Nearly 200 lawyers walked the stage at the historic Ohio Theatre this week to officially start their careers as practicing lawyers.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor administered the oath of office to applicants who were successful on their February Ohio bar examination and who satisfied all of the Supreme Court’s requirements for admission.
She also offered some advice.
“First, relax,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “Some of you may be anxious because that dream job has not materialized. But in the meantime, use the knowledge, the critical thinking skills, and the adaptability as a lawyer to excel in your current position.”
Of 374 applicants who sat for the exam, 195 received passing scores. Ninety-nine first-time test takers passed, as well.
Justice Mary DeGenaro delivered the keynote speech.
“It is up to you to do justice, to do mercy, and walk humbly along this noble path, the practice of law in which we all have the privilege to be part of,” Justice DeGenaro said.
After the ceremony, the proud new lawyers headed to the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, and shared some compelling stories.
“I’m a licensed attorney in Illinois and Minnesota,” said Molly Mack-Katholi. “So moving here meant that I was unable to practice law, which I love more than anything else. Today is like getting a driver’s license or a library card. It’s the freedom to do something I know in my heart what I was always meant to do.”
For Chelsea Cereghin, the transformation to becoming a lawyer was six years in the making.
“I had my daughter during law school,” said Cereghin. “This is the most schooling anyone in my family has ever achieved, so it’s a big accomplishment.”
It meant leaving home for Vincent Boddy.
“I’m from Michigan so I moved to Ohio for law school,” said Boddy. “Being in a new state. Not knowing anyone when I first got here. All the studying in law school and the studying for the bar exam, which is a different animal, all those things led up to today.”
Boddy has a job working for the city of Dayton, Ahmad Saleh remembered the chief justice’s advice to relax about not having a job lined up.
“Right now there’s nothing set in stone, but that means a door of opportunity is waiting,” Saleh said.
Cereghin is heading back to Defiance to work in a small law firm as a guardian ad-litem. She described her journey in one sentence.
“A lot of hard work, determination, long nights, and tears — but I made it,” Cereghin said.