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Court Observance Week 2014
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October 13-17, 2014
Theme: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A LEGAL PROFESSIONAL: FROM SHADOWS TO THE SPOTLIGHT

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.

Today, 40 years after the proclamation was signed, NALS continues each year to recognize the second full week of October as Court Observance Week. To highlight its 40th year, NALS New Legal Professionals’ Task Force has created not only a theme, A Day in the Life of a Legal Professional: From Shadows to the Spotlight, but a nationwide initiative… a NALS Job Shadowing Day!  This program, if implemented in each and every NALS state and local chapter, will serve as a nationwide initiative to introduce the legal profession, and the court system, to students.

Program Overview:

The Court Observance Job Shadowing Day is a cooperative project of NALS…the association for legal professionals, its state and local chapters, and local businesses.

Groups of local high school seniors and/or college students will spend one day with lawyers, judges, or other professionals, such as police or sheriff officers, court clerks, or court reporters.  They experience some of the day-to-day activity of these professionals and observe their relationship to both criminal and civil laws. Legal professionals may wish to carry out a mock trial demonstration or engage the students in some other type of experiential activity, such as writing a simple contract or will.

Steps to Implement this Program in YOUR Chapter:

    Exhibit A: Sample Employer Letter | Sample Employer Application
    Exhibit B: Sample Educator Letter | Sample Student Application
    Exhibit C: Sample Completion Certificate

    We encourage every member, chapter, and committee to organize, publicize, and participate in an event during the week of October 13-17, 2014, in celebration of the constitutional freedoms our courts protect.  Our courts must be open and available to accomplish that goal. To make your Job Shadowing Day program even better, you could include some additional events, such as: 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.

    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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