Human Rights and Lawyer’s Oaths

58 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2023 Last revised: 20 Sep 2023

See all articles by Lauren Bartlett

Lauren Bartlett

Saint Louis University - School of Law


Each lawyer in the United States must take an oath to be licensed to practice law. The first time a lawyer takes this oath is usually a momentous occasion in their career, marked by ceremony and celebration. Yet, many lawyer’s oaths today are unremarkable and irrelevant to modern law practice at best, and at worst, inappropriate, discriminatory, and obsolete. Drawing on a fifty-state survey of lawyer’s oaths in the United States, this article argues that it is past time to update lawyer’s oaths in the United States and suggests drawing on human rights to make lawyer’s oaths more accessible and impactful.

Suggested Citation

Bartlett, Lauren, Human Rights and Lawyer’s Oaths. Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, vol. 36, no. 411, 2023, Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2023-01, Available at SSRN: or

Lauren Bartlett (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

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