On October 5, 2012, first year law students at Southern Illinois University School of Law participated in the 11th annual Induction Ceremony. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier led them in the recitation of the oath (Statement of Professional Responsibility) that they drafted together during a workshop component of their Professionalism and the Law class.
The Professional Development Program, including the oath drafting workshop, was started at SIU in 2002, and gained national recognition in 2004 when it was awarded the American Bar Association’s E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award. The Gambrell Award recognizes a commitment to promoting legal professionalism.
In its current form, the Professionalism and the Law class teaches students about the responsibilities that come with the privilege of becoming a part of the legal community. Topics ranging from the responsibility of a law student to the academic and legal community, to how to dress, to résumé writing is addressed within the Professionalism class. This class began in the 1990’s as a series of meetings between the first years and then dean of the law school Dean Haynsworth. This idea progressed into the class which the students attend on a weekly basis.
This year, members of the law school faculty and legal community assisted students in writing the oath for their class. The law school is especially grateful to Cindy Buys, Jason Caraway Sue Liemer, Andrew Pardieck, the Honorable Bruce Steward, Chris Behan, the Honorable Kimberly Dahlen, Valerie Munson, Peggy Reiman, Suzanne Schmitz, Jennifer Camero, Twinette Johnson, Alice Noble-Allgire, and Angela Rollins for their commitment to assisting the first year students.
We also thank Justice Karmeier for his participation in the ceremony, and Michelle Silverthorn, who traveled from Chicago to attend the Induction Ceremony on behalf of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.
The Class of 2015’s Declaration of Professional Commitment states:
“As a Professional, I promise to represent my clients
efficiently and effectively while practicing the virtues
of honesty, competency, and the highest ethics.
I will serve my clients with integrity, upholding confidentiality
and always keeping their best interests in mind.
I promise to exemplify the high standards of the legal profession.
I will strive to improve these standards by participating
in self-regulation of the legal profession.
I promise to defend the Rule of Law and promote truth and equality.
I will serve the people to provide liberty, security, and peace of mind.
I promise to use my talents to act within my legal capacity to ensure
access to justice for all.
As a Southern Illinois University School of Law juris doctorate candidate,
I will adhere to the highest principles that have been established through
time, forever carrying all this forward as an example of generations to come.
I will also remember that my role in the legal profession is a privilege
And not a right, and that it comes with responsibilities
that I will endeavor to fulfill to the best of my abilities.”
Perhaps the best way to experience the Induction Ceremony is through the eyes of a first year student. As Chad Baker of the class of 2015 explains:
“On October 5th, our class was welcomed into the law profession among friends and family. Before the ceremony we were able to give our family an insight into our new life as a law student while enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres. After giving our family a tour of the school and introducing them to our favorite professors, we gathered in the auditorium to recite our oath in front of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Karmeier, and receive our pins.
As a student who partook in this event, it was an incredible and humbling experience. It was exciting to be able to introduce our family to our newly made friends and professors. My family enjoyed the tour of the law school, and getting a taste of my daily life. During the ceremony, I was fortunate enough to get an introduction speech from an Illinois Supreme Court Justice, and be able to walk across the stage while hearing my name called to receive my pin.“
Every year the Induction Ceremony holds something special for the law students and their families. We thank the faculty, staff, and members of the bench and bar whop contribute to this very special event.