Kings County legal eagles celebrated the First Amendment at the annual Law Day celebration at the Supreme Court on May 8.
In his keynote address, Nicholas Allard — the former Dean of Brooklyn Law School — spoke of the need to educate people on law and government.
“The event was great, and really important,” said Allard. “Civic education is the obligation of everyone in the legal profession, and is essential for civic democracy. I hope that legal educators, and lawyers, and judges continue to educate the public about how our system works, however imperfect it may be.”
Allard began his lecture with a quote from Founding Father Thomas Paine about the turbulent 1700s.
“I chose that quote because we are in this revolutionary moment, and people are talking about how anxious they are about our future, which is exactly what that quote was about,” he said. “But, that quote wasn’t just a theoretical, passive quote. It was a call to action, to use your rights to defend freedom.”
Various speakers lectured audience members of the importance of defending the freedom of speech and the press, according to Allard.
“Our administrative Judge Lawrence Marks identified several specific examples where the legal system was deficient, and the press revealed that deficiency,” he said. “Even though the news was tough and unflattering, it prodded the bar to improve our legal system.”
The First Amendment served as a particularly relevant topic today, said Allard, given the misinformation and criticisms from certain elected leaders.
“I always feel that Law Day is incredibly important, and sadly, I feel that this year’s topic is not just important, but extremely timely.”