Daniel Webster Scholars Sworn in to NH Bar Day Before Graduation
Nineteen members of the University of New Hampshire School of Law's class of 2011 have already passed the New Hampshire bar exam and were inducted into the Bar at the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Friday, May 20.
In the final two years of law school, members of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program completed rigorous practical preparation in addition to their traditional legal education and were certified by the New Hampshire Bar as having passed all Bar requirements without sitting for the exam. Students sworn into the Bar on Friday will graduate law school on Saturday, and many of them will begin practicing law on Monday.
The program, directed by Professor John Garvey, has received national attention and praise since its inception in 2005, and last month it was touted as "the future of legal education" in a widely published guide for law students.
At the ceremony, Garvey credited New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Dalianis for her significant role in creating the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program: "This program was started because of your vision and leadership over the years," he said. Garvey had praise for the graduates, as well. "Each and every one of you will make a difference. This journey is not only worthwhile, it is absolutely necessary for the preservation of a free society."
The 2-year honors course is a joint creation of Chief Justice Dalianis, the law school, the state bar association and the state board of bar examiners. Students focus on being client-ready, with simulated client interactions, courtroom exercises, and clinical experience. Many augment these with externships, as well. Students' progress is assessed through detailed rubrics and portfolio evaluation. Four times during their second and third years, students are required to demonstrate their ability to practice law by submitting their portfolios to NH Bar examiners, who also orally examine the students during their final semester.
Referencing the program's relative youth, and its innovative structure, Dalianis thanked the graduates "for taking part in our grand experiment," citing the merger of theory and practice that makes Daniel Webster Scholar students "practice ready."
"We know you are ready, and we are proud of you," she told the class. "Congratulations."
The 2011 Daniel Webster Scholars are Allison Ambrose, Lauren Breda, Karinne Brobst, Brian Buonamo, Jay Duguay, Sara Firmin, Kate Geraci, Megan Hertler, Naomi Kalies, Adrian LaRochelle, Daniel Lawson, Benjamin LeDuc, Michael Malaguti, Andrea Mitrushi, Luke Nelson, Jon Rochlis, Thomas Sanchez, Carolyn Shea, and Alexander Vitale. They are from Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Kalies, who after graduation will work as a legal and legislative assistant for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, was moved by the ceremony – and the journey's end. "It feels wonderful," she said. "The weight of what you're taking on comes home in the courtroom."