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Law Day 2000 Local County Activities

Clearfield County Bar Association
The Clearfield County Bar Association, along with more than 200 eleventh and twelfth grade students from seven area schools, kicked-off local Law Day festivities with a program at the Clearfield County Courthouse. Designed by the bar association to help students gain a better understanding of the rule of law, the program featured: a mock trial based on the Elian Gonzalez case; a tour of the courthouse, including the Sheriff’s Office where each student donned “fatal vision” goggles to simulate a high blood alcohol content; and closing ceremonies by President Judge John Reilly and Clearfield County Bar Association President John Ryan.

The bar association also took part in the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s statewide Law Week celebration, “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School,” by having over 10 local lawyers and judges visit eight middle and high schools.

Cumberland County Bar Association
The Cumberland County Bar Association organized a countywide Law Day 2000 celebration utilizing the “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School” Program. Under the leadership of Mary Kollas Kennedy, the Cumberland County Bar Association Law Day 2000 chair, 20 lawyers and four judges, including Judge Edgar Bayley, Judge Kevin Hess, Judge Edward Guido and Judge George Hoffer, volunteered to “go back to school” to visit schools in Cumberland County. K-12 classrooms in over 13 schools were visited throughout Law Week.

Dauphin County Bar Association
May 1 was the official start to the Dauphin County Bar Association’s Law Week activities, which included a visit by Dauphin County Bar President Jessie Smith, Pennsylvania Bar Association President Lou Teti and Temple-LEAP Executive Director David Trevaskis to an advanced civics and government class at Bishop McDevitt High School. Throughout the remainder of the week, 17 lawyers and five judges, including Judge John Cherry, Judge Scott Evans, Judge Richard Lewis, Judge Joseph Kleinfelter and Judge Jeannine Turgeon, visited over 20 classrooms in Dauphin County.

Delaware County Bar Association
Delaware County Bar Association President Michael Wenke stated in his “Law Day 2000 President’s Message” that Law Day is “more than just a single day . . . it is a call to action that will encompass weeks of programs and activities throughout Delaware County.” The Delaware County Bar Association kicked-off its Law Day celebrations in April with a series of law-related forums at high schools and the Delaware County Community College. In addition, a “Legal Help Line” was established, and a legal outreach program was held to provide members of the public with free 15 minute legal consultations. The association’s Law Day essay and art contests also were launched for all schools in Delaware County.

The formal Law Day ceremonies took place on May 1 at the Delaware County Courthouse. The bar association’s Themis Award, Liberty Bell Award and awards for the essay and art contests were presented during the program. Entertainment was provided by the Haverford High School Choral Group. To close the Law Day celebration, students from the Chester Academy, with assistance from Widener University School of Law students, took part in a mock trial before the judges of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas.

Erie County Bar Association
The Erie County Bar Association had a record-breaking year for its Law Day activities. Joining in the statewide celebration of “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School,” the bar association reported the following: 130 lawyers and five judges visited classrooms; 49 different schools participated; 196 individual classrooms were visited by judges and lawyers; and 5,200 students were reached.

One special note -- during one school visit, students from Edison Elementary School helped attorney Ed Betza draft an ordinance dealing with trucks using specific roads and weight criteria. The mayor of the township was so impressed with the ordinance that it is going to be implemented in the township.

To formally kick-off its Law Day activities, the association hosted its annual luncheon for 650 members of the bar and the community. Nationally-renowned Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht was the keynote speaker. In addition, the bar presented its Liberty Bell, Pro Bono and 50-Year Member awards during the luncheon.

Lawrence County Bar Association
Participating in the “Judge & Lawyers Go Back to School” Program, the Lawrence County Bar Association organized school visits for 25 of its members, ultimately reaching all public high schools in Lawrence County. The visits took place throughout Law Week.

The bar association’s Law Week celebration concluded with a program at the Lawrence County Courthouse. A group of ninth grade students toured the courthouse and jail and then visited with all three Lawrence Court of Common Pleas judges, including President Judge Ralph D. Pratt, Judge Dominick Motto and Judge J. Craig Cox. The bar association also launched its annual scholarship program, which awards two $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who win the association’s essay contest. This year’s essay subject asked students to decide whether Elian Gonzalez should be granted asylum in the United States.

Lebanon County Bar Association
Law Week 2000 in Lebanon County was a great success according to Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas Judge Samuel A. Kline, organizer of the county’s Law Week efforts. “We reached our goal here in Lebanon County of having a judge and lawyer ‘go back to school’ to every school district in Lebanon County including the Lebanon Catholic School System.” Thirteen bar association lawyers and three judges, including President Judge Robert J. Eby, Judge John C. Tywalk and Judge Samuel A. Kline, visited multiple schools around Lebanon County. The participants utilized and distributed the “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School” materials.

Monroe County Bar Association
Celebrating Law Day 2000 with the “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School” Program, the Monroe County Bar Association organized a countywide effort to get lawyers and judges into as many Monroe County schools as possible. This year over 32 lawyers joined with Judge Jerome P. Cheslock, Judge Ronald E. Vican, Judge Peter J. O’Brien and Judge Linda Wallach Miller in visiting 35 K-12 classrooms. Judge Miller served as the chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s statewide Law Day 2000 program.

Montgomery Bar Association
The Montgomery Bar Association kicked-off Law Week with its annual Law Day ceremony on April 28 in the Montgomery County Courthouse. The Honorable Joseph A. Smyth, president judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, presided over the ceremony at which the association honored members of the legal and nonlegal communities. The following awards were presented during the ceremony: the Young Lawyers Section High School Essay Contest, which required participants to address legislation concerning teen drivers; the Citizen’s Public Service Award; and the Henry Stuckert Miller Public Service Award. The bar association also honored Mt. St. Joseph’s Academy as the Southeastern Regional winner of the Statewide Mock Trial Competition. In addition, the Montgomery bar association had lawyers and judges visit classrooms across the county as part of the statewide “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School” Program.

Schuylkill County Bar Association
Joining in the celebration of Law Day 2000, the Schuylkill County Bar Association featured the statewide “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School” Program in its county. Twenty-five lawyers, along with Judge William Baldwin, visited with students at 10 Schuylkill County schools.

Somerset County Bar Association
Somerset County began its Law Week activities with a ceremony at the Somerset County Courthouse to honor the eight student winners of the 1999-2000 Courthouse Tour and Essay Contest. The theme for this year’s essay was “My Impressions of the Courthouse Tour.” The overall county winner of the contest received a $200 award during the ceremony and the other seven students each received a $100 award. President Judge Eugene E. Fike II, Judge John M. Cascio and Judge Kim R. Gibson presided over the ceremony, which was sponsored by the Somerset County Bar Association.

The bar association continued its celebration of Law Week by participating in the “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School” Program. Over 10 lawyers and judges visited six school districts in Somerset County.

Washington County Bar Association
The Washington County Bar Association put its plans for Law Day 2000 into action well in advance of May 1. In February of this year, the bar association was part of the local newspaper’s special edition of its “Shortcuts” kids page, which highlighted Law Day among the other upcoming activities designed to focus on the centennial celebration of the Washington County Courthouse. In addition, members of the bar association visited schools throughout March and April and spoke to students about the importance of the law. On May 1, the bar association officially kicked-off its Law Day celebration at the county courthouse with a ceremony in which the association honored the winners of its Liberty Bell Awards and Law Day poster, essay and photo contests. The Honorable Reggie B. Walton of the Washington DC Superior Court presided over the ceremony. In addition, numerous members of the bar and the judiciary, including Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca and Judge Thomas D. Gladden, visited local schools in support of the “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School” Program.

Westmoreland Bar Association
In recognition of Law Week, the Westmoreland Bar Foundation hosted a Chamber of Commerce BASH to showcase the county courthouse and to educate local business owners and leaders about the justice system at the county level. Members of the chamber were greeted by President Judge Loughran and county commissioners and were given private tours of the offices and courtrooms by members of the bar association. The local judges, county commissioners, district attorney and sheriff all supported the program.

In addition, 15 lawyers, one state representative and five judges, including Judge Al Bell, Judge John Blahovec, Judge Richard McCormick, Judge William Ober and Judge Debra Pezze, took part in the “Judges & Lawyers Go Back to School” Program. These individuals visited 13 schools in Westmoreland County.