To this day, I’m amazed when I hear myself utter the words, “I am a lawyer.” Indeed there is so much depth in that statement. It took more than most will ever know to be able to say that. I’ve been a lawyer for almost two months. It wasn’t until recently I decided I wanted to write about the life of a young lawyer. Had I decided the day that I became a lawyer to begin this journey, it would have begun April 18, 2013 when hand raised, standing before Spencer Aronfeld, who I might add was losing the fight to cry, I took the Oath of Attorney.
Taking the Oath of Attorney is a momentous occasion in the life of an attorney because it is from that point forward you can say, “I am an attorney.” Its at that magical moment after you utter the Oath and transform from lay man to an actual officer of the courts. You have to take the oath in front of notary, and after you recite the Oath, you sign it before the presence of a notary. The notary notarizes the paper, and voila, you can begin to add Esquire to your signature.
I took the Oath at the Camillus House, a homeless shelter in downtown Miami. You might be wandering, why in the world, of all places, I would choose a homeless shelter to take my Oath? The answer is complicated, and no doubt, will be the subject of many more stories to come. However, the short and sweet is that I chose to take the Oath at Camillus because that’s where Lawyers to the Rescue does the majority of its work for the Miami community.
Lawyers to the Rescue is an organization that I have been involved with since I was a law student at St. Thomas University School of Law. The mission of Lawyers to the Rescue is to improve the reputation of lawyers in the community by giving back with public service and pro bono charity work. Now a member of the Board of Directors, once a month I help lead a clinic at the Camillus House where lawyers, non-lawyers, and law students from across Miami come together to render aid to the homeless and underprivileged of Miami at the Camillus House. This has been an integral part of my development from law student to young lawyer as it has given me the opportunity, very early on, to meet with “clients” and offer advice. To see a problem and help explain the steps required to reach a solution.
I was proud to take my Oath at Camillus House in front of other members of Lawyers to the Rescue, members of the Camillus House, many of whom I had helped before and still help today, fellow team members from Aronfeld Trial Lawyers and of course, my hero, my mentor and my brother, Spencer Aronfeld. The Oath of Attorney reads as follows:
I do solemnly swear:
I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida;
I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers;
I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceedings which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land;
I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law;
I will maintain the confidence and preserve inviolate the secrets of my clients, and will accept no compensation in connection with their business except from them or with their knowledge and approval;
To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications;
I will abstain from all offensive personality and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged;
I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay anyone’s cause for lucre or malice. So help me God.
And so on April 18th, 2013, after 28 long years, I, Domenick Giovanni Lazzara, became a lawyer.