New Missouri lawyers sworn in during Spring 2022 Enrollment Ceremony
Every morning, Hon. Gary Lynch sees a navy blue button on his dresser with the words, “Proud to be a Missouri lawyer.” On Friday, he brought that button to the Spring Enrollment Ceremony, held it up, and encouraged the eager new lawyers to maintain that level of pride throughout their careers.
About 60 of the 136 lawyers who passed the February 2022 Bar Exam took their oath of admission on April 22 at the Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, with their friends and families nearby to celebrate. Judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri, officers of The Missouri bar, and members of the Board of Law Examiners also welcomed the new lawyers into the profession.
“Savor those feelings today of being proud to be an attorney but commit yourself that right now, starting tomorrow, everyday you’re going to strive to meet those professional expectations, those professional requirements, and do the best job you can as a lawyer,” Lynch said. “If you do that every day, you’re going to build a career that you are not only proud of, but that has helped so many people along the way.”
Michelle Lewis and Joshua Saleem understand what it means to stay committed to a dream. The two new lawyers graduated from the Saint Louis University School of Law part-time evening program.
“We had the extra challenge of working and living our lives and balancing family, all while studying and going through law school,” Lewis said. “It’s very, very emotional.”
Saleem added he was relieved to officially be a lawyer but also proud of his accomplishment. He added he wouldn’t have been able to finish law school if it hadn’t been for the support of his family, coworkers, and church.
Shaunessy Carr, a Saint Louis University School of Law graduate, agreed that family support was vital while attending law school during the COVID-19 pandemic, which created an extra layer of challenges.
Missouri Bar 2021-22 President John Grimm congratulated the new lawyers but acknowledged that the hard work isn’t finished. Now, they have a duty to even better serve their clients.
“It’s what we do as lawyers – we help people,” he said prior to the lawyers taking their oaths. “We solve problems, and the best lawyers in my view are those who help people solve problems while maintaining the professionalism and civility that you, in just a few moments, will swear to honor.”
Grimm also encouraged the new lawyers to get involved – whether that be participating in Missouri Bar activities, volunteering with their churches, or serving on local city councils and school boards. Visit MoBar.org/Get-Involved to learn how you can participate in bar activities.
While standing at the finish line is a relief, the new lawyers still had some words of wisdom to pass along to current and future law students.
Lewis said that if it’s your passion and dream, pursue it.
“I personally am living proof that you are never too old, and the opportunity is there for everybody,” she said. “It’s achievable. It is hard and is difficult, but it’s achievable and it’s so worth it.”
Carr added law students need to continuously look forward instead of pondering on the past.
“Don’t let one bad grade discourage you. Don’t let one bad semester discourage you. Keep moving,” she said.
Saleem also advised law students to not give up too quickly.
“I remember not doing well on the LSAT 15 years ago and thinking that was the end of the road for me but then later in life, like Michelle, I tried again and did well the second time. So, never give up,” he said.
The Missouri Bar is here to help lawyers even better serve their clients. Enrollees are encouraged to view the New Member page to learn about the bar’s resources. In addition, The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section sent welcome packets to the state’s enrollees.
The Missouri Bar streamed the event live on Facebook for those unable to attend. Click here to view photos from Friday’s enrollment ceremony. Share your photos from the enrollment ceremony on social media using the #NewMoLawyers hashtag.