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Court Observance Week 2011
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October 10-14, 2011

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.

When President Gerald Ford made his National Legal Secretaries’ Court Observance Week proclamation in 1974, he established the basis for a tradition of recognizing the skill and dedication of our nation’s legal secretaries and the value of their contribution to the system we serve. That tradition has continued for 37 years, and this year’s theme – Lest We Forget – is intended to be a reminder not only of the tradition of recognizing legal professionals but also to remind us that we should take time to honor others whose dedication and sacrifice made a lasting impact on our everyday lives.

2011 is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 offenses. Her remembrance of those events inspired NALS past-president Mary Burns, PP, PLS, to suggest this year’s theme. We encourage every member, chapter and committee to organize, publicize and participate in an event during the week of October 10-14 to promote the involvement of the legal professionals in our court system and to honor the memory of those lost on September 11, 2001. One way we can refresh our remembrance of the 9/11 legacy is to review H. R. 3162 enacted October 24, 2001, titled “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001.” It is landmark legislation. It enhances national security but also compromises many personal rights that we have taken for granted in the past. TSA searches at airports, compromised privacy protections, relaxed standards for government interception of oral and electronic communications, roving surveillance authority… we’re all affected.

What can you do to get involved? Get a committee together with your local chapter mates to coordinate and promote a courthouse tour. Plan a CLE event featuring an effect of the USA PATRIOT Act. Need more ideas? Network with your NALS friends, or search the internet to learn what other chapters have done in the past. A search using the term “court observance week” will produce several useful links. And while you’re online, take time to read the full text of both President Ford’s proclamation and the USA PATRIOT Act …lest we forget.

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