Clinic Swearing-in Ceremonies
In his opening statement to the fall Washburn Law Clinic interns, Justice Lee A. Johnson commended them for being clever enough to take Law Clinic.
Although Justice Johnson, ’80, did not participate in Clinic during his time at Washburn Law, he extolled the benefits of doing so.
Justice Johnson presided over the Fall Swearing-in Ceremony for Washburn Law Clinic interns on August 29. Justice Johnson graduated from Washburn University School of Law summa cum laude with the class of 1980 and practiced law in Caldwell, Kansas, upon graduation. He was appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court effective January 8, 2007, following his tenure on the Kansas Court Appeals from 2001 to 2007.
Justice Johnson advised the students that as interns they have responsibilities to their professors; Washburn Law; the Supreme Court, which includes him personally; future students; and the profession. He also told the interns to conduct themselves in a manner suiting the profession; interns should not only know the Rules of Professional Conduct, but they should live the rules, study them, and refer to them often.
Recalling an acquaintance he knew in his early days as an attorney, he warned the interns to not become a “law merchant.” His definition of a “law merchant” was an attorney who sells legal services for money and is mostly interested in making money. Justice Johnson told the interns to strive to be a “professional attorney,” which is something bigger, someone who works as hard for an indigent client as they would an affluent client.
He closed his statements with the reminder that full performance from all participants in the legal process —law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges — is necessary to make the system work. And, whatever your role is in the system, do it to the best of your ability and be professional.
The Law Clinic is greatly appreciative of Justice Johnson and other prominent alumni who generously share their experience and time with our law students.
Judge Jean M. Schmidt began her remarks by telling the interns, “I can’t think of a better way to see the constitution in action than by representing people in family law cases and cases dealing with children.”
She explained that these types of cases required thoughtful reflection by everyone involved.
Clinic interns enrolled in the summer semester were sworn into student practice by Judge Schmidt, ’82, in her courtroom in the Shawnee County District Courthouse on May 22.
Judge Schmidt was appointed to the bench in 2003. She received her law degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1982 and practiced law for 21 years with governmental agencies, primarily as a prosecutor. Throughout her career she has remained active in providing continuing legal education in the fields of domestic, child advocacy, and criminal law.
She advised the interns that the skills they learn while in Clinic will be valuable to their careers and appreciated by the judges they appear before. The judge noted that she likes to see Clinic interns file their appearances in her court because their pleadings are always perfect.
In closing, Judge Schmidt reminded the interns to treat everyone they come into contact with throughout their careers with dignity and respect; the roles of the participants in a court proceeding must be treated with respect as each role has value.
The Law Clinic is greatly appreciative of Judge Schmidt and other prominent alumni who generously share their experience and time with our law students.