Professionalism in a New Generation

SIU-School-of-LawLike many attorneys, I remember the day I graduated from law school.  It was five years ago in the Michigan spring of 2008.  I got dressed in my black robe, purple hood, and tasseled mortarboard.  I sat down with my peers.  I listened to the commencement speaker talk of his journey from law student to NBA owner.   Then I stood up with my fellow graduates.   I heard my name, walked across the stage, shook the hand of my school’s dean and in two short words, tried to convey all of my gratitude for three memorable years of legal education.  As I walked off the stage, I saw my parents applauding.  In that moment, I felt flush with pride at what I had accomplished and full of anticipation as to what lay ahead.

Four years later, I witnessed similar emotions at another law school ceremony.  But this wasn’t a graduation ceremony; it was an induction ceremony.  In the fall of 2012, I represented the Commission on Professionalism at the Southern Illinois University School of Law Induction Ceremony.  It was the 11th Annual Induction Ceremony and the culmination of work that the SIU 1Ls had started in their Professionalism and the Law class. In that class, the newly arrived 1Ls jointly drafted a professionalism oath.  Several weeks later, in front of their friends and family, the entire 1L class stood before Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier and recited their newly written oath.  I was privileged to then stand with Dean Cynthia Fountaine and Justice Karmeier and greet each newly inducted 1L.  As each student’s name was announced, they walked across the stage, shook our hands, and received a pin to symbolize their induction into law.  I witnessed proud parents applaud their children as they embarked on their new legal career. More…

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