“Today one journey ends, and another begins,” said Vikram Monder, at the June 6 breakfast held at the Sheraton Harbor Island, celebrating Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s newest attorneys, who all passed the February 2012 bar exam.
“This is a great day for you – congratulations!,” TJSL Board of Trustees member Richard Prochazka told the new lawyers. “This is what Thomas Jefferson is all about.”
“This is the new chapter and I can finally close the old one,” said Danielle Mor, before the ceremony to swear-in all of the new attorneys to the state and federal bars. “I look forward to working as an attorney and giving back to the community.”
“This is a great day of celebration,” Dean Rudy Hasl told the new attorneys. “Your hard work has paid off.” Dean Hasl also told the new lawyers about the new incubator program TJSL is creating for recent graduates who want to go into solo practice. “We will arm you as effectively as possible so you can go out and do that.”
Melissa Lewis, who has just joined the firm of Stutz Artiano as an associate, said: “I’m excited, but it’s also nice to reflect on our accomplishments – we’ve accomplished so much together.”
For Kim Carter, passing the bar has special meaning, because her father-in-law passed away just days before the exam in February, after she had spent time caring for him back east. It gave her precious little time to study. “I went in there not expecting to pass,” she said. “But it’s a miracle and I’ll take it.”
“You showed grace under pressure,” TJSL Alumni Association President Renee Galente told the bar passers. “And you showed San Diego, you showed our alumni, you showed our current students, you showed the state bar and you showed the ABA that TJSL is a force to be reckoned with.”
“It’s not easy – we make no bones about it,” Archie “Joe” Biggers of the State Bar Board of Governors and the Committee of Bar Examiners told the bar passers, as he talked about how notoriously hard the California Bar Exam is. “It’s going to continue to be difficult – but you passed it!”
“To see them all here today is a wonderful experience,” said Adjunct Professor Dennis Saccuzzo, who teaches TJSL’s Bar Secrets Program. “There was so much cohesion among them and they are such a special group of people.”
“They were all helping each other,” said Saccuzzo’s co-instructor, Professor Nancy Johnson. As for today’s ceremony, she said: “This is why we do this – to see them step into the profession.”
TJSL's pass rate for first time takers for the February 2012 California Bar Exam was 60 percent.
"This was the day we all had been waiting for," said Ben Aguilar after being sworn-in as a new attorney. "It was not graduation day, swearing in day concludes the long process that becoming an attorney entails. It was very special to sit next to some of my friends with whom I started this process almost 4 years ago. It is a great relief to know we can all start new chapters in our lives. We have made our families, professors, mentors, and school very proud."
“This is very emotional – it’s what I’ve always wanted to do – and it’s just beginning,” Danielle Mor reflected as she sat with her family waiting to be sworn-in.
“A fellow attorney recently told me before the swearing in ceremony that once you pass the California Bar Exam you reach the top of the mountain,” said former TJSL Student Bar Association president Jeremy Evans. “He advised me to never leave that mountain by compromising my ethics. Today was a culmination of hard work, dedication, support, and an opportunity to uphold the law with dignity and respect."
That sentiment was also expressed by Federal Judge William Enright, who addressed the group after they raised their right hands to take the state and federal oaths admitting them to the practice of law: “This is a memorable day. You have climbed the mountain!”