Former representative Jacinta M. Kaipat and three other successful CNMI Bar examinees were sworn in Friday as the newest Bar members of the Commonwealth.
Acting chief justice Alexandro C. Castro administered the attorney's oath for Kaipat, Jennifer Dockter, James D. Livingstone, and Frederick B. Hayes Jr. during the admissions ceremony at the CNMI Supreme Court.
Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, who came with first lady Josie Fitial, was among several government officials who were in the gallery that was packed mostly with Kaipat's family members, relatives, friends, supporters, and lawyers.
Although happy that she was finally sworn in as a lawyer, Kaipat said she's also very sad that her parents and two brothers could only attend in spirit.
In an interview after the ceremony, Kaipat said it was with a sigh of relief when she actually passed the Bar exam.
“I'm just very happy this day. It's a happy occasion to celebrate with the community and especially those people, family members, friends on island, off-island who have supported me throughout the years and encouraged me to continue toward this goal,” she said.
Kaipat said she is looking forward to continue serving the community. “I will be in a different capacity, but I'll serve with the same heart and desire to help.”
Kaipat is now an assistant attorney general assigned at the Office of the Attorney General's Criminal Division where she was first hired a year ago as a legal intern.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, who served as the keynote speaker, reminded the new Bar members that when they step into court, it is the rule of law-not the rule of power and interest-that prevails.
“It is the rule of law that carries us through hard times. When we lawyers-and judges-comport ourselves in such a way that the community sees justice is done, we perform an invaluable service and set an example for our young people,” Manglona said.
The chief judge recalled that when she was scrutinized by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary during her nomination to the bench, the committee focused on professional qualifications, which are integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament.
“As each of you engage in the practice of law here in the Commonwealth, keep these professional qualifications in mind. You will not only earn the respect of your clients, colleagues, and community, but you will also go a long way in enjoying the privilege and honor of being a counsel of law,” Manglona said.