October 06, 2009

Law students to participate in induction ceremony

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Illinois Fifth District Appellate Justice Stephen L. Spomer will preside over the induction ceremony later this week for first-year students in the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

The event is Friday, Oct. 9, in the Carbondale Civic Center (200 S. Illinois Ave.), and is one of several law school events during the weekend -- which is SIUC’s Homecoming.

This is the law school’s ninth annual induction ceremony. It begins with a reception at 5 p.m. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. The event is free, and the public is welcome to attend.

The ceremony is the culmination of a number of professional development activities “that seek to impress upon our first-year students that a lawyer’s career begins in law school and that it is never too early to practice exemplary professionalism,” interim Dean Frank G. Houdek said.

Houdek noted that students participate in drafting, and will recite a “Statement of Professional Commitment.”

Spomer will join the 135 first-year students -- the class of 2012 -- in reciting their declaration of professionalism. That reinforces how important professionalism is to the legal profession, Houdek said.

The induction ceremony and professionalism pledge are part of the law school’s nationally recognized Professional Development Workshop.

Prior to the ceremony, students participate in a series of workshops related to legal ethics and other professionalism issues. The workshops included attorneys and judges discussing with students what it means to be in the profession, expectations and common ethical considerations.

The ceremony also spotlights and introduces students to individuals “who epitomize what it means to be a professional and to serve the public good,” Houdek said.

“This year we will honor the contributions of some members of the local legal community who have devoted their careers to serving the public good by working for the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation,” Houdek said.

Several individuals who work for the Land of Lincoln’s regional office in Carbondale, many of whom are law school alums, will be honored, Houdek said.

The Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation that provides free civil legal services to low-income residents and senior citizens in 65 counties in central and Southern Illinois, Houdek said.

The Illinois Supreme Court assigned Spomer to the appellate court in July 2005.

Spomer’s 35-year legal career includes four years in private practice in Cairo, and also in stints as public defender in Johnson and Massac counties. After two years as state’s attorney in Massac County, he was elected in 1978 to the First Judicial Circuit in 1978, and retained for six-year terms in four successive elections. He served as chief judge in the First Judicial Circuit from 1992 to 1998.

A 1967 graduate of Cairo High School, Spomer earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Tulane University in 1971. He earned his law degree from the Tulane Law School in 1974.

The induction ceremony starts Homecoming weekend festivities for the law school, which include reunions for the graduating classes from 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004. The law school graduates its 34th class in May 2009.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, Houdek delivers a “State of the School Address,” at the law school.