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Buffalo Law Day includes Magna Carta speaker

Jonathan Smithers

Jonathan Smithers

Jonathan Smithers, vice president of the Law Society of England and Wales, will deliver the keynote address at the Bar Association of Erie County’s 2015 Law Day Luncheon.
The program begins at noon Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. Tickets are $35 and the event is open to the public. Call (716) 852-8687 for tickets or register online at

The 2015 national Law Day theme is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law.” This year marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the document that is widely considered to be the foundation for modern democracies. Smithers will discuss the relevance of the Magna Carta in today’s society.

Each year, as legal communities across the country pay tribute to the justice system, the Bar Association of Erie County honors those who have distinguished themselves in service to the law:

The Liberty Bell Award, presented annually in recognition of service that has strengthened the American system of justice, will be presented to Lt. Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul.

The Justice Award, bestowed only when circumstances warrant, based on efforts that have contributed substantially to improvements in the justice system, will be presented to the Family Court Help Desk/Federal Court Pro Se Assistance Program and SUNY Buffalo Law School Pro Se Civil Litigation Support Practicum.

The Special Service Award to Bernadette Maguda, lead case technician, Social Security Administration, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The award recognizes a nonlawyer connected with a government agency or the court system who has provided outstanding service to the legal community.

The Police Officer Award, recognizing service that strengthens the justice system, to Joseph Dubreville, special agent (retired), Department of Homeland Security, and Christopher S. Weber, senior investigator, New York State Police.

The Media Award, recognizing exceptional achievement in the print and electronic media, which strengthens our system of justice under the law, to Adam Zyglis, editorial cartoonist at The Buffalo News.

Student awards will also be presented to winners of the bar association’s annual Law Day Poster Contest and to Clarence High School, winners of the 2015 High School Mock Trial Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.