Twenty-two members of the University of New Hampshire School of Law's class of 2014 have bypassed the traditional bar exam by completing an alternative bar exam while in school, and were inducted into the New Hampshire Bar on Friday, May 16, in a ceremony presided over by the justices of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
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, created portfolios of their work, met with bar examiners on three different occasions, and were certified by the state bar as having passed all requirements without sitting for the traditional exam. In essence, the honors program offers a two-year instead of a two-day bar examination. Students sworn into the bar on Friday will graduate from law school on Saturday, and some will begin practicing law on Monday.
At the ceremony, Professor John Garvey, director of the Daniel Webster Scholar program, credited the NH Supreme Court and its chief justice for their role in creating the nationally recognized program seven years ago.
“Chief Justice Linda Dalianis was the vision for this program,” he told the graduating students. “Without her vision, none of us would be here today.”
UNH Law Dean John Broderick, himself a former chief justice of the NH Supreme Court, also paid homage to Justice Dalianis’s “genius” and the court’s role in creating the program. He told the students to seek a model for their legal future.
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 2014 Daniel Webster Scholars are: Navid Ahmadi, Stephen Baker, Hannah Baldwin, Daniel Bretzius, Emily Conant, Alexandra Cote, Esther Dickinson, Cherylyn Egner, Danielle Flory, Alexandria Forgione, Judson Hescock, Joshua Hilliard, Cooley Horner, David Kolesar, Callan Maynard, Tinh Nguyen, Lina Shayo, Beth Smith, Christopher Voukides, Thomas Wertman, Scott Whitaker, and Stephen Zaharias.
Garvey reminded graduates of the great responsibility, and duty to public service, that would come with their newfound power as attorneys.
“Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time,” he said, quoting Marian Wright Edelman, the first African-American woman admitted to the Mississippi state bar.
Written by Peter Davies.
Photos by Perry Smith.