1101 Market Street, 11th Floor • Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: 215-238-6300 •

April 28, 2004

City-Wide Law Week Pays Homage to Brown v. Board of Education

Paying homage to every American child’s right to accessible, equal education, the Philadelphia Bar Association will kick off its annual Law Week celebration on Monday, May 3, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on Brown v. Board of Education. The Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association will converge on schools and community forums alike, sharing, with their Philadelphia neighbors, the validity and workings of the U.S. legal system, and its monumental impact on opening the classroom door to all the nations’ children.

Beginning May 3 and running through May 7-May 1 is nationally recognized as Law Day-the Young Lawyers Division will not only be interacting with city students in their schools, they will also be donating legal advice to area residents, helping to welcome the newest American citizens, and immersing Philadelphia students into the life of an attorney-in the office and the courtroom. Binding the week with this year’s theme, the Bar Association will host a special, invitation-only commemoration of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. This unique program will feature very personal testimonials from judges, attorneys and lay people who were involved with and/or affected by the ruling which declared “separate but equal” education to be unequivocally unconstitutional. These testimonials will be followed by a reenactment of the key courtroom arguments from the case, performed by Philadelphia students.

During a week that features a host of special events and services reaching out to thousands of Philadelphia residents, there is sure to be something to benefit everyone:

Monday, May 3 - Monday kicks off a weeklong series of visits to Philadelphia school classrooms by volunteer Philadelphia judges and lawyers with the Judge in the Classroom and Lawyer in the Classroom programs. Judges and lawyers will visit more than 45 schools throughout the week to address students’ concerns about the law and answer questions about the legal profession. These programs will continue on Tuesday, May 4 and Thursday, May 6. For a detailed listing of where and when these programs will take place, please contact Dr. Ruth K. Horwitz at (215) 299-7840.

Additionally, a dramatic Naturalization Ceremony welcoming dozens of new United States citizens will be held in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the U.S. Courthouse, 6th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, at 10:30 a.m. Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Gabriel L.I. Bevilacqua will offer remarks at the ceremony and Judge Norma L. Shapiro will preside.

Tuesday, May 4 - Lawyers participating in the Stepping Out for Seniors program will meet with students to discuss areas of law the students are likely to encounter after graduation as they begin their adult lives. The program will cover a variety of issues, including renting a place to live, keeping a job, understanding consumer credit, paying taxes and getting married. This program will be held at Girls High School, Broad and Olney Streets.

Also on Tuesday, the Louis D. Brandeis Law Society will sponsor the Stu Agins Day of Service at the Rowan House, 325 N. 39th St., from 9-11:30 a.m. Participants in this program will conduct mock job interviews with the Rowan House residents to help prepare them for entering into the work force.

Wednesday, May 5 - The day will kick off with an invitation-only Brown v. Board of Education commemoration, from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Philadelphia School District Building, 21st St. and the Parkway.

At lunchtime, dozens of Philadelphia attorneys will gather to provide free, in-person legal advice at a Law Fair, from noon to 2 p.m., in the Center Court of the Gallery Mall in Center City. Attorneys will provide answers to legal questions on a broad range of topics, including landlord/tenant law, divorce and child custody matters, wills and estate planning, real estate law and employment law.

Also on Wednesday, free legal advice will be given to those who call the LegalLine hotline. From 5-8 p.m., area residents can call lawyers at (215) 238-6333 and have their legal questions answered free and confidentially. This program is being co-sponsored by the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll PC.

Thursday, May 6 - The crucial public service performed by citizens serving on juries will be recognized with a Juror Appreciation Day, hosted by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, in the Criminal Justice Center’s Jury Assembly Room from 8:30-9:15 a.m. Before prospective jurors begin their day of service, they will hear remarks acknowledging their commitment to civic duty from Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s University men’s basketball coach.

Later in the morning, the YLD will bring their Doctor/Lawyer in the Classroom program to students of the Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School, 23rd & Chestnut Streets, from 10:15 - 11:15 a.m. Through this program, a team of doctors and lawyers will discuss their careers with students.

Friday, May 7 - Volunteer attorneys will pair with high school students to provide a behind the scenes experience of their jobs by taking them to their offices and into the courts during the Lawyer for a Day program. Several city courtrooms will be open to allow the participants to observe the proceedings. The students will meet the volunteer lawyers at the Bar Association at 8:30 a.m., and will return to the Association’s 11th floor Conference Center at noon for a concluding lunch, during which students will recount their experiences and hear from various speakers.

The week-long law fest, sponsored by the 13,000-member Bar Association, is one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. All Law Week activities are under the direction of Association Chancellor-Elect Andrew A. Chirls and are coordinated by the Association’s Young Lawyers Division with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers.

For additional information, please visit the Bar Association’s Web site at Attorneys interested in volunteering for any Law Week 2004 program, should contact the Law Week co-chairs: YLD Chair-Elect Natalie Klyashtorny at (215) 893-3409 or Executive Committee Member Michael Hayes at (215) 772-7211.

Click here to read the Law Week Calendar.

# # #