‘Superpowers’ in a Constantly Changing World

Texas’ newest lawyers take the oath in Austin.

By Eric Quitugua


Texas Bar Exam high scorer Melanie McCammon, a Round Rock-based attorney and graduate of New York University School of Law, with Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown, left, and Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht. Photo by Eric Quitugua.

The Texas Supreme Court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and State Bar of Texas welcomed the state’s newest members of the profession May 13 at the Frank Irwin Center in Austin. Texas’ highest courts, the State Bar, the Texas Board of Law Examiners, law school deans, and friends and family looked on as newly licensed attorneys took the Lawyer’s Oath during the New Lawyer Induction Ceremony.

2018-2019 State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley emphasized the importance of civility, professionalism, and adherence to the rule of law at all times, as well as the commitment to equal access to justice. He explained to the inductees that they are joining an organization of more than 103,000 attorneys dedicated to the law, pointing to joining State Bar sections as a way to get started.

“Your presence here today demonstrates that people confident in their destiny do not wait to be sent for,” Longley said. “You’re already here and you knew how to get here and I congratulate you for that.”

2018-2019 Texas Young Lawyers Association President Sally Pretorius offered advice to the new lawyers: be mindful of self-care, take advantage of being underestimated, and protect your reputation. She encouraged the new lawyers to not get weighed down by their lack of experience, telling them about a time she out-prepared her seasoned opponent, making sure she knew the law and that her witnesses were prepared, and ultimately won.

“Just because we are young attorneys doesn’t mean that we don’t know what we are doing and that doesn’t mean that we don’t know the law and what’s best for our client,” Pretorius said. “So remember to always use the power of underestimation in your favor.”

The bar exam’s high scorer, Round Rock-based attorney Melanie McCammon, thanked her coworkers and friends and family, especially her son, Isaac, whom she called her inspiration, and her husband, Jack. McCammon, a graduate of New York University School of Law in 2010, called the skills the inductees have developed from taking the bar exam—such as being able to teach themselves something or the ability to make things happen—superpowers, saying they will allow them to keep up with the constantly changing world.

“It says a lot about who you are and what you are capable of,” she said. “First it shows you can think like a lawyer. You have the ability to think critically, analytically, creatively to take the facts that you’re given and question them and solve problems not just in the courtroom or across a negotiation table but in social media or whatever life throws at you.”

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht congratulated the inductees, welcoming them to the profession and reminding them of their duties going forward. The first part of the Lawyer’s Oath, he said before administering it, charges them with supporting the U.S. and Texas constitutions, honestly demeaning themselves in practice, and discharging their duties to their clients to the best of their abilities. The second tasks lawyers with conducting themselves with civility and integrity in dealing with the court and all parties. “From this day forward, you are the voice and the instrument for the rule of law,” Hecht said. “Whether you are prosecuting or defending an individual charged with transgressions against society; representing a party in a civil dispute; drafting a contract, a deed, or a will; or giving other legal counsel to a client; everything you do contributes to a republic in which the rights to life, liberty, and property have displaced reliance on class, heredity, wealth, and military might.” TBJ



February 2019 Bar Exam Pass Rate Information

The table below shows the number of graduates from each accredited Texas law school who took the bar exam for the first time in February, the number that passed, and the percentage that passed.

Law School

Tested

Passed

Pass Rate

Baylor

29

24

82.76%

SMU

24

14

58.33%

South Texas

59

46

77.97%

St. Mary's

40

25

62.50%

Texas A&M

10

8

80.00%

Texas Southern

14

4

28.57%

Texas Tech

12

9

75.00%

U. of Houston

28

24

85.71%

U. of North Texas

25

11

44.00

U. of Texas

6

6

100.00%

Total

247

171

69.23%

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