University of New Hampshire

School of Law

Graduating Class of Daniel Webster Scholars Sworn in to New Hampshire Bar

Graduating Class of Daniel Webster Scholars Sworn in to New Hampshire Bar

Twenty members of the University of New Hampshire School of Law's class of 2012 have bypassed the traditional bar exam and were inducted into the NH Bar on Friday, May 18, in a ceremony presided over by three state supreme court justices.

In their final two years of law school, the students, who are members of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program, completed rigorous practical preparation in addition to their traditional legal education and were certified by the state bar as having passed all requirements without sitting for the traditional exam. Students sworn into the Bar on Friday will graduate from law school on Saturday, and many of them will begin practicing law on Monday.

At the ceremony, Professor John Garvey, director of the Daniel Webster Scholar program, credited the NH Supreme Court for its role in creating the progressive program seven years ago.

“You are here today in large part because this court was willing to innovate and to lead the country in developing a program that would prepare law students who were better ready to represent the clients they will serve,” he told the graduating students.

The two-year honors course is a joint creation of the NH Supreme Court, 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.

The 2012 Daniel Webster Scholars are: Melissa Atherton, Robert Berry, Joseph Citro, Mason Dunn, Kelly Ann Farrell, Jonathan Foskett, John Fuentes, Paul Groce, Rachel Hawkinson, Matthew Kinnier, Emily Laflamme, Jennifer Makahusz, Eman Pahlevani, Joshua Puryear, Edward Sisson, Holly Stevens, Ramey Sylvester, Jeffrey Warley, Rick Weeks, and Maddalena Zefferino. They are from California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Toronto, Canada, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

For Stevens, the collegial nature of the program made all the difference.

“The DWS classes were geared towards teamwork and cooperation – this is an environment that I thrive in,” she said. “This aspect of the program really prepared me for working in a firm environment where teamwork is key. I also felt the ‘hands-on’ training was invaluable. During my externship this past semester, I was asked to draft a complaint. I was able to complete the assignment in only a couple of hours.”

Said Makahusz: “The Daniel Webster Scholar Program provided a simulated environment where I could make mistakes and learn from them. Whether it was presenting an argument to a New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice or participating in a deposition, I now feel more confident in being a lawyer rather than just a law student."

Click here to view a photo gallery of this year's ceremony.

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