A Message from ALF President Leslie R. Barineau

Leslie BarineauGreetings,

Law Day, celebrated on May 1st and throughout the month of May, has been a visible part of American legal culture since President Dwight D. Eisenhower established it in 1958 to celebrate the Rule of Law in a free society. The Rule of Law is “a set of principles, or ideals, for ensuring an orderly and just society.”

When we think about the Rule of Law, we must reference the signing of the Magna Carta by King John of England in 1215. Under Article 39, the life, liberty, and property of free subjects of the king could not be taken without the lawful judgment of the law of the land or judgment by its peers. The concept of due process developed from this ancient document wherein everyone is entitled to a fair and impartial hearing to determine their legal rights.  – American Bar Association

This year ABA President Mary Smith announced the 2024 Law Day theme – Voices of Democracy. She encouraged “Americans to lift our voices to maintain our system of laws and to ensure that our democracy endures.” How can we achieve this? Governor Kay Ivey urges “everyone to observe this day by renewing their commitment to democracy by becoming informed, participating in elections, and holding our elected officials accountable.”

No one is above the law.

As lawyers and citizens of Alabama and our great country, we play a vital role in upholding the Rule of Law. We have an opportunity to educate students and adults in our communities as to how our liberties are protected through the law and the legal process which ultimately contribute to the freedoms that Americans share.

I recently had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. with Tommy Wells, former President of the ABA, and Dawn Hathcock, our Executive Director, for Law Day. We met with some of our Congressional Representatives or their staff to request substantial funding for Legal Services Corporation (LSC). LSC was created to promote equal access to justice by providing funding assistance to civil legal aid programs that exist in every congressional district. According to the ABA, every state’s Chief Justice supports more funding for LSC.

It was fun to see some of my colleagues from other parts of the country participating in the same event, and I was proud once again to be representing ALF in this worthwhile endeavor.

“Being a lawyer is not merely a vocation. It is a public trust and each of us has an obligation to give back to our communities.” – Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney General

Warmest Regards,

Leslie R. Barineau

President, Alabama Law Foundation

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