The University of La Verne College of Law and Public Service achieved a 66% bar exam passing rate, the highest in recent history. The students’ success was celebrated with a swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 1 at the College of Law campus in Ontario.
Kevin Marshall, dean of the College of Law, helmed the ceremony for the 37 newly minted lawyers who were honored before an audience of about 100 friends and family members, who cheered as honorees’ names were called.
In her congratulatory speech University President Pardis Mahdavi told the graduates to bask in the success of their tremendous efforts and to take in all of the love of the people who brought them to this point.
“I’m so proud of our students who’ve passed the bar,” Mahdavi said. “A 66% pass rate is incredible and higher than the national average.”
To many of the students, passing the bar exam did not seem real. Honoree Mallorie Jones said that being recognized at the ceremony has still not hit her.
“For me this is just a very surreal experience because I’m now in my 30s, and finally I feel like my dream is coming true,” Jones said.
College of Law professors and staff were also on hand to honor the new lawyers.
In an emotional moment, Law student Yvette Gonzalez welcomed many hugs from her professors and family after the ceremony.
“I can’t get over this amazing feeling,” Gonzalez said. “The exam was really difficult, but I knew I could do it.”
Victor Martinez, a judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court and adjunct professor for the College of Law, swore-in using the Attorney’s Oath to the State Bar of California.
“Lawyers are intertwined to every part of our society,” Martinez said. He said that he challenges all of the bar exam passers to find something in the law that they are passionate about.
With her passion for the law, Jones said that she plans on going into employment in labor law with an emphasis on fashion.
Gonzalez said that no matter what part of the law she enters, she wants to be a great attorney.
Martinez said that he has worked with students who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives, and he has also worked with those who were on their second career, dropped out of high school or faced some sort of struggle.
“No matter what path you’ve taken, if you want something, I say you should go for it,” Martinez said.
Mahdavi advised aspiring lawyers to continue the work of upholding justice and democracy.
“This is a really important and worthy field, and we always need good lawyers,” Mahdavi said.
Refreshments and photo ops came after the formal ceremony.
“I love doing this particular function,” Martinez said. “I do a lot of things for the University, but this is for sure my favorite.”
Taylor Fukunaga can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An earlier version of this story stated that this year’s Bar passage rate was the highest in College of Law history. It is actually the highest in recent history. The Campus Times regrets the error.