Tulsa Bar Association Announces Law Day Events

Managing Editor

LAWYER OUTREACH: The Tulsa County Bar Association and Foundation offer numerous community outreach programs, including Law Day activities on May 1. Back row, from left, TCBA Executive Director Kevin Cousins, TCBA President Jim Hicks and President-Elect Ken Williams. Front row, from left, TCBA member Rodney Buck, public relations chairman Ken Ray Underwood and TCBA member Paul Naylor.

EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers

Tulsa lawyers want to see students embrace what the United States stands for—democracy, the rule of law and freedom.

That is why each year, the Tulsa County Bar Foundation, in conjunction with Tulsa County Bar Association (), makes a special effort to spread the word about Law Day, held on May 1.

Law Day was initially established in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower in response to the communist celebration, which also falls on May 1 and is dedicated to the political, philosophical and social policies of Communism.

One of the many activities occurring in association with Law Day is an art and writing contest for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. “This gives students the opportunity to learn and be engaged in what the legal system does for our nation,” says contest organizer Rodney Buck, who has been involved with the annual contest for 15 years.

The theme this year, Democracy and You, “gives youths the opportunity to see how democracy affects them,” says Buck. “We hope it creates a spark in kids to have a greater interest in the legal system and in government.”

Two categories are available to enter for each grade level: artwork and writing. Therefore, two winners will be chosen per grade. Cash prizes range from $35 to $100.

In addition to the cash prize, “for older students the contest provides an opportunity to use the essay on college or scholarship applications,” says public relations chairman Ken Ray Underwood.

Visit tulsabar.com for contest rules and entry forms. The deadline for entry is April 11.

Other Law Day activities include a 12-hour call-a-thon on May 1 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., where citizens can call and gain legal advice from practicing lawyers. An immigration clinic is also being planned to answer questions regarding U.S. citizenship.

During the full week of Law Day, April 28-May 2, the foundation will provide civic programs to area schools to educate students on democracy and the value of freedom. Past presentations have been given by Judge Daman Cantrell, Judge Richard Woolery and lawyers who discuss the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, jury duty and other subjects.

was founded more than 110 years ago. During that time, its members have accrued a long list of ways in which they have helped the community through both the association’s and the foundation’s efforts.

“There are so many facets to what the organization does,” says Executive Director Kevin Cousins. One program he points to is the association’s lawyer referral service, which connects citizens with a lawyer with expertise in the problem they are facing. While this service is not free, in exchange for the $25 fee, which covers administration costs, clients receive a half-hour consultation.

“People don’t know where to turn for advice. We want to give them direction,” Cousins says. “(Having legal problems) is like being dropped into a foreign land.”

The association also endeavors to aid veterans by offering legal representation and guidance in creating a will or trust. Its pro bono committee provides legal representation to people unable to afford counsel. Members of also benefit themselves by receiving regular legal education on new laws and practices.

However, it’s the foundation’s nonprofit outreach efforts that give Cousins the most pride.

Those activities include annual programs such as Lawyers Fighting Hunger – a food distribution program – and Santa Brings a Law Suit, which provides business attire for men and women to use on their first day of work or for a job interview.

Through Lawyers Fighting Hunger, members distribute turkeys and food boxes to needy Oklahoma families. With the help of members, local businesses and individuals across the state, Lawyers Fighting Hunger raised over $80,000 last year, which brought Thanksgiving turkeys to thousands of families.

Members have also provided aid to individuals entering assisted living facilities, painted houses and worked with Habitat for Humanity.

Simply put, Cousins sums up the mission of both the association and foundation, “Our outreach is lawyers trying to give back.”

Updated 02-25-2014

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