Law Day is annual cooperative program of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation and the Nebraska Supreme Court conducted during the first week of May. Piloted in Lincoln Public Schools in 2002, the program went statewide in 2003. Since then, many communities and thousands of school children have participated in a series of events including 5th grade job shadowing as well as students witnessing traveling argument sessions by Judges and other guest speakers.
Originating in 1958 when President Dwight Eisenhower issued his first presidential proclamation on the subject, Law Day is recognized officially on May 1st. The United States continues Eisenhower's vision by continuing to set aside the first day of May to celebrate the foundation in which our country functions, and how law affects each and every citizen. The theme of Law Day 2023 was "Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration". Traditionally, the President offers a Special Proclamation concerning the theme of each year as well.
Groups of fifth graders spend an hour or more with trial court lawyers, judges, court clerks, court reporters and other professionals such as law enforcement officials. The students experience "a day in the life" of these professionals with various hands-on activities.
Thank you to Pawnee County Court officials, Judge Rick Smith, Clerk Magistrate LaRita Weber and Assistant Clerk Julie Kuhl who hosted Law Day Job Shadowing for this years 5th Graders from Pawnee City, Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer and Lewiston Schools.
They were assisted by Attorney Diane Merwin, Sheriff Braden Lang, Pawnee County Attorney Emily Sisco and HTRS students, Gabby Siegel and Ashlyn Holley.
This year's event included a welcome by Judge Smith, a Mock Trial and a glimpse of court records from the mid 1800's and how technology has evolved to today's current record keeping. Last but not least-red, white & blue star cookies were presented to the "Star 5th Grade Students!"
Also, a large thanks to Judge Martinez, the Sarpy County Attorney's Office, the Sarpy County Public Defender's Office, the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office and Corrections, the Victim Witness Unit and the 911 Operations and Emergency Management for the great Law Day Job Shadowing for 5th Graders. Students from Trumble Park Elementary and Lavista West Elementary School had a fantastic time.
Law Day activities may include students visiting government offices or their local courthouse accompanied with chaperones. Legal professionals may carry out a mock trial demonstration or engage the students in an activity such as writing a simple contract or a will. If you would like your school to participate, please contact the Bar Foundation at 402-475-1042 or complete the interest form here.
Orientation videos have been created especially for Job Shadowing students, parents and teachers. The student orientation contains a welcome and short background on Law Day and Job Shadowing. It then discusses the three branches of government, going to the courthouse, careers available at the courthouse as well as job shadowing etiquette.
Orientation also helps teachers prepare their students for job shadowing in advance of their visits to the courthouses. It suggests they discuss with their students the three branches of government, careers in the law, technologies used in those careers, and the trial process. It also allows teachers to introduce a related vocabulary, which is posted on this web page.