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USC Gould graduates return to campus, attend annual Bar Admission Ceremony
USC Gould School of Law

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Alumni Hon. David W. Swift (JD 2004) and Hon. Julia W. Brand (JD 1985) swear in graduates

By Leslie Ridgeway


Gould graduates were sworn into the California State Bar and the Federal courts.

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More than 60 USC Gould School of Law graduates attended the annual Bar Admission Ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Bovard Auditorium, celebrated by family and friends as they were formally sworn in to the California State Bar and the Federal courts.

Leading the swearing-in ceremony were two USC Gould alumni – for the state, Hon. David W. Swift (JD 2004) and for the federal courts, Hon. Julia W. Brand (JD 1985). Christina Mrktchyan, Student Bar Association president, called the swearing-in sessions to order as bailiff.

USC Gould graduates once again placed in the top three among the 18 California-ABA accredited law schools for bar passage, with an 88.3 % passage rate.

Dean Andrew Guzman congratulated the alumni on their achievement, completed in the face of numerous challenges.

“You have proven not only your thorough knowledge of the law, but also the discipline and character to become outstanding attorneys,” he said. “On top of that, you were able to complete your legal education amid a global pandemic.”


"The practice of law is a collaborative process," said Hon. Julia W. Brand before swearing in graduates for the federal courts. 

Guzman also encouraged the alumni to stay connected with USC Gould in the years ahead. “You will have the opportunity to inspire future classes of lawyers and leaders.”

Before signing the graduates’ oath cards, Judge Swift of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, shared advice as they begin their legal careers, warning against displaying a tough façade to accomplish their goals, as he has seen some young lawyers eager to fight for causes do.

“Recognize that kindness does not equal weakness and zealous advocacy does not mean being a jerk,” he said, following up with a recommendation that the new lawyers find opportunities for involvement in their communities. “If you show up, you will make connections and open doors … network before you need it.”


Hon. David Swift recommended that graduates get involved in their communities. 

Judge Brand, who serves in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, reminded graduates that despite the solid education they received in law school, there would be still much to learn, and that they would gain knowledge and experience by taking on challenging projects and assisting their colleagues. Referring to trends toward hybrid working situations, Judge Brand recommended that graduates take advantage of in-person working opportunities, which she said are of greater benefit to everyone in legal transactions.

“The practice of law is a collaborative process,” she said. “We all benefit and importantly, our clients benefit, too when we work together to create the most persuasive agreement that we can, and that happens best when you can talk about issues or strategies face to face.”

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