry" Johnson III, Davidson County's district attorney, will receive the Norman Award.

Tickets purchased before April 24 are $50 per person. The price goes up to $60 after that date. Sponsorships are available for $475 by April 24 or $575 after that date. Sponsorship includes 10 tickets and recognition in the program.

May 1
Smyrna Municipal Court
Law Day Celebration

Members of the public and local legal community are invited to celebrate Law Day on May 1 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Smyrna Justice Center, 400 Enon Springs Road East. Tours of the Smyrna Municipal Court will include a viewing of art created by local elementary and middle school students. The art reflects the themes of justice and the law, and awards will be presented in each grade level. A brief program will begin at 5:15 p.m. in the courtroom with Dr. John Vile, constitutional scholar and dean of the MTSU Honors College, giving remarks. Light refreshments and other fun activities will be available for families. Earlier in the day, Smyrna Town Judge, Keta J. Barnes, will have Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary R. Wade as her guest at the Smyrna Rotary Club meeting to commemorate Law Day.

May 2
Knoxville Bar Association
Law Day Celebration

The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) will hold its annual Law Day Celebration May 2 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Knoxville Hilton, 501 W. Church Ave. Attendees will hear from Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Holly Kirby, who was recently appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, and Cheryl G Rice, with Egerton McAfee Armistead & Davis PC, who serves on the Governor's Commission for Judicial Appointments. The pair will discuss why voters should care about how judges are elected and appointed in Tennessee. Kirby was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in December 2013 to replace retiring current Justice Janet Holder. Kirby will take office in the fall.

The event also will include recognition of area High School Mock Trial teams and presentation of the Law & Liberty Award, which recognizes members of the community who have used the legal system to advance and protect personal, political and civil liberties.

Also as part of the association’s celebration, its young lawyers group, the Barristers, will present an educational video to area third grade classes. This year's video, "Junior Judges:  Helping Kids Make Smart Choices," depicts seven real-life scenarios for students to judge what options they have in tough situations and encourage them to make smart choices. Topics include cheating, destroying property, bullying, teasing, stealing, drugs and alcohol, gangs and weapons. Volunteers are needed to present the material. Those who are interested should contact Casey Carrigan or Matt Sherrod.

The buffet lunch opens at 11:30 a.m. The program will run from 12 – 1:30 p.m. Tables of 10 may be reserved in advance. Register by April 25.

May 9
Chattanooga Bar Association
Law Day USA Celebration

The Chattanooga Bar Association will hold its annual Law Day celebration May 9 at the Chattanooga Convention Center Marriott. The event begins at noon and will feature an address by veteran civil rights attorney Dr. Fred Gray of Alabama. Gray began his legal career in the midst of the civil rights movement. As a sole practitioner, less than a year out of law school, and at age 24, he represented Mrs. Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat for a white man on a city bus. Her action initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Gray also served as the first civil rights lawyer for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Since those heady days, he has developed a distinguished legal career spanning more than 45 years.

The celebration also will feature the presentation of the association’s Liberty Bell Award.

Tickets for the event and lunch are $45 for CBA members, or $55 for members who also would like a copy of Dr. Gray's book "Bus Ride To Justice.”

The event is sponsored by the Hamilton County Herald, FirstBank, IPSCO, LEXUS of Chattanooga, First Tennessee, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, Chattanooga Bar Foundation, City of Chattanooga, Duncan Hatcher Hixson & Fleenor, Federal Bar Association and The Justices Ray L. Brock Jr. and Robert E. Cooper American Inn of Court.