May 04, 2005

Appelez moi Mêêêêtre ! (Beaver, Attorney at law)

Last monday, I took my oath as an attorney. WOW ! should be my reaction to it, but really, it feels more like "Huh ? Was that it ?"

So let me take you to the secret hall of what it is to take oath in Quebec.

April 1st : I get to Montreal
April 4th : I give in my reports to the Bar association and am advised that my oath will be may 2nd.
April 11th : I file all appropriate paper work and inquire about the time and location of the ceremony. I'm told to expect a phone call.
April 18th : I pay my first Professional association fee - roughly 500$CDN for the year. Ouch. (Remember, I'm jobless for now.) Once again, I ask for the time and location of the ceremony. I'm told to speak to Mrs X downstairs, who tells me to expect a phone call.
April 29th : I get a message on my machine to please call Mrs Y. I call her and find out the time and location of the ceremony. I finally find out what it is I am going to swear to.

May 2nd : I am an attorney.

The ceremony is held at the Montreal Courthouse (Palais de Justice), in a huge room which I assume is usually used for highly mediatized trials, since there actually is a section for journalists. (Just so you know, there were no journalists at the ceremony, guess no one important was there...) The room is large and filled with chairs, with 2 judge benches and a desk. The walls are grey and brown, the neons are dreary. We are told to sit with are guests. The room is soon filled with 28 freshly sworn-in attorneys and theirs 6 guests each. A guest in particular is to be noticed : Mr. Jean Charest, Prime Minister of Quebec, is there, sitting at the front row.

The 28 of us take place and sit IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER (the Bar's bureaucracy always made me laugh) and listen to the Head Barrister's speech. I am relieved that he is actually lively, interesting and short in his speech. We are then asked to stand up and take oath :

"I do swear that I will be loyal and bear true allegiance to the constituted authority and that I will fulfill the duties of the profession of advocate honestly, faithfully and justly.

I will always maintain a respectful attitude in word and in deed towards those charged with the administration of justice.

I will faithfully execute all mandates entrusted to me.

I will preserve inviolate the secrets of my clients unless I am authorized to divulge the same by Law.

I will abide by the provisions of the Code des professions, of the Bar Act, and of the by-laws of the Bar, bearing always in mind my duty not to compromise the honour and dignity of the profession which I enter this day."

I must say that taking the oath was something to me. I always considered myself a person of my word. So it's kinda like getting married or becoming a nun, or a knight. I'm a chevaleresque person, so this means a lot to me.

Once that was done, we all got to shake hands with the Head Barrister and got our envellope, which contained, of course, my licence (It's all nice with a golden seal and all).

Ok, so now I'm an attorney. Now what ?

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