‘We Have a Responsibility to Each Other’

Texas’ newest lawyers take the oath.

Written by Eric Quitugua

ABOVE: Hannah E. Shoss (center), the high scorer of the February 2022 Texas Bar Examination and a graduate of SMU Dedman School of Law, with (from left) Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby, Texas Board of Law Examiners Executive Director Nahdiah Hoang, Texas Board of Law Examiners Board Member Barbara Ellis, and Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht. Photo by Will Korn.

?The New Lawyers Induction Ceremony returned in person on May 13 for the first time since 2019, now at Bass Concert Hall in Austin. Family, friends, State Bar of Texas officers, and members of the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals welcomed into the profession the spring 2022 class of Texas licensed attorneys.

Speakers at the ceremony included Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, 2021-2022 State Bar of Texas President Sylvia Borunda Firth, 2021-2022 Texas Young Lawyers Association President Jeanine Novosad Rispoli, and the February 2022 Texas Bar Exam’s high scorer, SMU Dedman School of Law graduate Hannah E. Shoss.

“Always remember that you yourself are an inspiration to someone,” Borunda Firth said. “Please take a moment to not only look for those who can help you but to look for the people that you might inspire and help. It’s your turn to pay it forward.”

Borunda Firth, who oversaw the establishment of the State Bar’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, focused on encouraging leaders and diversity. We need leaders from all across the state, in different practices, and from different backgrounds, to help govern the profession, she said. The State Bar president urged the new class to become mentors, alluding to her own journey in law.

Rispoli discussed the function of the Texas Young Lawyers Association as the public service arm of the State Bar, highlighting several projects such as the Attorney Wellness Hub, Iconic Women in Legal History, and Civility for All. The TYLA president, who was adopted 35 years ago, pointed to the importance and inspiration of the work legal professionals do. The work of the lawyers and judges involved in her adoption inspired her to become a lawyer.

Rispoli then returned to a theme of civility in the profession, citing former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s foreword in Scalia Speaks, in which she said she hopes to encourage others to appreciate that very good people can have different viewpoints but still pull together for the well-being of their institutions.

“In my experience, with the State Bar and with TYLA, I have seen people of goodwill pull together for the well-being of Texas lawyers, including each of you and all Texans,” Rispoli said. “It’s been an incredible journey. I am very honored for this opportunity to be here as you start your journey. To each of you, TYLA values you, we are inspired by you, and we are strengthened by all of the gifts that you bring to the profession.”

Shoss congratulated everyone being inducted, saying there are no real shortcuts on this road. Shoss, who plans to practice real estate law and corporate mergers and acquisitions, thanked her family for helping her along her path.

“We have a responsibility to each other as fellow lawyers to practice with professionalism and civility all the time in our dealings with each other, to look out for each other’s mental health and well-being in this stressful profession, and to help each other along whenever and wherever we can; responsibility to our clients to advocate fiercely for them in whatever area of law we practice because they’re the reason we get to practice law; and finally, to our communities to fight against injustice and inequality where we find it and to actively work to create better access to justice—better access to our legal system for the vulnerable people in our communities who truly need it,” she said.

After Board of Law Examiners Board Member Barbara Ellis read the list of successful examinees, Hecht introduced the Lawyer’s Oath, which calls for lawyers to support the U.S. and Texas constitutions, to be honest in practice, to discharge duties to clients as best as possible, and to move with integrity and civility in court dealings.

He congratulated the new members of the Texas bar, impressing upon them its significance. “You, therefore, have a special responsibility not only to those you represent but to our profession and to this great experiment in democracy,” he 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.’”TBJ

February 2022 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



Pass Rate









South Texas




St. Mary's




Texas A&M




Texas Southern




Texas Tech




U. of Houston




U. of North Texas




U. of Texas








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