After voting for national independence from Great Britain, America’s Second Continental Congress wrote its Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision to secede.
John Adams wrote about the events to his wife, Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”1
It took Congress two more days to approve the final wording of the document, but the Declaration of Independence is still celebrated the way Adams envisioned back in 1776.
Today, law firms should be especially reverent of this holiday, as 25 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were lawyers.
So, in honor of the birth of this nation, as well as the esteemed profession of law, below is a list of ways your law firm can celebrate this July 4 in a style to make Adams proud.
1. Host A Staff BBQ
Boost morale and camaraderie among your troops by hosting a July 4 BBQ. The key here? Organize it for July 5 or 6, so that your employees can share time off with their families on the 4th.
2. Surprise Employees With Time-Off
The British didn’t see it coming, so surprise your staff, too. Offer a second day off, in addition to July 4, to toast your team’s hard work.
3. Offer A July 4th Forum For Critique
The Colonies were disgruntled about not being heard by Great Britain, be careful your associates don’t feel the same. In the spirit of this holiday, ask your associates to fill out an anonymous review of the firm and assessment of employee satisfaction. Hopefully, by fostering an open and honest culture of communication and compromise at you firm, employees won’t be tempted to revolt.
4. Resurrect Casual Friday In Red, White, And Blue
It may seem silly, but bring back casual Friday this week. Encourage red, white, and blue attire and reward your firm’s most patriotic citizen with a gift card or cash. It’s a small token of appreciation, but a big step toward de-stressing your demanding office.
5. Donate Blood
The Founding Fathers were willing to shed it, so why not you? Go to the nearest hospital or blood bank to donate some red. In many cities (like at Boston’s Children’s Hospital) saving lives also gives you a chance to win a July 4 gift basket drawing. In 1776, blood was spilled in order to aid a people—let’s aim to do the same.
This year, register to vote. And, not just for the Presidential elections. Research the myriad of other elections happening in your area for judge, mayor, or Congressman. Encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same. More than 25,000 American Revolutionaries died defending the ideals of freedom, equality, and democracy. Make sure this sacrifice was not laid in vain by picking up a ballot.
7. Increase Pro Bono Work
Holidays spent with loved ones are another reminder that many Americans are without support. Law firms are fortunate to possess a skill in great demand for the less-able. Pledge to offer more free legal services that will commemorate our American pledge for “freedom and justice for all.”
8. Put Out Your Flags
Hang an American Flag outside your office. Alert your community that your firm supports this country, its troops, and its citizens.
9. Invite Your Neighbors To Fireworks, Cookout, Or A Special Event
Holidays are meant to be shared. Get to know your office neighbors, residents, and nearby businesses by inviting them to share in your July 4th celebration. Not only is getting to know the diverse local community an advantageous networking opportunity, it is decidedly very American.
10. Read, in its entirety, the Declaration of Independence
American history is full of literary and legal gems. One of them is the document we are celebrating this week. And, it’s vital—not just for nationalistic pride but also for democratic resolve—to honor our ancestors by rereading their history.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
At your law firm, as in life, it’s important to remember that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
1. “Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776, ‘Had a Declaration…’”. Adams Family Papers. Massachusetts Historical Society. Retrieved June 28, 2009.