The Virginia Law Foundation Rule of Law Project
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world.
Funded and supported by The Virginia Law Foundation, the Rule of Law Project seeks to change fundamentally the way the rule of law is taught in America’s schools. The Project is based on the underlying principle that, under the rule of law, the citizens make the laws, which are to be fairly and equally applied to everyone, and that the people agree to obey those laws. There can be no legitimate government without the consent of the governed. The rule of law is the tie that binds citizens together as a nation of diverse people. It sustains a constitutional representative form of democracy, an equitable and accessible legal system, a free-market economy, and civil society. None of this is possible without an independent judiciary that provides the critical check and balance against governmental overreaching and unjust laws. Teaching our children these lessons will make the rule of law relevant to them. If we do not, we will forget from where we came as a nation, and the rule of law as we know it will fade away, diminishing America’s role as a model for other nations to follow.
This unique educational program pairs members of local bar associations with middle school civics teachers to educate students about the origin, meaning and applicability of the rule of law as the basis of democratic ideals and institutions. This collaboration among teachers, lawyers and judges empowers students at a formative age to become active and engaged citizens as adults, and serves as a model program easily adaptable to social studies classes at any grade level.
G. Michael "Mike" Pace, Jr. developed the Rule of Law Project during his tenure as President of the Virginia Bar Association in 2008. In 2012, Mike retired as managing partner of the Roanoke Valley firm of Gentry, Locke, Rakes & Moore in order to devote more of his time to the Rule of Law Project. He founded the Center for Teaching the Rule of Law to serve both as an administrative organization to improve and extend the Rule of Law Project, but to serve as a resource for educators and citizen lawyers to foster a greater understanding of the role which the Rule of Law plays in American society and in fostering freedom and democracy throughout the world. After eight years as President and CEO of the Center, Mike moved to emeritus status.