60 new attorneys in Kentucky take oath of office

Published 10:57 am Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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Kentucky has 60 new attorneys, as a swearing-in ceremony for those who recently passed their bar examination took place as part of the annual celebration of Law Day on May 1 in the House of Representatives chamber at the State Capitol.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Laurance B. VanMeter, who presided over the ceremony, told the new attorneys Law Day began when then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 declared May 1, “A day of national dedication to our great heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law.”

VanMeter noted, “Law Day in America was a sharp contrast from the May Day celebrations of the military might displayed in the Soviet Union.  Now, more than 65 years later, the United States of America and our legal system are strong and vibrant.”

He told those on hand, “As lawyers and judges, we have the ability to respond to struggles by focusing on the Three Cs: civics, civility, and collaboration,” which he referred to as the cornerstones of democracy.

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The main speaker was John D. Minton, Jr., who was Chief Justice from 2008 until his retirement at the end of December 2022, and who continued the three-Cs theme of  VanMeter, saying he has seen civic virtue at work.

“I will tell you that these justices seated in front of you convene in the conference room directly below this one every month,” Minton said.  “In that conference room, they disagree vigorously, as is reflected in the judicial opinions.  They can do this as a routine part of their work because they also work extra hard to grow and maintain a sense of community and collegiality among themselves.  That’s hard work to build community, despite the divergent political philosophies.  But it’s the ‘secret sauce’ to then work together.”

He told the new attorneys, “When we as lawyers approach our work as professionals, subordinating our own personal interests to the service of our client, then we enhance the effectiveness of the judicial system.”

The new lawyers then took the Constitutional oath of office from Chief Justice VanMeter, which is the same one used by elected officials from the Governor on down.