Lawyers Journal

New attorneys sworn in at Faneuil Hall ceremony

Massachusetts Bar Association officers helped swear in 1,340 new attorneys at Faneuil Hall’s Great Hall over four days in late November and early December.

Maura S. Doyle, clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, presided over the ceremony with a mixture of formality and humor while standing underneath George Peter Alexander Healy’s famous mural, “Webster’s Reply to Hayne.”

Photo by Bill Archambeault
SJC Associate Justice Robert J. Cordy addresses the new attorneys from the podium of the Great Hall.
“This is the most appropriate place for you to take your first breath as lawyers,” she said, referring to Faneuil Hall, nicknamed the “Cradle of Liberty.”

“It is not something you will do for a living,” she said. “It is something you will do for the rest of your lives. This is the most noble of professions. It will hopefully be a historic moment in your lives.”

Speaking at the Friday, Dec. 2 afternoon ceremony, MBA Treasurer David W. White-Lief explained to the new attorneys the importance of getting involved in both the MBA and their local bar associations because they serve different purposes. As the only statewide bar association, he said, the MBA is in a unique position to reflect and affect the legal profession in Massachusetts.

“Get involved and stay involved,” White-Lief said. “Congratulations, and welcome to a great community. Please do good, and do it well.”

Photo by Bill Archambeault
MBA Treasurer David W. White-Lief speaks to the new lawyers, with Maura S. Doyle, SJC clerk for Suffolk County, seated.
MBA President Warren Fitzgerald, Vice President Edward W. McIntyre and Vice President Valerie A. Yarashus spoke at swearing-in ceremonies earlier in the week, and MBA President-Elect Mark Mason spoke at a ceremony in Springfield on Dec. 12. The swearing-in ceremony for new lawyers is held twice a year in both Boston and Springfield.

At the Dec. 2 afternoon session, SJC Associate Justice Robert J. Cordy told the new lawyers, “Today, you join an outstanding legion of practitioners of the law.” But, he cautioned, “The status of being a lawyer in itself does not earn you honor. Your respect must be earned. Never forget that your reputation, which takes years to build, can be ruined in an instant.”

Photo by Emily Fournier
New lawyer and MBA CLE Program Attorney Elizabeth A. Varney holds her license to practice law. At her right is her mother, Linda L. Varney.
Doyle ended the ceremony with several pieces of advice, reminding the newly sworn-in lawyers, “Don’t ever think you got here on your own.”

However, her last bit of advice was less solemn. “Life is not just about the front page,” she told them. “It’s about the comics, too.”

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association