Law Day is a national day to celebrate the rule of law and its contribution to the freedoms Americans enjoy. President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958 to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. In 1961, Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day. Every president since then has issued a Law Day proclamation on May 1 to celebrate the nation’s commitment to the rule of law.
The whole idea of “Law Day” originated in Wewoka by the late Hicks Epton, a well-known local and state lawyer. Epton and the Seminole County Bar Association started it with a “Know Your Courts-Know Your Liberties” program at Wewoka on May 1, 1946, to pay tribute to the American system of justice and counterbalance communist celebrations held annually on that day.
In 1948, Epton and other members of the Seminole County Bar presented a special “Oklahoma Lawyers’ Forum” in Wewoka, which was so well received by an overflow crowd of 150 Rotary and Lions Club members, attorneys and other civic leaders, that similar programs were conducted before large crowds in Ada, Ardmore and Lawton.
Epton then promoted a celebration of Law Day at the University of Oklahoma in 1949, where it became an annual event and evolved into a state-wide celebration of the Oklahoma Bar Association, which gained national recognition in 1954 by the Freedom Foundation.
Since 1957, the American Bar Association has sponsored “Law Day” as a special day.
That same year, Congress and President Eisenhower, by presidential proclamation, set aside “Law Day” to celebrate our liberties each year.
The Seminole County Bar Association continues that tradition in Seminole County still today.