Seven lawyers were admitted Thursday at U.S. District Court in Bangor to practice before the federal bar.
In welcoming the new attorneys, the federal court’s three judges encouraged them to continue to uphold the reputation and tradition of the local legal community.
“You are joining, as you probably know, a wonderful bar,” one where the lawyers are “friendly, able, and helpful,” said U.S. District Judge Morton A. Brody.
The legal community has the reputation of being “one of the finest in the state, if not the finest,” he said, adding that the new lawyers had the responsiblity “to enhance that reputation.”
Brody especially cited the late John Ballou, prominent Bangor attorney and president of the Maine Bar Association who died earlier this month, as “an excellent example” of a bar member. The judge challenged the new lawyers “to emulate the admirable traits of John Ballou” and “replenish some of the qualities lost” with Ballou’s death.
About 30 local lawyers attended the ceremony, which has usually been done in conjunction with the swearing-in of new citizens in a twice-a-year naturalization ceremony.
Brody acknowledged that the swearing-in of new citizens has lately been done more informally, and indicated he would like to see both ceremonies done together.
“We’re going to see if we can change that around,” he said.
Also present for the ceremony were U.S. Appellate Judge Conrad K. Cyr and U.S. Magistrate Judge Eugene Beaulieu.
Beaulieu pointed out there was a special relationship among members of the local bar and said he hoped the new members would “continue what the previous members have done.”
Cyr also commented that the community had “continued to show a camaraderie and cooperation” that was uncommon. There “seems to be a prospect of continuing that attitude, and I hope it does,” he said.
Jay McCloskey, making his first public appearance as interim U.S. attorney, was then introduced.
Before presenting the new lawyers, McCloskey, who was recommended for the federal position by U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell, a former Bangor federal judge, joked about not being sure his appointment would ever take place. Referring to a large portrait of Mitchell hanging in the courtroom, he said, “Thanks to somebody on the wall, it did.”
McCloskey then made the motion that the lawyers be admitted, and the seven candidates were presented, including Jefferson T. Ashby of Presque Isle; Hans G. Huessy, Dixmont; Kerry Clark Jordan, Orono; John P. March Jr., Seal Harbor; Jill Tompkins Shibles, Hampden; Nolan H. Tanous, Millinocket; and Dale F. Thistle, Skowhegan.
The lawyers swore to uphold the Maine constitution, to respect the court and its officers, and not to reject “the cause of the defenseless and the oppressed.”
Brody granted the motion, noting to laughter from the audience that there had been several memos in opposition to its being granted, “mostly by spouses.”
A reception sponsored by the Penobscot County Bar Association followed the ceremony.