This year, as many Americans are developing a renewed
appreciation for their freedoms, Law Day takes on a new
"It is fitting that the American people should remember with
pride and vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice
and quality under law," said President Dwight D. Eisenhower 45 years
ago, as he declared May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day. "It is our
moral and civil obligation as free men and as Americans to preserve
and strengthen that great heritage."
This year, the Oklahoma Bar Association decided to come up with
its own theme. Though the American Bar Association is focusing on
"Celebrate Your Freedom - Independent Courts Protect Our Liberties,"
in Oklahoma the theme is "American Heroes, Champions of Liberty."
The state and county bar associations have scheduled a variety of
events for May 1 to acknowledge the importance of law.
For the first time in recent memory, the Oklahoma County Bar
Association has partnered with the Oklahoma City University School
of Law to host a Law Day Luncheon. At the luncheon, the annual
Journal Record Award will be presented to an outstanding attorney,
and the Liberty Bell Award will be presented to a non-lawyer who has
made a significant contribution to the rule of law and/or the legal
The keynote speaker will be Louis Henkin, a legal scholar
credited with inventing the concept of international human rights.
The Columbia Law School professor will speak on "The Rule of Law and
Human Rights and Terrorism."
Henkin has served as a consultant to the United Nations, as an
adviser to the U.S. State Department during part of every decade
since the 1940s, and as a frequent member of the U.S. delegation to
international conferences and organizations. The author of several
books dealing with international law, Henkin is a former Guggenheim
Fellow and has received numerous awards from both domestic and the
American Society of International Law.
"We are fortunate indeed to have someone of Louis Henkin's
stature and experience in the world in international law and human
rights as our keynote speaker for Law Day," said Federal Magistrate
Judge Valerie Couch, president of the Oklahoma County Bar
Association. "His participation in our jointly sponsored Law Day
activities is yet another example of how our county bar association
benefits from the active presence of OCU Law School in our legal
Lawrence Hellman, Dean of the OCU School of Law, was able to get
Henkin to appear at the luncheon after making his acquaintance at a
conference, he said.
The university's participation in Law Day serves a dual purpose,
"It provides exposure to the profession and its culture for our
students and helps them to get involved," he said. "It also
stimulates those in the profession to reflect on the role of law and
the responsibility it brings.
"The relationship between Oklahoma City University School of Law
and the Oklahoma County Bar Association is close and mutually
beneficial," Hellman continued. "We at the law school are always
looking for opportunities for our students to interact with lawyers
and judges and to experience their deep commitment to core
professional values. …