Graham takes ceremonial oath on federal bankruptcy court

Jeffrey J. Graham was formally sworn in Wednesday as the newest – and youngest – judge on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

“It’s a journey I really didn’t plan on making when I started out, but at the same time, there’s no place I’d rather be,” Graham told the more than 100 court officials, friends, family, colleagues and dignitaries who attended his investiture.

Graham officially joined the court on Oct. 1, 2014, and Chief Judge of the District Bankruptcy Court Robyn Moberly said the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals chose wisely in appointing the former Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP partner, who previously clerked for former Southern District Judge S. Hugh Dillin.

In a light-hearted ceremony, Moberly said that when Graham joined Judges Basil H. Lorch III and James M. Carr on the court, “the average age of bankruptcy judges plummeted. … If the three of us forget anything, we’re looking at you to remember.”

Lorch said he’d been the youngest judge on the court for 20 years, but in less than three years, he had become senior jurist when Carr, Moberly and Graham were appointed. “If you’re going to get a judicial portrait, do it soon,” Lorch advised Graham.

Lorch also counseled Graham that bankruptcy judges shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. “Remember, any of your decisions can be reversed by a District Court law clerk,” Lorch said.

Graham took the oath from Southern District Chief Judge Richard Young as Graham’s wife, Martha, held the family Bible. Graham was presented his robe by his young children. Graham’s parents, sister and other family members also attended his robing.

7th Circuit Judge John Tinder quipped that Graham’s children were “quite amused that for the rest of your career, you will work in your robe.”

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