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Court Observance Week 2013
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October 14-18, 2013
Theme: OUR COURTS, WORKING TO ASSURE THE SURVIVAL AND SUCCESS OF LIBERTY

Gerald R. Ford
XXXVIII President of the United States: 1974-1977
Proclamation 4327 – National Legal Secretaries’ Court Observance Week, 1974
October 14, 1974

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Our vast and complex system of justice cannot function without the skill and dedication of our Nation’s legal secretaries. Without these unsung heroes of the legal process, the wheels of justice would grind to a permanent halt. They deserve the praise, gratitude and respect not only of their employers but of the system which they serve so well. One way in which their employers can demonstrate their appreciation for jobs well done is by giving their legal secretaries greater opportunities to observe courtroom proceedings—to see more of the system in action.

To pay tribute to this fine group of Americans and to encourage their exposure to courtroom proceedings, the Congress by House Joint Resolution 898 of the Ninety-third Congress, has requested the President to proclaim the second full week of October [1974], as National Legal Secretaries’ Court Observance Week.

On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was sworn into office as the 35th President of the United States.  Over the years, the most quoted line from his inaugural speech has been “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”  Over the years, this simple phrase has often been a rallying cry to bring people together to act in the best interests of our Nation. It seems only fitting that, on the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, we look again to his inaugural speech for inspiration.  This year’s Court Observance theme is taken from a lesser known line in his speech, Our Courts, Working to Assure the Survival and Success of Liberty.

While the United States was in the midst of a cold war and this line was used to remind the world that America would do whatever was necessary to assure the survival and success of liberty, the same can be said of our Court system that has, for over 200 years worked to assure liberty and justice for all.

Today, 39 years after the proclamation was signed, NALS continues each year to recognize the second full week of October as Court Observance Week. How will your chapter recognize this event?

We encourage every member, chapter, and committee to organize, publicize, and participate in an event during the week of October 14-18, 2013, in celebration of the constitutional freedoms our courts protect.  Our courts must be open and available to accomplish that goal. Some of your events could include: mock trial for staff members in your firm  and invite staff members from other firms in your area to attend as well. Coordinate and promote a courthouse tour. The possibilities are limited only by your creativity and dedication. For more ideas, check out what other chapters have done in the past. An internet search using the term “court observance week” will produce several useful links. And while you’re there, take time to read the full text of President Ford’s proclamation on The American Presidency Project’s website. It’s just another reminder of the importance of your contribution to the legal community.

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