Bicentennial class takes oath to become lawyers

On Wednesday, 133 recent law school graduates gathered with their friends, family and members of the judiciary to take the oaths to practice in Indiana.

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush presided over the ceremony at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis, which included remarks from Justice Steven David, Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik and Senior Judge Larry McKinney from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Vaidik told the new lawyers that their class is special for two reasons. This year marks Indiana’s bicentennial. She also said they are special because they are participating in the ceremony, noting the February’s lower bar passage rate.

“Because of the great power you have as an attorney, people will ask you questions and confide in you,” she said.

McKinney told the lawyers, “please don’t think outside of the box.” He said the box was built by the courts and precedent and is there for a reason. He said clarity beats repetition and told the lawyers to take out the tool they should always carry – a pen – to write down the titles of four books they should read – “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace,” by Jeff Hobbs; “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson; “The Tortilla Curtain,” by T.C. Boyle; and Jill Lepore’s “The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity.”

David, referring back to McKinney’s request that the lawyers whip out a pen and write down the book titles, told the attorneys to get out their pens as he gave out his cell phone number. He encouraged them to text him any time they need encouragement.

David, a country music fan, told the new lawyers that the lyrics from Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” would make a great motto or prayer. He also advised the lawyers to use their law degrees and licenses wisely, justly, humbly and honorably. They should always take the high road and “work hard, but don’t work too hard.”

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