During each orientation program, new Michigan Law students participate in a very special ceremony known as the "Commitment to Integrity." A guest speaker addresses the students on themes including the importance of integrity, civility, professionalism, etc. in the legal profession. At the conclusion of the address, the speaker welcomes students to law school and to the profession, and administers the Commitment, the words of which appear below. The ceremony instills in students the paramount importance professional and ethical behavior as they get ready to begin the study of law.
University of Michigan Law School Commitment to Integrity"The character of the legal profession depends on the character of the law schools. The character of the law schools forecasts the future of America."
-- William W. Cook, Class of 1882
Because the strength of the legal profession depends on the character of its members, during my career as a law student and as a professional after law school, I commit to comport myself honorably and with integrity. Specifically, I promise to maintain high standards of:
Academic conduct in all academic relationships with the Law School and the University; Professional conduct while functioning in a lawyer-like capacity during my Law School and professional careers; and Personal conduct in all matters
that touch or affect the Law School, the University,
and their community members and guests.
The language of the Commitment is taken in part from the words of the Law School's alumnus and great benefactor, William W. Cook, whose generosity provided the majestic and inspiring buildings on the Law Quadrangle. The words also echo the beginning of the Law School's code of conduct.
Honorable John Corbett O'Meara, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. August 31, 2007; August 28, 2009.
Honorable George Caram Steeh III, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. May 27, 2008; September 2, 2011; June 1, 2017 (click here for a transcript of Judge Steeh's Fall 2011 address).
Honorable James Leo Ryan, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, August 29, 2008.Honorable Victoria Roberts, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, May 26, 2009.
Honorable Raymond Kethledge, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. June 1, 2010; May 28, 2013; May 27, 2014; August 26, 2016 (click here for a transcript of Judge Kethledge's May 2013 address).
Honorable David McKeague, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. September 3, 2010; August 30, 2013.
Honorable Avern Cohn, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, May 31, 2011 (click here for a transcript of Judge Cohn's address).
Honorable Steven D. Pepe, United States Magistrate Judge (Retired), May 29, 2012.
Honorable Robert Jonker, ’85, United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, August 31, 2012.
Honorable Bridget McCormack, Michigan Supreme Court, August 29, 2014.
Honorable Gershwin Drain, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, May 26, 2015.
Honorable Judy Levy, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, August 28, 2015.
Honorable Joan L. Larsen, Michigan Supreme Court, May 31, 2016 (click here for a transcript of Justice Larsen's May 2016 remarks).
Commitment to Integrity MementosIf you would like to see an image of the Commitment to Integrity Certificate, please click here.A hard-bound copy of the Constitution of the United States is also distributed to each student prior to the ceremony. The Constitutions are provided through a generous donation made by John Butler Schwemm, '59.
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