New lawyers welcomed to profession at admission ceremony

At the Indiana Supreme Court Admission Ceremony, Indiana Justice Steven David reminded the newest admittees to the profession of law that this was the day they had long been working towards.

“It all starts right here, right now, today,” David said. “For each and every one of you, your career as a lawyer, your reputation as a lawyer, the legacy that you will leave one day, it all starts right here, right now, today.”

David, along with his judicial colleagues from the Court of Appeals of Indiana as well as the Northern and Southern Indiana District Courts, congratulated and welcomed the 62 new lawyers who were admitted to the Indiana bar during the admission ceremony held Tuesday.

Under the twinkling ceiling lights of the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis, the new attorneys introduced themselves to the judiciary and then took the oaths for admission to practice in the Indiana state courts and the federal district courts in the Hoosier State.

The admittees were given advice and offered a little humor. Northern Indiana District Court Magistrate Judge Joshua Kolar told them that they now “have the privilege of being on the receiving end of attorney jokes. Every once in a while there might even be one that you find humorous.”

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Cale Bradford counseled the new attorneys to always be professional and be prepared.

“People expect a lot from you when you’re an attorney. And you will notice, you do carry yourself with an air of respectability. People will rely on you and you will have a good career in our profession,” Bradford said. “The good news is, however, that although it may seem challenging at times, when so many depend on you for so much, each of you has the ability to live up to that trust that will be placed with you so long as you strive to always conduct yourself in a professional manner. And one more time, be prepared.”

Telling the new lawyers that the Southern Indiana District Court is the third-busiest district court in the nation, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson echoed Bradford’s advice to be prepared.  She also quoted from her judicial hero, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and encouraged each of the new attorneys to be “patient, perseverant and passionate. If you do, I am confident you’ll have both a successful and fulfilling career as a member of the bar.”

In addition to providing some life lessons to the new lawyers, the judiciary also took the time to say farwell to some friends. Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush pointed out both David and Court of Appeals Judge Edward Najam Jr. were participating in their last admission ceremony.

David will be stepping down from the bench in the fall of 2022 and Najam will be retiring in the summer of 2022.

Also, Indiana University Maurer School of Law Dean Austen Parrish, who was at the ceremony, will be leaving the Bloomington institution this summer to become dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law.

“Dean Parrish, what a wonderful job you’ve done at IU Maurer,” Rush said. “We’re going to miss you and we thank you for your years of service.”

Introducing David, Rush said he made contributions not only to the legal profession but also to the rule of law in Indiana.

“He has worn a black robe for 26 years, he had been a dear friend and he will be in the pantheon of Hoosier jurists who have excelled,” Rush said of David. “History will shine its eyes on Justice Steven David.”

Characteristically, David used his comments to advise, encourage and challenge the new members of the Indiana legal community.

“You are a lawyer now, a licensed attorney, but remember you are no better than anyone else,” David said. “Indeed, you have just taken an oath that places a huge obligation, a significant responsibility upon each and every one of you, but a wonderfully great opportunity. You are different, yes, but no better than anyone else. Embrace the opportunity that you have earned. Respect the profession. Honor your oath. Protect the rule of law.”

The justice also read a creed that he penned in 2011. He told the new attorneys that he wanted a code that was “a little bit” simpler than the oath and that would remind lawyers of the expectations society places upon them.

Just a few lines, David’s “The Lawyers Creed”  is a clean summation of what being a lawyer means.

“Be the lawyer you want the rest of the world to see,” David advised the new lawyers. “Better yet, be the person you want the rest of the world to see.”

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