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Lawyer's Official Oath and Office

Lawyer's Official Oath and Office

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Published by Juan del Sur
There is today some question about the value of an oath of office. No one, it seems, wants to be held to their oath, least of all lawyers. This 1909 document discusses the oath, and why it is so important to impose on people in the legal profession.

“Why is any oath required for admission to the practice of the law? No oath is required by law for admission to practise in any other profession, even where qualifications to practise are prescribed or ascertained by examinations required by law, as in the case of physicians. But an official oath has always been required for admission to the practice of the law. Why is it required? What is its significance and what obligation does it impose?

“The significance of the lawyer's oath is that it stamps the lawyer as an officer of the State, with rights, powers and duties as important as those of the Judges of the Courts themselves. When a lawyer is admitted to practise and takes the required oath of office he has as much right to discharge the duties of his office as a representative or senator has to sit and act in the Legislature, or a Governor to exercise the functions of a chief magistrate. He has as much right to appear in Court and be heard for a party to a cause as a Judge has to hear and decide the cause. A lawyer is not the servant of his client. He is not the servant of the Court. He is an officer of the Court, with all the rights and responsibilities which the character of his office gives and imposes. He is also an officer for life whose office cannot be taken from him except for cause established by due process of law upon proof, hearing and judicial determination.”
There is today some question about the value of an oath of office. No one, it seems, wants to be held to their oath, least of all lawyers. This 1909 document discusses the oath, and why it is so important to impose on people in the legal profession.

“Why is any oath required for admission to the practice of the law? No oath is required by law for admission to practise in any other profession, even where qualifications to practise are prescribed or ascertained by examinations required by law, as in the case of physicians. But an official oath has always been required for admission to the practice of the law. Why is it required? What is its significance and what obligation does it impose?

“The significance of the lawyer's oath is that it stamps the lawyer as an officer of the State, with rights, powers and duties as important as those of the Judges of the Courts themselves. When a lawyer is admitted to practise and takes the required oath of office he has as much right to discharge the duties of his office as a representative or senator has to sit and act in the Legislature, or a Governor to exercise the functions of a chief magistrate. He has as much right to appear in Court and be heard for a party to a cause as a Judge has to hear and decide the cause. A lawyer is not the servant of his client. He is not the servant of the Court. He is an officer of the Court, with all the rights and responsibilities which the character of his office gives and imposes. He is also an officer for life whose office cannot be taken from him except for cause established by due process of law upon proof, hearing and judicial determination.”

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Published by: Juan del Sur on Oct 07, 2013
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03/11/2014

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THE
LAWYER'S
OFFICIAL
OATH
AND
OFFICE
BY
JOSIAH
HENRY
BENTON,
LL.D.
BOSTON
The
Boston
Book
Company
1909
 
Copyright,
1909,
By
J.
H.
BENTON.
THE
ROCKWELL
AND
CHURCHILL
PRESS
 
THE
LAWYER'S
OFFICIAL
OATH
AND
OFFICE.
By
JOSIAH
HENRY
BENTON,
LL.D.
Most
of
what
is
contained
in
this
book
was
gathered
by
me
in
the
preparation
of
an
address
deHvered
before
the
Albany
Law
School
in
the
Hubbard
course
of
Legal
Ethics,
May
17,
1909.
It
has
been
suggested
that
its
presentation
in
this
form
will
be
useful
to
the
profession,
as
some
of
itis
not
otherwise
easily
accessible
to
all
who
areinterested
in
the
subject
of
the
lawyer's
oath
and
office.
This,
as
well
as
my
own
belief
that
the
dignity
and
impor-
tanceof
the
lawyer's
office
and
of
the
duties
imposed
by
his
official
oath
should
be
more
fully
understood,
have
caused
me
to
print
this
little
book.
Why
is
any
oath
required
for
admission
to
the
practice
of
the
law?
No
oath
is
required
by
law
for
admission
to
practise
in
any
other
profession,
even
where
qualifications
to
practise
are
prescribed
or
ascertained
by
examinations
required
by
law,
as
in
thecaseof
physicians.
But
an
official
oath
has
always
been
required
for
admission
to
the
practice
ofthe
law.
Why
is
it
required?
What
is
its
significance
and
what
obligation
does
it
impose?
The
significance
ofthe
lawyer's
oath
is
that
it
stamps
the

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