I recently saw a re-run of John Grisham’s early novel, The Firm, on HBO, starring Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and others. The traditional oath taken by new admittees to the legal community in Tennessee was impressive and lengthy. For some reason it did not appear to be the same oath that I took in September, 1966.
I decided to look up what the present oath given to new attorneys under rules 6 and 7 of the rules of the Tennessee Supreme court contains, hoping that there might be some favorable language to possibly curtail the use of deceptive legal advertising being forced upon the public by only a few law firms out of nearly the close to 20,000 attorneys now licensed to practice in Tennessee. Unfortunately, the following Oath as amended on December 21, 2015, to be effective January 1, 2106 is not of much help in any effort in controlling legal advertising.
Rule 6 Admission of Attorney says:
Each applicant for admission shall take the following oath:
“I, ___________, do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support the constitution of the United States of America and the State of Tennessee, and that I will truly and honestly demean myself in the practice of my profession to the best of my skill and abilities, so help me God!”
Nothing is included that requires new admittees to the Bar to pledge loyalty to our clients which should be the prime objective of our legal system.
A pledge or oath is only as good as the integrity of the individuals that swear to its contents.
Perhaps Rules 6 and 7 cover the subject with their many parts, but it seems to me that in this day of virtually uncontrolled legal advertising, a specific affirmation of putting our client’s interests at the onset of one entering the legal field would be appropriate and required.
I encourage you to buy local products and hire local, reputable attorneys!
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