Looking for actual official MBE Questions? Try our newly updated MBE Qbank for free here!

attorney swearing inShould I go to a public swearing-in ceremony or arrange a private one?

The swearing-in ceremony is a memorable moment for many new attorneys. It is when you officially are accepted into the legal profession. All that hard work before and during law school and then with the bar exam finally comes to fruition. This post discusses the positives and negatives of a private swearing-in ceremony.

(If you are not sure what a swearing-in ceremony is, check out our post on what a swearing-in ceremony actually is!)

There are two options for a swearing-in ceremony: public and private. A public, mass swearing-in ceremony is a set date and time at a court. All new attorneys are invited, but usually it will be made up of those closest to that particular court.

In contrast, a private swearing-in ceremony is only you getting sworn in by a judge. Usually, the judge will make arrangements to have their courtroom cleared out for only you, your guests, and your attorney sponsor.

Should I go to a public swearing-in ceremony or arrange a private one?

Both public and private swearing-in ceremonies have their plusses and minuses. This is a special event to celebrate all your accomplishments, so try to make the event what you want it to be! In this post, we discuss the private swearing-in ceremony to help you decide if that is the right option for you!

A private swearing-in ceremony allows for no distractions, just you and your family; but you don’t get to see law school classmates. 

Everyone will have their own preference for a swearing-in ceremony; however, many can see the advantage to having the whole courtroom to yourself for this special event. That allows for no distractions, and usually a quicker process.

Also, a private swearing-in ceremony guarantees that as many family members that want to come will have a seat, and next to each other! Some public swearing-in ceremonies have a limit on the number of guests you can bring! So, if you have a big family or a lot of people who want to come support you, a private swearing-in might be the better option!

Yet, some young lawyers will want to instead attend a public swearing-in ceremony because it is a chance to see all your law school friends!

It is nice to have family and friends present at this special event, so make sure that the swearing-in ceremony you choose will allow for all the people you want there!

You have to know a judge who is willing to do a private swearing-in ceremony; but if you do, that will make it more personal.

For some, finding a judge to do a private swearing-in ceremony is no big deal because maybe you worked for judge or have a family friend who is a judge. But for others who don’t have a personal email or phone number for a judge, it may be tough to find a judge to do a private swearing-in ceremony.

If you have a personal relationship with a judge, having them do your private swearing-in ceremony makes the event much more special. You and your guests usually can act more informally, and the judge could say something more personal about you. Also, it is less intimidating to be in front of a judge you know.

If you don’t know a judge on a personal level but still want a private swearing-in ceremony, you likely will not have as intimate of a ceremony as the person who knows a judge. However, that doesn’t mean that judges aren’t willing to do a private swearing-in ceremony for you! Begin searching for the right judge and reach out to them as soon as possible so they can make room for you in their busy schedule!

Not all judges are permitted to conduct swearing-in ceremonies. (But some states allow a judge to seek permission to conduct such a ceremony ahead of time.) Check with your judge before the event to make sure everything is in order, especially if the judge never has sworn in an attorney before!

A private swearing-in ceremony allows you to choose a date and time that is best for you and your guests, but a judge will only have so many times available.

If you choose a private swearing-in ceremony, a main advantage is that you can pick a date and time that works for everyone you want to invite. In contrast, a public swearing-in ceremony is a set date and time, no options.

However, be prepared to work on the judge’s time as well! A judge usually cannot do the ceremony any time you choose, because they still have cases to hear! And, the times they are available might be in the middle of the day or before work hours conclude, meaning you and some guests might have to take off time from work. Yet, this still is more leeway than a public swearing-in ceremony that only gives you one date and time to choose from!

There are advantages and disadvantages to a private swearing-in ceremony. Thus, because this is a special event, take the time to use the information in this post to decide what is best for you!

Want Weekly Tips While Awaiting Bar Exam Results? 

We have advice on waiting for bar exam results, checking bar exam results, swearing-in ceremonies, and advice on work and how to be productive while waiting for results. We seek to provide interesting and informative articles and posts. Texts/emails happen once a week on Wednesdays through when all state bar exam results are out. When all state bar exam results are out, we will not text or email you anymore unless you request to be added to our regular newsletter. We do not sell or share information with anyone else – we appreciate your willingness to share your contact information with us and we would not abuse that privilege!

Sign up for weekly tips below!


Sign up to receive texts by texting barexam to 555888. (You can opt out any time!)


Sign up to receive emails here (you can opt out any time!):

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.