Attorneys gather to read Declaration of Independence


– Photo by Roberta Gubbins

Defense lawyers recently took part in the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Capitol.

By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

Michigan criminal defense attorneys joined lawyers throughout the country standing on the steps of their local courthouses to pay homage to the nation’s freedom by reading aloud the Declaration of Independence.

The reading took place early last month on the East Steps of the Capitol in downtown Lansing.

The ceremony was part of a nationwide effort by attorneys to celebrate the historic proclamation that declared the American colonies free of the rule of King George III in 1776.

DUI attorney and Cooley adjunct professor Mike Nichols organized the effort in Michigan.

“The call went out from a lawyer in Texas and I simply volunteered,” he said. “Too many of us forget that our freedom is the result of a brave act of treason by the members of the Continental Congress who signed the document.”

Nichols, who learned of the tradition through his association with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, believed it was important for criminal defense attorneys to read the document out loud because they are the ones who defend the principles of freedom every day.

Those taking part in the reading came from as far away as Troy and included Nichols, Jared Austin, Josh Covert, Jeffrey E. Frounfelker, Stephen A. Milks, John C. Talpos and Nikolai Wasielewski.

Members of the public also were invited to read parts of the document.

According to the Houston Chronicle, criminal defense lawyer Robert Fickman began the tradition of mass readings, which also took place in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah, Texas and D.C., in addition to Michigan.