February 25, 2013 at 11:00 am
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the investiture of the newest U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma. The official ‘investing’ of authority for Judge John Dowdell was a full house event – all three district courtrooms in the federal building were standing room only (I was one of the standers). The new judge was sworn in, and he promised to preserve, protect, and uphold the Constitution of the United States.
I was struck by the importance and significance of the event as part of our nations’ judicial system. Judge Dowdell said in his remarks that we were bearing witness to the peaceful transfer of power, which is something that not all nations of the world enjoy. The formality of the event was moving and it made me proud to be a part of such a distinguished profession. Although I am still just a 2L, I felt a sense of community and common calling among the crowd of lawyers, judges, and public officials.
To be an officer of the court is a noble pursuit. Despite the unending supply of lawyer jokes, it really is an admired and respected calling; and we are obligated to protect and maintain the integrity of our profession. We are called to represent the profession well – with character, courage, honesty, and wisdom – even now, as students. Sometimes with all of the stress of law school, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture – why we are here. It is easy sometimes to focus on just finishing the semester, or passing that exam, or turning in that paper. So, it is nice to be reminded of the bigger picture, to see it in action – a judge taking an oath with his family by his side, before all of his friends and colleagues, with all of the seated judges behind him, flanked by the flags of our nation and state.
Someday soon, you and I will both by lawyers. Events like this one remind us of the importance of what we do, and the importance that our actions will have, not just for our clients, but for the legal community in general. It has given me a renewed sense of pride and determination to do all that I can to vigorously protect the image of the profession, and to call myself lucky to be a part of it.