Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

The Attorney’s Sworn Oath

Taking the attorney’s oath is not just a ritual. It is required for admission to practice law in California.

You may take the oath at an in-person or virtual group swearing-in ceremony organized by your law school, local bar association, or through another group. The State Bar’s Office of Admissions no longer hosts admission ceremonies.

If you are unable to attend an in-person ceremony, you may need to arrange to take the oath one-on-one with an authorized official (see instructions below).

Please note, you cannot be sworn in before your certification for admission has been accepted by the Supreme Court of California and without having received the required form. Please refer to the instructions and FAQs on the Virtual Oath Packet webpage.

California authorized officials

If you are unable to attend a group swearing-in ceremony, you may request an authorized official to swear you in. Below are the officials in California authorized to administer the oath. During the COVID-19 pandemic, if you are requesting that an official administer the oath virtually, you must confirm with the officials that they are authorized to do so.

Important note: California notaries public cannot administer the attorney’s oath virtually, they can only administer the oath in person.

  • A judge of any court of record. CCP § 2093 (a); Gov. Code § 1225
  • A justice of any court of record. CCP § 2093(a); Gov. Code § 1225
  • A former judge or justice of a court of record who is certified by the Commission on Judicial Performance to administer oaths (as long as the judge or justice was not facing charges at the time of resignation or retirement). CCP § 2093(c); Gov. Code § 1225
  • The clerk of any court of record. CCP § 2093(a)
  • A court commissioner of any court of record. CCP § 259; CCP § 2093(a)
  • A notary public. CCP § 2093(a)
  • A shorthand court reporter. CCP § 2093(b)
  • An officer of the executive branch of government (i.e., Governor, Lieutenant Governor)
  • Any member of the Legislature. Gov. Code § 1225
  • The Secretary of the Senate. Gov. Code § 9191.5
  • The Chief Clerk of the Assembly. Gov. Code § 9191.5
  • Any county officer (i.e. district attorney, registrar of voters, assessor, member of the Board of Supervisors) and the officer’s deputy. Gov. Code § 24057
  • Judges of the State Bar Court. Bus. Prof. Code § 6086.5; CCP § 2093(a)
  • The State Bar’s Chief Trial Counsel. Bus. Prof. Code § 6052; CCP § 2093(a)
  • Administrative Law Judges. Gov. Code § 11528; CCP § 2093(a)
  • Mayor. Gov. Code § 40603
  • Jury Commissioner. CCP § 196(a)

Outside California

If you currently live outside of California, it is not necessary for you to return to take the attorney’s oath. An affidavit taken in a foreign country to be used in California may be taken before an ambassador, minister, consul, vice-consul, or consular agent of the United States or before any judge of a court of record having a seal in such foreign country. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2014.)

When an affidavit is taken before a judge or a court in another state or in a foreign country, the genuineness of the signature of the judge, the existence of the court, and the fact that such judge is a member thereof must be certified by the clerk of the court, under the seal thereof. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2015.) Affidavits and oaths made by military personnel are governed by California Civ. Code section 1183.5.

Oath text

Text of the attorney’s oath is available below for the convenience of any person authorized to administer the oath. This is for reference purposes only. Successful applicants who have satisfied all admissions requirements are required to follow the procedures outlined in the Virtual Oath Packet to be officially sworn in and then subsequently enrolled by the State Bar.

 

OATH (to be taken before a Notary or other authorized administering officer): I, (licensee name) solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability. As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy and integrity.

Questions? Submit an inquiry in your Applicant Portal.


Mandating Civility: Beyond the Oath

There has been a noted decline in civility in our profession and society. Citizens struggle to have healthy discussions with those who do not agree with them. Civility is not about agreement, but how we conduct ourselves when we disagree.
To serve as an example for society, the legal profession must model that ‘best’ behavior if discourse is to improve. To that end, in 2014 the California Supreme Court at the recommendation of the State Bar of California Board of Trustees, took a step towards improving civility among California attorneys. It adopted Rule 9.7 of the California Rules of Court adding new language to the attorney oath of admission. The new rule required anyone admitted after 2014 to swear or affirm:

“As an Officer of the Court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy and integrity.”

Did the enactment of this new rule and oath effectuate real change in how attorneys interacted with each other and the courts? In 2021, the California Lawyers Association (CLA) and the California Judges Association (CJA) believed incivility had actually increased in the ensuing years. They formed a joint taskforce to address the issue. In September 2021 they issued their initial report appropriately named “Beyond the Oath”: Recommendations for Improving Civility” and suggested the time had come for “remedial action.”

The Report outlined four key proposals:

1. MCLE Training on Civility – This proposal would require one hour of MCLE training devoted to civility focusing on the link between incivility and bias. The taskforce noted their goal was to educate attorneys about the “economic and human costs of incivility,” to provide them with “reasons and tools” to change their own behavior and to deal with the “stress and dissatisfaction” which uncivil behavior causes. The new one-hour requirement would not add to the number of MCLE hours under the current rules.

2. Judge’s Training – This proposal would require new training programs for judges designed to equip them with tools to have a greater impact on promoting civility among attorneys and to teach them to model the same behavior when interacting with attorneys and litigants. The report attached a sample training program for judges and listed the various rules at their disposal to deal with attorneys (e.g. state bar rules, local county rules and guidelines, guidelines from professional associations, federal court rules and guidelines, and referrals of attorneys to the state bar discipline system).

3. Amend the California Rules of Professional Conduct – The proposed new rule or comment to existing rules would state that repeated incivility would constitute professional misconduct and subject the attorney to state bar discipline. Rule 8.4 which deals with misconduct contains paragraph (d) which states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.” It is contemplated that the rule will be changed to reflect “repeated incivility.”

4. Require all attorneys to take a civility oath annually – Since a large number of California attorneys were admitted to practice before 2014, before the Rule 9.7 oath change, this proposal would require all attorneys who renew and pay annual bar dues to swear or affirm they will conduct themselves civilly.

Finally the Task force commented that incivility disproportionately impacts “young lawyers, women lawyers, lawyers of color and lawyers from other marginalized groups and threatens the profession as a whole and the justice system itself.”

On March 24, 2022, at the State Bar of California Board of Trustees meeting, it considered these four proposals and voted to implement an “action plan” which included 1) directing state bar staff to review the one-hour MCLE training requirement including recommending changes to state bar rules which govern MCLE compliance; 2) referring the amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct to the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) to draft a new rule or comment to existing Rule 8.4; and 3) directing state bar staff to prepare a public comment solicitation on requiring all attorneys to take the oath annually.

Although these proposals, if implemented will benefit both attorneys and judges, the ultimate beneficiary of acting civil is our fellow citizens who will see that they can place their trust in the legal profession. The joint taskforce report described the severity of the civility issue noting that “bullying, intimidation and nastiness has too often replaced discussion, negotiation and skillful, hard-fought advocacy which interferes with the justice system’s ability to function fairly and reliably.” They also commented that even the perception of incivility is dangerous to democracy and the rule of law because the public will not trust the legal system if it does not believe its gatekeepers, attorneys and judges are “honest and ethical.”

As former United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger noted, “the necessity for civility is relevant to lawyers because you are the living exemplars—and thus teachers every day, in every case, and in every court and your worst conduct will be emulated perhaps more readily than your best.”

Going beyond the oath and implementing these proposals will show the public that civility is the hallmark and foundation of our learned profession. source

 


read more:

The Attorney’s Sworn Oath

“Civility” Oath Rule Adopted by Supreme Court

Lawyers’ Obligation of Candor to Opposing Parties and Third Parties

Code of Conduct for United States Judges

Suing for Misconduct – Know More of Your Rights

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CALIFORNIA BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE 6067 Oath

CALIFORNIA BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE
  6067.  Oath.  Every person on his admission shall take an oath
  to support the Constitution of the United States and the
  Constitution of the State of California, and faithfully to
  discharge the duties of any attorney at law to the best of his
  knowledge and ability.  A certificate of the oath shall be
  indorsed upon his license.
  (Added by Stats. 1939, c 34. p. 354, Sec. 1.)

NOTE:  There are no attorneys licensed in California.  When asked, 
none can produce a certificate.  At best, an attorney can only
produce his Bar membership card (privately issued by the
Bar Association) and a letter of acknowledgement from the state
supreme court.

The California Bar Association was incorporated in 1903.  
According to the incorporation papers, the corporation would
exist for 50 years.  In 1953 the corporation ceased to exist.
The Bar Association now does not officially exist in California.
It operates as a chapter of the national organization, probably
as a common law association.  The California Secretary of State
does not have any record of the Association since 1953.  Any
corporation is required to register with the Secretary of
State, even municipal and non-profit corporations.  The
Association has not done so since 1953. source

 

Cal. R. 9.7 – Rule 9.7 – Oath required when admitted to practice law

In addition to the language required by Business and Professions Code section 6067, the oath to be taken by every person on admission to practice law is to conclude with the following: “As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy and integrity.”

Cal. R. Ct. 9.7

Rule 9.7 renumbered effective 1/1/2018; adopted as rule 9.4 effective 5/27/2014. source

New California lawyers will have to promise to be courteous

New California lawyers will soon have to swear to be courteous and dignified under a change in the legal oath approved by the California Supreme Court.

As of May 23, the oath required of lawyers admitted to the California bar will include a so-called civility pledge, officials announced Thursday. The court adopted it at the urging of the American Board of Trial Advocates, which has pushed for the change nationwide, and the State Bar of California.

New lawyers previously have been required to say this oath: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability.”

In the future, the lawyers will have to make one more promise: “As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.”

The new language was the first major change to the lawyers’ oath since it was codified into law in 1872.

Douglas DeGrave, immediate past president of the California Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates, called the revision a “historic moment for the legal community.”

“As professionals, we have an obligation to conduct ourselves with dignity, courtesy, and integrity,” DeGrave said in a statement released by the court. “Many have forgotten these very principles to which we, as professionals, should always adhere.”

Patrick Kelly, past president of the state bar, said the promise to be civil would remind lawyers to adhere to principles of professionalism, particularly in their dealings with clients, other attorneys and judges.

Mark Robinson Jr., president of the American Board of Trial Advocates group and a member of California’s Judicial Council, which sets policy for state courts, said the new language “is a great thing for justice here in California.” source

“Civility” Oath Rule Adopted by Supreme Court

Will apply to new lawyers

San Francisco—The California Supreme Court today announced that it has adopted rule 9.4 of the California Rules of Court to supplement the attorney oath for new lawyers. The oath will include a statement that the attorney will strive to conduct himself or herself with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.

“Rule 9.4 Oath required when admitted to practice law” was adopted by the Supreme Court at its administrative conference on April 23, 2014, and will be added to Title 9. Rules On Law Practice, Attorneys, And Judges of the California Rules of Court effective May 23, 2014. The adoption of the rule was consistent with the nationwide efforts, led in part by the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), to include a “civility” provision to the oaths taken by lawyers admitted to the bar in jurisdictions nationwide.

Mr. Mark Robinson, Jr., commented “As president of ABOTA and also as a member of California’s Judicial Council, I really praise the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court regarding the passing of the courtesy and integrity oath. We need lawyers who are courteous to other lawyers and to the courts, and we need lawyers with integrity. This is a great thing for justice here in California and it’s great for the Judicial Council, national ABOTA, and the people of California.”

Rule 9.4 states “In addition to the language required by Business and Professions Code section 6067, the oath to be taken by every person on admission to practice law is to conclude with the following:  ‘As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.’ ”

“The State Bar was pleased to work with Doug DeGrave and CAL-ABOTA in urging the court to adopt this additional measure, and it is our belief that it will create an added reinforcement for attorneys entering the bar in California to remember the principles of professionalism that brought them to the practice in the first place and in particular in their dealings with clients, other attorneys, and judges” said Mr. Patrick Kelly, immediate past-president of the State Bar of California, “This was the highest priority for Doug and I, so we’re delighted that the court has made this addition to the rules.”

With the adoption of the new rule, the entire oath to be taken upon the admission to practice law will now be as follows: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability. As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.”

According to Mr. Douglas DeGrave, immediate past president of the California Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (CAL-ABOTA), “This revision to the oath is an historic moment for the legal community. This change in the oath should remind us of our obligations beyond that of zealous advocacy on behalf of our clients. As professionals, we have an obligation to conduct ourselves with dignity, courtesy, and integrity. Many have forgotten these very principles to which we, as professionals, should always adhere. As an organization, CAL-ABOTA is proud of this accomplishment and our partnership with the State Bar. Needless to say, we are very pleased with the adoption of rule 9.4.” source

 

 

 

the oath in all 50 states here 

 


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Abuse & Neglect The Mandated Reporters  (Police, D.A & Medical & the Bad Actors)

Mandated Reporter Laws – Nurses, District Attorney’s, and Police should listen up
If You Would Like to Learn More About:
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The Decision Briefing Merits After the San Jose Decision

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Cleaning Up Your Record

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Governor Pardons – What Does A Governor’s Pardon Do

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Judge’s & Prosecutor’s Jurisdiction– SCOTUS RULINGS on

Prosecutional Misconduct – SCOTUS Rulings re: Prosecutors

 


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Please take time to learn new UPCOMING 

The PROPOSED Parental Rights Amendment
to the US CONSTITUTION Click Here to visit their site

The proposed Parental Rights Amendment will specifically add parental rights in the text of the U.S. Constitution, protecting these rights for both current and future generations.

The Parental Rights Amendment is currently in the U.S. Senate, and is being introduced in the U.S. House.