University of Kansas Law Review
Lawyers have sworn an oath to be admitted to the Bar since the beginnings of the Anglo-American legal profession. The oath serves several extremely important purposes. First, it is the formal act that admits an individual into the Bar and confers upon the oath taker the right to perform the duties of an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the oath is given. Second, the oath admits the new attorney to the broader world of the legal profession and signifies that the new attorney has been judged by the oath giver as worthy of the right to practice law. Third, the oath creates broad legal obligations on the part of the new attorney to uphold the promises made as the oath taker. The customary scope of these broad obligations, such as when the duty to keep promises implies a broader promise to be truthful in statements to others, could be a bit surprising in practice. So, we should not be surprised that the precise language of the oath of admission for lawyers is of great significance and is taken seriously by those who administer and those who swear to the oath.
M. H. Hoeflich & Stephen Sheppard, The Mystery of the Leavenworth Oaths, 71 U. Kan. L. Rev. 751 (2023).