Vol. 28, No. 3
CBA President's Message to Members
In Honor of New Admittees
by Ben S. Aisenberg
Congratulations on your admission to the Colorado Bar.
On October 30, 1998, I had the privilege and honor of attending the swearing-in ceremony for new admittees to the Colorado Bar. The ceremony was held at the Boettcher Convention Center, an impressive auditorium that seats 2,800 people with a stage in the middle like a theater in the round. On the podium were members of the Colorado Supreme Court, a number of appellate and district court judges, and other public officials. There were approximately 1,000 in attendance. After the ceremony, I started to write a column about it, but somehow just couldn’t find the right words. Then I received the December 1998 newsBrief, the newsletter of the Rockland County, New York, Bar Association. It contained the column of its President, Reuben Ortenberg, who said it much better as a spectator than I could have as a participant.1 I thought his comments worth repeating here:
The dinner marked the beginning of a moving and satisfying weekend for me. On Friday morning, my wife and I flew to Denver, Colorado, to witness our daughter’s admission to the Bar of the State of Colorado.
The admission ceremony was presided over by the Honorable Mary J. Mullarkey, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. The program was entitled, ["Admission Ceremony Honoring New Attorneys Admitted to Practice in Colorado."] I was struck by the concept that the new attorneys were being honored. And so they were, even by the gesture of permitting them to be seated with their families and friends, rather than segregating them, as has been done in other such ceremonies which I have witnessed. For me, that gesture symbolized the realization that lawyers and the practice of law are an integral part of the community and life, and not separate.
Unusually good speeches were delivered by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, the President of the Colorado Bar Association, the Chair of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar, and by a member of the practicing Bar of Denver, James M. Lyons. And then the moment arrived for which we had traveled so far. The Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court asked the new admittees to stand and get ready to take their Oaths of Admission. Before administering the oath, however, she invited those present who had already been admitted to practice, in any state, to stand and renew their oaths and their commitments to their profession. And so, some thirty-three years after I had taken my oath, . . . I stood with my daughter, and renewed my oath. It was a very joyous and moving moment for both of us. We came together in our lives as father and daughter, and professionally, as colleagues. I did not become a member of the Colorado Bar, but I did become one with my daughter in a very special way.
While you cannot duplicate that moment in quite the same way, I urge you to take a moment of your own to reflect on the greatness of the profession we have chosen, and join with me in renewing your oath. Here is how it is done in Colorado:
OATH OF ADMISSION
I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR by the Everliving God (OR AFFIRM) that:
I will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of Colorado;
I will maintain the respect due to Courts and judicial officers;
I will employ only such means as are consistent with truth and honor;
I will treat all persons whom I encounter through my practice of law with fairness, courtesy, respect and honesty;
I will use my knowledge of the law for the betterment of society and the improvement of the legal system;
I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed;
I will at all times faithfully and diligently adhere to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct.
Try it. If you are like me, it will help renew your pride in what you do.
I too felt a sense of pride and satisfaction as I renewed the oath I took over forty years ago. I can’t remember how I felt then, but I believe these concepts mean even more to me today than they did when I was a new admittee. I have come to realize the importance of the oath I took at the beginning of my legal career and how important it is for me to renew that oath. They are not idle words. They embody my aspirations and hopes for all of us. I feel an additional sense of pride that a New York attorney took the time to praise our admission ceremony and what it stands for. It was an honor for the new admittees and a tribute to the state of Colorado and to our judiciary.
Try repeating the oath " . . . it will help renew your pride in what you do."
1. Ortenberg, "From the President’s Desk. . . ." newsBrief 1 (December 1998).
Excerpts from the Rockland and County Bar Association newsletter, newsBrief, are printed with permission of the Rockland County Bar Association.
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