Class of 2015 Takes Professionalism Oath

Aug. 21, 2012

Members of the Class of 2015 launched their law school careers on Friday, August 17, by participating in the school’s inaugural professionalism ceremony. Dean Lawrence Ponoroff said he created the event as a way for incoming students to understand what it means to be in a profession. The idea was inspired, he said, by the white-coat ceremony of many medical schools.

“Lawyers serve a critical and weighty role in our society. When students start on their path to a professional degree they need to fully embrace the obligation to uphold the standards of the profession with integrity and honor,” Ponoroff said. “Their commitment – and our expectations - start on their very first day.”

At the end of a three-day orientation, the first-year law students stood, raised their right hands and recited together an oath that began, “As I begin my legal career as a student at the University of Arizona College of Law, I pledge to conduct myself with integrity and honor and to behave in an ethical manner. This promise will be the foundation of my everyday life starting today.” Students went on to pledge to diligently master casework, to offer courtesy and professionalism at all times, and to seek the good of those they will serve by giving of themselves and their knowledge. Each student was then given a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Josh Barton, a first-year student from Mesa, Arizona, said he appreciated the ceremony. The school’s reputation and commitment to a strong code of ethics is one of the reasons he’s here, Barton said. “My dad’s a lawyer and he taught me you ought to be honest and serve people around you,” Barton said. “That’s one of the reasons I want to be a lawyer.”

First-year student Anna Nieves said she also valued the ceremony, though was initially surprised by it. She said she was drawn to Arizona Law because of the school’s reputation for academics and immigration law and that the ceremony helped elevate her thinking as classes begin.“ I appreciated the somber gesture of getting us in the professional mind set,” Nieves said. “It set the bar high.”