On August 24, Fordham Law School’s new class of full-time and evening J.D. students capped their orientation week with a recitation of the Fordham Law School Professional Oath.
Traditionally, J.D. students take the Oath as a group in-person at the Law School. This year, the new class of more than 400 students joined virtually over Zoom to listen to remarks from faculty and alumni before reciting the pledge from their homes.
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Kimathi Gordon-Somers welcomed students, remarking, “You’ll note that I reference you as the classes of 2023 and 2024 rather than just calling you first year students, because I think it’s important that we look to the future. Because you are, after all, the lawyers of tomorrow.”
“The law itself is not enough,” Dean Matthew Diller noted in his remarks. “What’s critical is the attitude that you bring to it, and the attitude you bring to everything you do as a lawyer, and yes, as a law student.” To fully embody the Fordham Law ethos of acting “In the service of others,” is critical, Diller told the incoming students. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Linda Sugin agreed, noting, “We lawyers have an awesome responsibility and we can do much good in the world when we get there.”
Hon. Denny Chin ’78, who is a fixture at the annual ceremony, addressed the students before leading them in the Oath. Chin, a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit and former District Judge for the Southern District of New York, teaches legal writing at Fordham, and he offered tomorrow’s lawyers some practical advice: “Work really, really hard your first year. Like it or not, your first year is really important.”
Chin’s remarks also echoed the sentiments espoused by Kimathi-Gordon, Diller, and Sugin. “We expect members of the profession to act ethically, honestly, to be good citizens, to give back to their communities, and indeed, to be in the service of others,” he said. “At Fordham, we are particularly proud of our reputation as being good stewards of the law, and as being good and caring individuals who want to make the world a better place.”
Fordham Law School Professional Oath
As I enter into the legal profession and begin my legal studies at Fordham Law School, I pledge to act with the utmost good faith and integrity.
I will study diligently, commit myself to honest performance on every assignment and examination, and uphold, at all times, Fordham Law School’s Code of Academic Conduct.
I will interact with colleagues and adversaries alike with honesty, professionalism, and civility.
I will seek opportunities to provide leadership and to serve my community and will behave in ways that reflect positively on me, Fordham Law School, and the legal profession.