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MSU College of Law



January 31, 2011


Justice Markman Administers Oath to MSU Law Student Clinicians

East Lansing, MI — Michigan State University College of Law students reflected upon their dual responsibilities to clients and the legal profession as they recited a modified version of the lawyer’s oath now required under rules adopted by the state’s highest court. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman administered the oath to nearly 60 student clinicians on Wednesday, January 12.

Amended Michigan Court Rule 8.120, which took effect on January 1, allows law students and recent graduates who work in clinics serving indigent clients to present oral arguments before the Michigan Court of Appeals. To qualify, students must take an oath that is nearly identical to that taken upon admission to the State Bar of Michigan.

“Just as your education in torts and contracts and constitutional law is designed to train you to ‘think like a lawyer,’ the purpose of this oath is to do the same,” said Justice Markman. “To ‘think like a lawyer’ is not merely to know the black letter of the law, and to comprehend the logic and analytical approach of the law, but it is also to understand the profession’s moral and ethical standards.”

Citing the rule’s requirement that student clinicians also certify that they have read and are familiar with the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct and the Michigan Court Rules, Justice Markman reminded students of “the seriousness and the gravity” of their actions as clinic participants.

In taking the oath, students who are participating in the MSU College of Law Legal Clinic this spring pledged to uphold the state and U.S. Constitutions, maintain respect for the courts and judicial officers, maintain client confidentiality, and otherwise conform to the high standards of conduct expected of members of the bar.

“Your great law school, your future alma mater, believes that each of you is the kind of man or woman who makes us believe in this oath today,” Justice Markman concluded. “That is what makes this moment a significant one.”

The MSU College of Law Legal Clinic provides a high-energy, small law firm environment in which students apply their knowledge of the substantive law to real-life situations under the guidance and supervision of licensed attorneys. While discovering their niche in the field of law, student clinicians provide an important service for the betterment of the community. MSU Law’s growing list of clinical program offerings now includes the Chance at Childhood, First Amendment, Housing, Immigration Law, Plea & Sentencing, Small Business & Nonprofit, and Tax clinics.

Michigan State University College of Law is a leading institution of legal education with a long history of educating practice-ready attorneys. As one of only a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After 100 years as a private and independent institution, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, its curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and its facility is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming MSU Law's commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.


320 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824


Justice Stephen Markman administered the oath to Plea & Sentencing Clinic students Michael Siracuse, Daniel Martindale, Dyan Kleinman, and Slade Sokol

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