Affiliated Associations

Court Observance Week

History of Court Observance Week:
Gerald 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.
Thus began the Court Observance Week tradition. For these past 40 years, NALS members have upheld the legacy established by this proclamation by sponsoring and participating in themed activities that promote understanding of courtroom procedures. The NALS Education Committee is charged with the responsibility of creating each year’s theme.

To read the full text of President Ford’s proclamation, visit The American Presidency Project’s website at It’s just another reminder of the importance of your contribution to the legal community.


Each year, RLSA participates in Court Observance Week. Past observances include putting on a mock trial at the John Marshall Courts Building -- The Estate of Hans Jensen v. White Star Line, a mostly true account of a case involving the operator of the R.M.S. Titanic. Hans Jensen and his finance, Carla Jensen, were passengers on the Titanic along with Carla’s uncle and cousin. Carla had quarters in the single woman’s section on the lower deck of the ship and left the Titanic in Life Boat 16. The evacuation process was supervised by Second Officer Lightoller, a witness in the trial. He was able to launch Collapsible Boat D, but this was the last lifeboat launched from the Titanic before it sank. As Boat D was being lowered past A-Deck, the other witness, Swedish Military Attache Bjornstrom-Steffanson, really did dive into the partially full lifeboat. The amazing story of Officer Lightoller being sucked under by the sinking ship and then blown back to the surface by an exploding boiler is also true. The account of what happened to Hans Jensen that night is speculation, however, because neither he, nor either of Carla’s relatives survived. The sinking of the Titanic deeply affected Carla and when she died in 1980, she was buried in the nightgown that she wore the night she was lowered in Lifeboat 16 into the dark, freezing waters of the North Atlantic.

In honor of the 2013 Court Observance Week, RLSA provided pastry trays to the Circuit Court Clerk's offices for the City of Richmond, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, and Hanover County.

For additional information on Court Observance Week, please contact Joyce Crostic at