I Do Solemnly Swear: Learning Lessons from Broken Oaths

  1. You are the choices you make. Many people will speak sweetly, say the right words, make you feel the right way, but ultimately, it is what you do and not what you say that matters when it comes to being a leader. And, make no mistake, as a lawyer and as an officer of the court, regardless of where you practice or the type of work you do, you are a leader. Period.
  2. You are who you hang out with. Remember that you are a reflection of the people you hang out with. Your mom said it to you as a kid (mine did, at least). If you think you can be friends with someone who supports the Trump Insurrection while believing that Trump should be impeached, think again. Who you spend time with is a direct reflection of the values you hold dear as an individual. Who are your friends, and what do your choices in friends that say about who you are.
  3. The truth always matters. There are no versions of the truth. The truth is the truth is the truth is the truth. It is your job to understand facts and create arguments based on actual fact.
  4. Good lawyers don’t lie. I’ve been in practice for over 8 years, and I’ve never had to lie to be a good lawyer. I may have dodged a phone call here or there over the years when I wasn’t ready to give bad news, but I’ve never lied to a client or opposing counsel. The stereotype that lawyers lie is not only patently false, it breeds bad lawyering. Tell the truth, always, and you’ll be happier for it. When in doubt, think to yourself — “What would Rudy do?” And then, do the exact opposite. You should be fine.
  5. Words do matter. Rhetoric matters. Do not be cavalier with your speech. There have been many phrases since the Trump era that make no sense to me. Maybe it’s my ignorance. Maybe it’s someone else’s. Fake news — how can something factual be fake? Anti-fascism as a negative concept — how is opposing facism a bad thing? Oath keeper — how can a person who launches a violent insurrection against the capitol be someone who calls for their elected officials to keep their oaths of office? Know what you’re saying, and don’t risk being misunderstood.



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Priti (“Preethee”) Nemani

Priti (“Preethee”) Nemani


Lawyer, boss, dog mom. I write about mental health, ending white supremacy, solidarity among minoritized communities, law, democracy, race, and gender.