New lawyers sworn in during online mass ceremony

The Michigan Supreme Court and the State Bar of Michigan joined forces last Friday to swear in 128 certified bar passers via a virtual mass swearing-in ceremony. The candidates were presented by Dennis Barnes, president of the State Bar, and officially sworn in by Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. Conducted over Zoom and livestreamed on YouTube, the ceremony was the first ever “virtual” mass swearing in for new attorneys in Michigan.

“Being sworn in to the bar is a milestone that attorneys and their families remember for a lifetime,” said McCormack. “We might not be able to be together in person, but we are together in spirit in supporting these talented and hard-working new attorneys-to-be who are ready to serve.”

Participants in last Friday’s ceremony cannot be called attorneys until they take one more step – filling out the paperwork and paying their dues to become members of the State Bar. Only then, can they be referred to as attorney, counsel, or lawyer.

“Please know that we consider you the most resilient group of bar passers ever to be sworn in, and remember, tough times don’t last, but tough people do,” said Barnes. The practice of law can be a tough business, but this experience will no doubt prepare you for future challenges. It is during times like these that lawyers help provide clarity, security, and a path forward for the rest of society.”

The special event kicked off with the official swearing in of former District Judge Thomas P. Boyd as the new State Court Administrator, a position required in Article VI, Section 3 of the Michigan Constitution.

“During this crisis, Tom has been working nonstop to keep Michigan’s judiciary running while protecting the health of the public and court staff,” said McCormack. “Tom’s experience leading so many important reforms in the judiciary and his commitment and his ability to lead and inspire others to do so too has been a big bright light for all of us as we meet the challenge of COVID-19 and return courts to full capacity.”

In addition, participants were invited to a series of virtual receptions with local bar associations statewide earlier in the day.