Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

170 Legal Minds Celebrate Start as Attorneys

After years of studying, and passing the biggest test of their lives, 170 lawyers joined the legal profession at the annual spring Ohio Bar Admissions Ceremony.

The prospective legal journeys for the state’s freshest legal faces culminated at the Palace Theatre in downtown Columbus.

“It felt really good, a real validation of the things I’ve been doing for the past three years,” said Kenny Pung, a University of Akron School of Law graduate, who’s working as an associate patent attorney near Cleveland.

“I felt most proud for my family, my friends, and whoever helped me along the way,” Michael Martinez added. The graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law said the event was a chance to reflect on “a great achievement. It’s something that I’ll remember forever.”

After the newly minted attorneys took their oath to uphold the state and federal constitutions, they were reminded that even after years of formal education, their schooling in the legal profession was only just beginning.

“Chief Justice O’Connor said we keep learning, and so to never stop learning,” said Erica Lunderman, who graduated from Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. “Just to remember that law school’s over, the [bar exam’s] over, but the legal field is continually growing.”

“Being a lawyer is a journey, not a destination,” said Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “Whatever the journey brings, your education will help you navigate, and the more trips that you take, the better you will get at navigation.”

As each attorney celebrated a personal accomplishment in receiving their license to practice law in Ohio, Justice Sharon Kennedy illustrated how that piece of paper will help them impact others.

“You will champion worthy causes in the pursuit of justice and righting injustices,” Justice Kennedy said. “You will make a difference in the lives of the people you touch and the world around you, and you will cause someone to worry less, and breathe easier, because you became a lawyer.”

While that’s the goal and purpose for all of the attorneys, there are some smaller perks to signify their new status. Since she graduated in December, Akron School of Law alumna Sarah Smith has been working as a law clerk in the Eleventh District Court of Appeals. Ever since she passed the February bar exam, her colleagues and acquaintances don’t just call her “Sarah” anymore.

“It is kind of cool to walk down a hall and they'll say ‘Attorney Smith,’ ‘esquire,’ or ‘counselor,’ Smith said. “It’s a neat feeling.”