It's official. I was sworn in this afternoon and am now officially a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois. Appellate judges from any State are allowed to swear in attorneys for Illinois with the right paperwork, certification, etc. So after oral arguments this afternoon my judge administered the Illinois oath in the Hawaii Supreme Court. It was my own private swearing in, which was cool. Also, my judge made a point to say a few nice things about me right before, which was unexpected but incredibly thoughtful.
I have written multiple times, I think, that although Hawaii has some back asswards ways of doing things, one thing they cannot be faulted for is their "aloha spirit" and family-focused approach to each other. My swearing in experience only affirmed this spirit. Earlier in the week, unbeknownst to me, our judicial assistant sent an email to everyone on the Court telling them that we were doing my swearing in after oral arguments and inviting everyone to come over and congratulate me. I had two people come up to me and apologize that they weren't going to be around today, but they just wanted to congratulate me. When the time finally came, there were maybe 12 people who came over to say congratulations and observe my giving the oath. After I took the oath, I got three leis. No kidding. Getting a lei is a sign of congratulations, achievement, and family. Sure, when the Chief Justice of the Hawai'i Supreme Court was sworn in, he received about 100, but I am well on my way!
Being able to share the experience with people who treated me like family was great. Obviously all of my Chicago lawyer friends were already sworn in back home and I couldn't go. So it was nice to be able to get it done here in such a great environment. Despite everything we read about lawyers, everything bar associations across the country are doing that degrade the profession, and every lawyer in advertisements giving the legal profession a bad name, I do still have an idealized view of the law and the role of lawyers in society. I look forward to a career as a lawyer.