Professionalism Oaths by Incoming Classes

Each structured study group collaborates in creating an oath during their first week of law school. The oath guides the aspirations and conduct of the students during their time at Washburn Law. The Dean selects the oath and it is administered to the entire class during the first week welcome lunch.

Spring 2014

The following oath was authored by January 2014 incoming students and administered to the entering class by The Honorable Evelyn Z. Wilson on January 23, 2014.

I solemnly vow to uphold the Honor Code of Washburn University School of Law and the values expressed in the Seven Pillars of Professionalism. I understand that my legal reputation started on my first day of law school. I promise to prepare diligently for my classes in order to develop the competency and character that will be expected of me from those who trustingly seek my aid in time of need. I will check my official e-mail regularly and respond to communications promptly, accurately, and courteously. I understand that my actions and words, including those shown on social media, now reflect on the legal profession. I will strive to promote an atmosphere of collegiality with my peers that will carry forward in my professional career. I will treat myself and others with respect. All this I do affirm on January 23, 2014.

Fall 2013 Oath

The following oath was authored based on nine points identified by Study Group Leaders as they discussed the practical aspects of the aspirations of the Pillars of Professionalism adopted by the Kansas Supreme Court.

I solemnly affirm that I have read Washburn University School of Law’s Honor Code and the Kansas Supreme Court’s Seven Pillars of Professionalism and understand that much is expected of me now and in the future. I promise to prepare diligently for my classes in order to develop the competency and character that will be expected of me as a lawyer. I understand that my legal reputation started on my first day of law school and will be built upon by my conduct every day forward for the rest of my life. I promise to respond promptly, accurately, and courteously to others in communication. I understand that my words and actions have a power that must be used carefully. I promise to treat others with respect. If at any time for any reason I find that I am failing in these vows, I promise to seek help, in fairness to those who trustingly seek my aid in time of need. All this I do most solemnly affirm on August 22, 2013.

The nine points identified by the Study Group Leaders are:

  1. Students should know that they are expected at a minimum to average two hours of preparation for every hour in class (a 45-hour work week for a 15-hour semester).
  2. Students should know that 1Ls are strongly discouraged from working outside of their studies. If work is absolutely necessary, they should consider reducing their class hours.
  3. Students should know that even 2L and 3Ls are not allowed to work over 20 hours a week (if they are enrolled in over 12 hours), per ABA Standard 304(f).
  4. Students should understand that it is unprofessional and unfair to future clients for them to surf the web, check e-mail, etc. during class. It is also distracting to other students.
  5. Students should understand that anything they post on e-mail, Facebook, tweet, etc. has a very serious power to come back and haunt them.
  6. Students should understand that Washburn e-mail is the official correspondence method of the law school and the university, and that they have a duty to check it at least once a day, Monday through Friday.
  7. Students should understand that they have a duty to respond to queries from faculty, staff, and administration promptly (generally within 48 hours). This will be the duty they will have to clients, partners, and employers in the future.
  8. Students should understand that they must have a good calendaring and alarm system so that they are not late or absent from obligations.
  9. Students should understand that they can see the Dean of Students about any problem they are having (drug, alcohol, health, financial, etc.) and have an obligation to seek help if their problems are interfering with their education. They should have the contact information not only for the Dean of Students but for KALAP and the counseling center.

Spring 2013 Oath

The following oath was authored by study group members Megan Metzinger, Wesley Weber, and Christy Secrest.

I, [your name], solemnly swear to uphold the values of honesty, trustworthiness, and dependability in my legal education as well as the legal profession. I will strive to make my community, the state, the nation, and the world a better place, through service to my fellow man. I will advocate fairness, equality, and justice for all who seek my legal aid. I promise to maintain my self-respect and good conscience in all of my professional endeavors.

Fall 2012 Oath

The following oath was authored by study group members Sam Blasi, Michaela Marine, Bradley Steen, Jacob Mark, and Danielle Packer and administered to the entering class by Judge Nancy Parrish on August 23, 2012.

We, the first year law students of 2012, hereby swear to pursue, ethically and professionally, our education at Washburn University School of Law. Utilizing the principles and elements we learn in class and study group, we will grow together as colleagues with common goals. We will demonstrate our dedication to the learning process by: preparing for class, contributing to our study groups, encouraging one another, and participating in all aspects of our education in order to best serve those who seek our counsel in a professional capacity. We affirm to uphold these values with honesty, humility, and hard work.

Spring 2012 Oath

The following oath was authored by study group members Laurie Bertholet, BreAnne Hendricks, Tyler Patterson, Camiele Vermeulen, and Michael (Alex) Zimmerman and administered to the entering class by Justice Nancy Moritz on January 13, 2012.

I, (state your name) solemnly swear to uphold myself to the honorable traditions of Washburn University School of Law and to the high standards of the profession of law. I swear to abide by the following guiding principles throughout my time at Washburn and throughout my life:
  • I will fulfill all my obligations and uphold the rules and laws set forth by my professors, peers, and community;
  • I will respect diversity of race, religion, background, creed, sexual orientation, and brilliance;
  • I will promote justice and take responsibility for my actions;
  • I will seek consultation when questions arise, and work to establish and maintain a climate of collaboration and teamwork;
  • I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate these behaviors from those around me;
  • I will work to give back to my community and provide support to the indigent;
  • I will remain accountable to my professors, peers, and myself; and
  • I will strive to continuously grow intellectually, morally, spiritually, and emotionally, and to help my peers and those around me in their own growth.
As a student and as a lawyer, I promise to uphold the notions of honesty, integrity, reliability, courtesy and civility. I make this oath on my own honor and volition. I swear to abide by this oath from this day forward.

Fall 2010 Oath

The following oath was administered to the entering class by Judge Christel E. Marquardt on August 18, 2010.

I, _________________, hereby commit to myself and to those who came before me to uphold the traditions and values the legal profession exemplifies. In addition, it is my responsibility to assist in paving the way for the legal professionals of the future. I will demonstrate the values of Washburn by acting with integrity, focusing on the betterment of my community, and continuing to pursue my learning beyond graduation. This oath is more than a ceremony. I, as a legal professional to be, recognize that it is both a duty and privilege and commit to uphold this oath from this day forward.

Spring 2010 Oath

The following oath was authored by Ezzard Nash, Chelsey Matheu, John Wilschke, and Chris Davies and administered to the entering class by Judge David B. Debenham on January 15, 2010.

I, _________________, pledge to uphold the standards established by Washburn University School of Law and the American Bar Association. I promise to act in an ethical manner, to conduct myself with integrity, and to respect myself, my colleagues, and the law. I will take responsibility for my academic and professional conduct.