By Josh McIntyre

Growing up I was always told not to swear. And I don’t just mean “cuss” words.

I mean I was actually instructed not to say the phrase “I swear.” I could “promise” or “pledge” to do something, but actually swearing to do it was taboo.

The aversion to that phrasing stemmed from my cultural and religious upbringing, in which a warning against swearing was pervasive not only in church but also in society. And, in many ways, including at the upcoming bar swearing-in ceremonies, it continues to be so.

Newly licensed attorneys automatically receive a free year of NCBA membership. Go to NCBA.org to find out more.

As hundreds of newly licensed attorneys across North Carolina prepare to be admitted to the bar this month, they can choose from two versions of the N.C. State Bar’s Oath of Office form. If they print page one, they can solemnly “swear.” But if they print page two, they can solemnly “affirm.”

The actual substance of each oath, however, is identical. The candidate pledges to uphold the constitutions of the state and nation and to be the best attorney possible according to his or her ability. And it’s the meaning of these words, coupled with the celebration of the beginning of a career, that drives NCBA leadership to be present at as many of these ceremonies as possible.

So from Greenville to Greensboro and from Winston-Salem to Wake County, newly licensed attorneys can expect to hear words of greeting and receive welcome information on behalf of the NCBA from members of their local bar at every published swearing-in ceremony. Newly licensed attorneys can also expect to automatically receive a free year of NCBA membership.

Additionally, if a member is aware of a ceremony that is not listed, a quick email to the membership department will result in a published message online and an attempt to get staff or leadership present.

Whether resourcing legal professionals at the beginning of their careers or providing meaningful and fun ways to connect* to other professionals during it, the NCBA can serve as a guide every step along the way.

And we are making every effort to expand our benefits and services regardless of where those steps may lead.

I swear [err…affirm] it!

* Member Events are a popular way to connect with other NCBA members and their families. The next Member Event is the annual tailgate at the N.C. State vs. Wake Forest football game in Winston-Salem on Nov. 18. All members can register here.

Josh McIntyre is the NCBA’s director of membership.