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Law Day in the United States

Law Day in the United States of America (USA) is celebrated on May 1 each year. It also falls on the same day as Loyalty Day in the USA.

Is Law Day a Public Holiday?

Law Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

People take the time to appreciate the law on Law Day.

©iStockphoto.com/arturbo

What Do People Do?

Law Day is a special day aimed to help people appreciate their liberties and to affirm their loyalty to the United States, especially with regard to equality and justice. It also aims to cultivate respect for the law, which is vital to the democratic way of life.

Supported by organizations such as the American Bar Association, this day is an opportunity for people to recognize and discuss the role of courts in the United States. To celebrate Law Day, some local bar associations may hold a luncheon with guest speakers on various legal topics relevant to modern society.

Law Day activities may include: fundraising events and tasks; community outreach activities linked with talking points about the law; poster and essay contests; and interactive school lessons and role plays on legal topics such as the concept of separation of powers and the United States Constitution. In Florida the week of May 1 is Law Week, coinciding with Law Day.

Public Life

Law Day is an observance and is not a federal public holiday in the United States. Schools, post offices, stores and other businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport services run to their usual schedules and no extra congestion on highways is to be expected.

Background

Law Day originated in 1957 when American Bar Association President Charles Rhyne envisioned a special day for celebrating the US legal system.  On February 3, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower established Law Day by issuing a proclamation.  Every president since then has issued an annual Law Day proclamation. In 1961, May 1 was designated by joint resolution of Congress as the official date for celebrating Law Day.

According to the Legal Information Institute, the President is requested to issue a proclamation, calling on all public officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Law Day; and inviting the people of the United States to observe Law Day, with appropriate ceremonies and in other appropriate ways, through public entities and private organizations and in schools and other suitable places. Previous Law Day themes included “Justice for All”, “Foundations of Freedom”, and “Struggle for Justice”.

Symbols

Symbols and images describing Law Day may feature the scales of justice, which represent the legal profession and justice. Representations of the mythological Lady of Justice are also associated with the law and the legal profession. She usually carries a sword and scales and may sometimes wear a blindfold. Almost always draped in flowing robes, she symbolizes the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, prejudice, or favor.

Law Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SatMay 1Law DayObservance 
2011SunMay 1Law DayObservance 
2012TueMay 1Law DayObservance 
2013WedMay 1Law DayObservance 
2014ThuMay 1Law DayObservance 
2015FriMay 1Law DayObservance 
2016SunMay 1Law DayObservance 
2017MonMay 1Law DayObservance 
2018TueMay 1Law DayObservance 
2019WedMay 1Law DayObservance 
2020FriMay 1Law DayObservance 

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