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Law Day

Law Day is an annual observance noted in the legal community for more than 60 years. These resources celebrate the law and bring to life the role of students, the courts, and the Constitution in times of change.

Law Day, celebrated on May 1 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. Eisenhower, a former five-star Army general during World War II, saw first-hand what happens when the rule of law breaks down. As the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, he directed multi-lateral military operations on land, sea, and air in Europe.

2024 Law Day Theme: Voices of Democracy

Throughout his career as a lawyer and Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, Thurgood Marshall was a powerful voice for justice. From his earliest days as a lawyer, he worked through the legal system to create educational opportunities for students to learn together.

The "Thurgood Marshall: Strategist for Student Opportunities" presentation (pptx) focuses on five strategies he used to open doors to equal opportunities for education. The presentation includes optional narration for the presenter and discussion-starter questions. The presentation can be used as it is or it can be customized by judges, lawyers, and classroom teachers at the middle school and high school levels and beyond.

The presentation is evergreen and can be combined with a variety of educational resources.

Activities for Law Day/Month

Classroom Presentation Package

In addition to the Thurgood Marshall presentation, a Brown v. Board of Education and Thurgood Marshall section includes:

  • A student reenactment related to Brown v. Board of Education
  • A student reenactment on Mendez v. Westminster
  • A profile of Justice Marshall

Audiences and Learning Objectives

The content is appropriate for middle school through high school students and it supports national curriculum standards for social studies. The learning objectives include:

  • Providing practical, teen-relevant examples of the role of courts in a democratic society.
  • Providing relatable stories about Thurgood Marshall and how the rule of law is the foundation for orderly and lasting social change.
  • Heightening awareness of how today’s students, like Thurgood Marshall, can work through the court system to overcome adversity.


Sample Agenda: 50-Minute Class Featuring a Federal Judge Guest

Teachers who invite a local federal judge to make a classroom visit might consider this approach.

  • 5 minutes | The teacher sets the stage for the class and refers to the selected video that the students have viewed in advance.
  • 10 minutes | The federal judge introduces himself/herself and discusses what happens at the local federal court and shares their pathway to the bench.
  • 20 minutes | The judge shows the PowerPoint on how Thurgood Marshall worked through the courts.
  • 20 minutes | Q/A session with the judge

Optional Classwork Before Visit

DISCLAIMER: These resources are created by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for educational purposes only. They may not reflect the current state of the law, and are not intended to provide legal advice, guidance on litigation, or commentary on any pending case or legislation.