Seek Out Not Only Those Who Can Help You, But Also Those You Can Help’

Texas’ newest lawyers take the oath.

Written by Will Korn

Headshot of Trey Apffel Above: Newly licensed attorneys take the oath May 15, 2023 at the New Lawyers Induction Ceremony at Bass Concert Hall in Austin. Photo by Will Korn.

Surrounded by family and friends, the Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Board of Law Examiners, and members of the State Bar of Texas, newly licensed attorneys were officially welcomed into their new careers during the New Lawyers Induction Ceremony on May 15 at Bass Concert Hall in Austin.

Speakers at the induction included 2022-2023 State Bar of Texas President Laura Gibson; 2022-2023 Texas Young Lawyers Association President Michael J. Ritter; Texas Board of Law Examiners Chair Augustin Rivera Jr.; and Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, who led the new attorney class through the lawyer’s oath. Peter Campbell Sode, a 2018 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and an associate of Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann in Dallas, was the high scorer on the February 2023 Texas Bar Examination. Nikolai Hood, a 2022 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, was the second highest scorer, and Megumi “Meg” Kenworthy, a 2008 graduate of Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School, was the exam’s third highest scorer.

Gibson congratulated the new class of attorneys, emphasizing the importance of being role models of service not only to future clients, but also to those in the community who are lacking reasonable access to the justice system.

“You join a group of elite lawyers who are united in our loyalty to the Constitution and our commitment to represent our clients to the best of our abilities,” Gibson said. “Seek out not only those who can help you, but also those you can help. I also want to encourage you to give a helping hand when you can by participating in pro bono activities. It is incumbent upon all of us as lawyers to give back to our community by helping those in need.”

Ritter addressed the inductees, outlining the numerous benefits TYLA has to offer newly licensed attorneys, including access to a wealth of online marketing tutorials and tips and TYLA’s attorney wellness platform. Rivera Jr. then presented the list of successful examinees to Hecht, who followed by guiding the new class through the lawyer’s oath. Hecht highlighted the importance of honoring both the U.S. and Texas constitutions, practicing with integrity, discharging duties ethically to clients, and operating with civility in court proceedings. “You, therefore, have a special responsibility not only to those you represent but to our profession and to this great experiment in democracy,” Hecht said. “I hope your practice will be meaningful and that in the words of the great Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, ‘You will live greatly in the law.’” Following the ceremony, Kenworthy said she was thrilled to become a new member of the State Bar of Texas. She passed the California Bar Exam in 2009 and has been a stay-at-home mom the past several years but said she’s excited to begin working in immigration law and estate planning in Texas.

“I’m definitely humbled to have done as well as I did [on the bar exam]. Suddenly it feels more official, more real,” she said. “I was thinking about all the women that have paved the way for me to be able to be at home with my kids and go right into being an attorney. My main objective is to serve the needs we have in our community right now. There’s huge need for helping with immigration, and hopefully, I’ll be able to find some other needs and fill those as well.” TBJ

Headshot of Trey Apffel

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