Danielle DiPillo, of Warren, was among 23 students at Widener University's Law campus in Wilmington, Del., taking an oath administered by Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy J. Holland admitting the students to the limited practice of law.
DiPillo is in her third year of law school and will serve in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. She is the daughter of Frank and Roberta DiPillo of Warren.
The students were admitted Aug. 27 under a special rule that allows them to appear in some Delaware courts under very stringent guidelines. The oaths were taken in connection with their work in Widener's Delaware Civil Clinic, its Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic and through externships at the Delaware Department of Justice.
Holland told the students that in taking the oath, they become officers of the court and need to start thinking of themselves differently. Clients won't distinguish them from the licensed attorneys who also take part in their cases, he said, and their work will affect peoples' lives.
"People don't have respect for the process if they don't have respect for the officers of the court," Holland told the students.
Associate Professors Kenneth T. Kristl, who supervises the environmental clinic, and Dana Harrington Conner, who supervises the Delaware Civil Clinic, moved for the clinic students' admissions. Delaware Deputy Attorney General H. Kemp Vye moved for the admission of the Justice Department externs.
Holland concluded the ceremony by explaining that the American Bar Association is revising the approach to legal education in the United States, and is calling for greater use of clinical programs -- which Widener Law has had in place for more than 20 years.
"One of the models they're looking at is Widener," Holland said. "You are part of something that is very special."
Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. The School of Law is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and holds membership in the Association of American Law Schools. Widener provides an all-around comprehensive legal education program with special certificates available from its Health Law Institute, the Law & Government Institute, the Taishoff Advocacy, Technology and Public Service Institute, and the Institute of Delaware Corporate and Business Law. Widener Law has two locations: the Wilmington, Del. campus, which opened in 1971, and the Harrisburg, Pa. campus, which opened in 1989. Visit law.widener.edu for more information.