Attorney Directory Need a Lawyer?

Bar President's Message


David N. Bazar, Esq., President, Rhode Island Bar Association

Teach Your Children Well

David N. Bazar, Esq.
President, Rhode Island Bar Association

My daughter would have benefited from being on a mock trial team or attending a Law Day presentation. As lawyers, we have many opportunities to help students understand our legal system.

I was driving to court the other day thinking about topics that would be appropriate for a President’s Message. I hope the fourth message is the most difficult. Then a song came on the radio. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young singing these lyrics:

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well

That was enough to get me thinking about an important topic. Teaching civics to our children has been an important issue for many years. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has made a post-court legacy developing iCivics to help bring civic knowledge to a new generation of students. It also reminded me of lessons I tried to teach to my children.

When my daughters were young, I had the pleasure of driving them from East Greenwich to the Providence Country Day School each morning. Well, at least until they turned 16. It was a time when children didn’t have cell phones so they actually had to talk to you. It really didn’t matter the topic; the discussion was what mattered. One Monday morning, I had to go to courtroom 4C for an arraignment in Sixth Division District Court. I told my daughter that we were going to court before she went to school. I thought that this would be a good chance for her to see how the justice system works.

We arrived in the courtroom before all the activity began. Apparently, the Providence Police had a busy weekend. While we were waiting for the judge to take the bench, the sheriffs led out prostitutes in handcuffs who had been rounded up the night before. Soon after they came out, the judge took the bench and my client was arraigned.

Once we got back to the car, I asked my daughter what she thought about the process. She responded, “I’m not sure about the process, but that jury was really sleazy.” My thought? I was really proud that she knew they had been put in the jury box.

My daughter would have benefited from being on a mock trial team or attending a Law Day presentation. As lawyers, we have many opportunities to help students understand our legal system. The RI Legal Education Foundation’s Mock Trial Tournament immerses students in a case that they have to both prosecute and defend. Attorneys participate in this program as performance judges, coaches, administrators and in countless other ways.

The next Law Day is Friday May 1, 2020. The theme is Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100. This is particularly appropriate for the Rhode Island Bar as we will also be celebrating Ada Sawyer and the 100th anniversary of the first woman being admitted to the Bar. If you have children in school or are otherwise connected to a school, inform them of the benefits of participating in Law Day and the Mock Trial program. I also encourage Bar members and the Judiciary to participate. You will find that it as rewarding for you as it is for the children you will be teaching well.