115 new lawyers admitted to the Mississippi Bar
October 2, 2017
Circuit Judge Smith Murphey of Batesville welcomed 115 new lawyers to the Mississippi Bar during the Fall Bar Admission Ceremony Sept. 28 at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson.
Judge Murphey told the newly licensed lawyers, “Let me be the first to congratulate you on behalf of the Board of Bar Admissions.”
Having a law license carries weighty responsibilities and provides opportunities for service to the community. Having achieved that milestone “represents that you will now be entrusted with all things people hold most dear to their lives, whether it is their property, their money, their children and their family, and even their liberty,” Judge Murphey said.
“You now have the power to help people,” he said, encouraging them to volunteer in their communities and assist in local civic organizations. He reminded them to be polite, echoing Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr.’s words from the previous evening’s Judiciary Bicentennial Celebration.
Judge Murphey also reminded them to thank family and friends who helped and supported them. “You didn’t arrive at this place alone.”
A distinguished panel of judges administered oaths to practice before various courts. Hinds County Chancellor Patricia D. Wise gave the oath to practice before the state trial courts. Presiding Justice Jim Kitchens of Crystal Springs gave the oath to practice before the Mississippi Supreme Court. U.S. Magistrate Judge LeRoy D. Percy of Oxford administered the oath to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan of Jackson gave the oath to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Appeals Judge Leslie H. Southwick of Jackson administered the oath to practice before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Presiding Justice Kitchens told the new lawyers that they have the means to do a lot of good in the world, and he gave them some advice before he administered the oath. “This license is always going to be high on your list of your most valuable worldly possessions,” he said. Noting that he has been licensed to practice law for 50 years, he said, “There’s nothing I’ve ever owned that has made it possible for me to earn more income for my family. It has put a lot of cornbread and biscuits on the table and educated five children.”
He admonished them to avoid anything that could risk loss of the law license. “Never use it to help anyone get revenge. Remedies, recompense, recovery, restitution, resolution, yes. Revenge? No,” he said. “Never forget that your law license is worth far more than any amount of ill-gotten gain. Never put it at risk. Follow the law. Follow your ethics.”
Mississippi Bar President J. Richard Barry of Meridian encouraged new lawyers to “get involved and make a difference. Give back to the profession of which you are now so privileged to be a member. Pay it forward.”