Law Day Essay Contest 2016

About the 2018 Law Day Theme

Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom

The U.S. Constitution sets out a system of government with distinct and independent branches—Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court. It also defines legislative, executive, and judicial powers and outlines how they interact. These three separate branches share power, and each branch serves as a check on the power of the others. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” James Madison explained in Federalist 51. Why? Madison believed that the Constitution’s principles of separation of powers and checks and balances preserve political liberty. They provide a framework for freedom. Yet, this framework is not self-executing. We the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and advancing our rights. The Law Day 2018 theme enables us to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working for ourselves and our posterity.

Law Day 2018 Planning Guide

Download the 2018 Law Day Planning Guide

Packed with useful information for planning Law Day activities that incorporate the theme "Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom," the 2018 Law Day Planning Guide is a great resource for Law Day planners and organizers. Visit our planning guide web pagefor lesson plans and additional resources.

Law Day 2017 Award Winners

A great deal of effort, hard work, and creativity goes into planning and implementing Law Day activities. Take a look at our 2017 Law Day Outstanding Activity Award winners to learn about how they planned activities around the theme, "The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy."

Law Day Products

Law Day 2018-themed products are now available in the ABA Webstore. Items include t-shirts, mugs, bags, postcards, and more. Shop today while supplies last.

Download Law Day Artwork

Click here to view and download Law Day 2018 in a variety of sizes and file formats.

View ABA President Hilarie Bass's Law Day 2018 Message

FAQs About Law Day

What is Law Day?

Law Day is held on May 1st every year to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. Learn more about the history of Law Day and past themes here.

How can I receive updates about Law Day 2018?

Click here to sign up for updates and announcements as we gear up for the 2018 Law Day theme. Be the first to know when Law Day planning guides, teaching resources, products, and other useful items become available.

Where can I find Law Day products?

Law Day products are available in the ABA Webstore. Shop while supplies last. Sign up for updates to learn more about product availability.

The Senior Lawyers Division sponsors an exciting statewide Law Day Essay Contest and encourages all local Bars to participate!

For the past several years the Spartanburg County Bar Association, under the leadership of Judge Mark Hayes, has sponsored an essay contest on constitutional issues. Approximately 400 students in grades 9-12 in the public schools of Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties have participated. Teachers in each school choose the best student essays from each grade. The winning essays were then submitted to the Spartanburg County Bar Association, which, in turn, chose the best essay from each grade and the best overall essay.    

On Law Day the county bar invited the winning students, their teachers, parents and friends to the courthouse, where all of the students were publically honored and each grade winner presented a $100 check and the overall winner a $500 check. In addition, each student was given a plaque and a medal. The event generates media attention and excitement among the participants. More importantly, the students are involved in the study of the rule of law, our judicial system and the U.S. Constitution.

For the statewide contest, the Senior Lawyers Division will receive submissions from each participating county or group of counties. From these essays, a winner will be chosen for each grade, as well as an overall winner. The winning students will be recognized and presented with a $500 check and the overall winner with a $1,000 check. Appropriate plaques and medals will also be presented. Homeschooled students are also encouraged to participate.

This is a marvelous opportunity for lawyers to interact with the community and, more importantly, to stimulate the interest of our youth in our judicial system and the rule of law. Links to the Local and State 2017 Law Day Essay Contest Packets are below. The theme is The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy. If you are interest in participating in this project, please contact Judge Mark Hayes at (864) 562-4144 or

2018 Law Day Essay Packet 2016 Winning Essay 2017 Winning Essay

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