This morning at about 10:20 eastern time, I had the overwhelming honor of being sworn into the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. I don’t post this completely non-Hague-related news to brag. Rather, I post it to encourage every lawyer who ever has a chance to do this… do it. Anyone who has been through it will tell you that it is emotional, fulfilling, and something we all deserve as advocates and professionals.
As I sat in the Courtroom, I couldn’t help but drink in the majesty of the place. For eight decades, it has been the crucible in which some of our most treasured rights have been forged.
I couldn’t help but suffer a bit of imposter syndrome, wondering how I got to this place with several dozen attorneys who are far more capable and experienced than I am.
I couldn’t help but smile when I thought of my favorite teachers– from junior high civics (Wayne Kurle) to U.S. Constitution in college (Ed Shoemaker) to ConLaw (Doug Linder).
I couldn’t help but be humbled by the giants who had sat behind that bench– Earl Warren, Hugo Black, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia (yes, that one)– and the diminutive powerhouse from PS 238 in Brooklyn who sat there now– I was mere feet from Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
I couldn’t help but shed a tear when I thought of my grandfather, just two years older than Justice Ginsburg. Clyde didn’t graduate from high school until he was just a shade older than I am now, but he spent more hours than I can count fighting to vindicate the rights of his co-workers. What would he think of all this?
I couldn’t help but smile when I recognized again and again that the love of my life was sitting just a few rows behind me in the visitors’ gallery, no doubt beaming with pride. And she should, because this journey wouldn’t have happened without her. (I could hear Peggy stifle a squeal of delight when, an hour later, RBG herself walked into the private room the Court had set aside for us… just for a moment, to say hello and to welcome us to the Bar. It was better than meeting a Beatle.)
Each one of us has a journey as professionals, and believe me when I tell you– that journey is incomplete without this bar admission. It is a day I will carry with me into every courtroom I enter from now on.
I do not exaggerate. Every lawyer owes it to herself or himself to take this in. Give yourself this experience.
[And if you need a signature on your app, I know some people!]