New Missouri Lawyers sworn in during Fall 2023 Enrollment Ceremonies
More than 300 new Missouri lawyers took their oaths of admission on Friday, Sept. 29, during seven enrollment ceremonies at the Supreme Court of Missouri building in Jefferson City. With friends and families looking on, judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri, officers of The Missouri Bar, and members of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners conducted the ceremonies and welcomed the new lawyers into the profession.
“I am so very honored and delighted to be with you here on this joyous occasion. You have earned it,” said Megan Phillips, 2023-24 president of The Missouri Bar. “Our career paths seldom lead where we expect. But believe in yourselves and lean into the bar for support and mentorship. We are rooting for you to succeed, not only as a lawyer but also as a whole person.”
It was a day that will be treasured in the hearts of new lawyers and their families forever. Each enrollee chose to celebrate in their own way.
Drake Buccellato was gifted a special item from his best friend's family to honor him during the ceremony – a traditional Hawaiian lei.
The lei is given as a gesture of good luck and support on momentous occasions. It was important for Buccellato to be able to wear it during his ceremony and have the physical reminder of that support.
“Its like having a part of them with me,” Buccellato said. “I met my friend Matthew in law school, and he really helped me get through and has been a huge part of my journey.”
Matthew’s family joined Buccellato at the Supreme Court and were extremely happy to celebrate with him.
Some enrollees took the time to look back on their journey and offer advice to those who are still in law school or are looking to go to law school.
Abhijit Nair, a graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law, stated that a health care compliance class ultimately led him to decide to practice medical malpractice defense in downtown St. Louis. He advises law students to take advantage of the network of lawyers that are always willing to help.
“Make sure to reach out and don’t be afraid to ‘cold’ email any firms or lawyers for advice,” Nair said. “Most people are willing to help, so its always good to reach out.”
Emma Stubner waited by the Capitol to take her oath with her partner proudly standing next to her. Stubner graduated from Saint Louis University School of Law and plans to practice criminal defense as a public defender in Colorado. She will be admitted to both the Colorado and Missouri bars. She said she had a lot of advice for those still in law school, but her top tips were to make use of office hours and to stay focused on your motivation for going.
“I know it can be overwhelming with student loans and other things,” said Stubner. “But if you go into [law school] try to remember why you did it and hold on to that.”
Kevin Wyatt graduated from Drake University Law School in Des Moines, IA, and plans to practice administrative law at the St. Louis County Counselor's Office. He hopes that those who are still in law school can find a way to mitigate the stress and enjoy the experience.
“Try not to stress that much,” Wyatt said. “It’s a lot, but it’s really not that bad once you get through it.”
The Missouri Bar is here to help lawyers even better serve their clients and communities. Enrollees can view the plethora of resources available to them at MoBar.org/New-Members. The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section also sent welcome packages to the state’s enrollees. The YLS Council also offered 10 tips to new lawyers from young lawyers. See more photos from the day’s celebration here.