CHARLESTON, (W.Va.) – A Law Day civics education program that is now accepting
entries for its second year has won a national award for its inaugural project in 2021.
The West Virginia State Bar Women in the Profession Committee recently received a
Law Day Outstanding Activity Award from the American Bar Association. The ABA
recognized that the program “achieved broad outreach to the community and engaged
target audiences in meaningful conversations to help foster understanding about the rule
of law in our society” despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Law Day Contest allowed students to choose between two themes –
“Advancing the Rule of Law Now” or “Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The
19th Amendment at 100.”
Students across West Virginia participated in the contest, which allowed them to choose
among the following forms for their submissions: essay-writing, poetry, songwriting and
performance, poster creation, and social media marketing. There were 128 entries from
every region of the state. Cash prizes were given for winners in each category in each of
the three school levels and for overall “best in show.” Many of the award-winning entries
are available on Twitter at #WVLawDay2021. Leading up to Law Day, the Women in the
Profession Committee also hosted a virtual panel discussion where women engaged in
various positions within the judicial system discussed the education and training required
for their jobs and what they do. The panel was recorded, posted to YouTube, and
disseminated to teachers and members of the legal community for educational use.
This year’s Law Day theme is “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times
of Change.” The deadline for submissions is April 1 and entry packets are available at
Participating students will be invited to a virtual presentation by the Supreme Court of
Appeals and a virtual tour of the Supreme Court of Appeals Courtroom. Middle and high
school-level participants will also be invited to a virtual tour of the West Virginia
University College of Law and a panel discussion with law students.
The committee is led by attorneys Jami Cooper and Lee Hall, while Circuit Judge Bridget
Cohee, Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties), led
work on the Law Day program.
“It was so exciting to be recognized when it was our first effort as a committee to put
together a statewide contest,” Judge Cohee said. “I really hope it continues to be a way
for courts to engage students and for students to learn about the courts.”
“Law Day is a longstanding tradition in this country, and our Law Day Contest is such a
wonderful way for West Virginia’s students to learn about our legal system,” Ms. Cooper
said. “The State Bar Women in the Profession Committee is proud of the success of its
first Law Day program, which was the result of support we received from the Supreme
Court of Appeals, the State Bar, several local bar associations, several law firms, West
Virginia’s educators, and, last but certainly not least, the students who participated.”
As a 2021 Law Day Outstanding Activity Award winner, the State Bar Women in the
Profession Committee’s program was publicly recognized during the ABA’s 2022 Law
Day Virtual Launch program on March 8 and featured in the ABA’s online showcase of
outstanding Law Day programs.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded Law Day in 1958 to celebrate the role of law in
America. Law Day events are held on or near May 1.