Three women from the Marianas, together with six others who passed the NMI Bar, took their oath of attorney on Friday at the CNMI Supreme Court.
They are Nicole Manglona Torres, Heather Pinaula Barcinas, Teresita Julia Sablan, Charles Edmond Brasington, Daniel T. Guidotti, Ryan Marsil Johnson, James B. McAllister, Reena J. Patel, and Peter B. Prestley.
CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro, who administered the oath, told the lawyers: “Earning your license to practice law deals with the rights, the freedom, liberty, and property of a person…The legal profession is like any other profession, there are bad apples. I do not want any of you applicants to fall into that bucket. ”
U.S District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, who gave inspirational remarks at the event, underscored the value of dignity and civility in the practice of law.
“One fact never changes, the legal system must remain steadfast in its quest to preserve and respect the enduring traditions of law that form the foundation of our democratic system of government,” Tydingco-Gatewood said. “Be dignified in the courtroom, be civil toward each other, toward the judge, toward the witnesses, toward your clients, toward the public, toward anybody you work with. Be civil as a person.”
The attorneys passed a rigorous bar examination in either July or February 2013 and satisfied all of the Supreme Court’s requirements for admission.
Among the newly admitted lawyers were three women from the Marianas: Torres, Barcinas, and Sablan.
Torres earned her B.A., at the University of San Francisco and her J.D. from the University of Hawaii, Richardson School of Law.
A proud alumna of Saipan’s Grace Christian Academy, Torres said she hopes young local high school students stay focused and pursue their dreams—as she did.
“When I received the news that I passed the bar exam, I couldn’t help but think about my high school mock trial and AG’s Cup days, dreaming of one day coming back home as an actual attorney. After high school graduation and prior to leaving Saipan for college, I promised myself that once I completed my education, I would return home to give back to our community and to give back to those who’ve given so much to me. Being sworn-in today means exponentially more,” Torres said.
“As an attorney, I pledge to advocate zealously for those I serve and for justice, and to observe my duty as an officer of the court,” she added.
Barcinas earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Guam and her J.D., from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
An alumna of Marianas High School on Saipan as well, she had this to say to children of the CNMI: “Never give up. Pursue your dreams. It took me a long time to go to law school and I never gave up even though there were so many obstacles along the way. Always just move forward and get to where you want to.”
Barcinas said the most challenging aspect of her journey was taking the first step of applying and taking the entrance exam to enter law school.
“I am excited and happy to start this new chapter in my life,” she added.
Sablan earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Davis and her J.D., from U.S. Hastings School of Law.
“If you really want to pursue a career in law it is important to try things out and do summer internships at the court or the AG’s office and see how it actually feels like to work in law,” Sablan said as advice for the young demographic on the island. “It is also important to explore all of your options.”
“Getting to this moment is all about sacrifice. Sometimes you want to be with your family and friends but you have to put in the time for school and make school your priority,” she added.
Sablan said she came to Saipan thinking it was temporary but later decided that she wants to stay here and practice law.