Why I Love Massachusetts

Massachusetts issues a certificate to attorneys when they are admitted to the Massachusetts bar. It’s something like a diploma, and thus contains antiquated language. My college diploma (from California) has some old language such as, “rights thereto pertaining,” but that’s nothing compared to my law school diploma which is entirely in Latin. The translation is ridiculously over the top. They retro-translated modern words (“Boston” becomes “Bostoniensis”) the way a high school Spanish tries to change one’s name to its Spanish equivalent. (I went to Spain, and my name didn’t miraculously change to “Andres”.)
I haven�t yet seen the Massachusetts bar certificate, but I do know from the bar letter that Massachusetts attorneys have a choice as to whether they want the phrase �in the year of our Lord� to appear on the certificate. I think it�s great that people have this choice here, and I wonder whether a red state like Texas offers this option.

5 thoughts on “Why I Love Massachusetts”

  1. My first instinct was to select the certificate without the “in the year of our lord.” Then I considered what colleagues might think (since they naturally would know that I had chosen to had the phrase omitted). I stuck with the traditional choice. I decided I just didn’t need to be the heathen boat-rocker.

  2. Haha – I chose the opposite. I was thinking, “well that’s nice that one has a choice, but I’ll just keep the original phrase.” Then I reconsidered and ended up opting for the non-Lord version. Two reasons: (1) separation of church and state: The Lord doesn’t appear elsewhere in an official government context such as birth certificates, parking tickets, money, um, the pledge of allegiance… well anyway… (2) Plain English – no one ever says “year of our Lord” to give a reference point – it’s just extra words. Imagine: “We’re here in Times Square tonight to usher in the new year… of our Lord.”

  3. I kept the traditional form. I like it. I suspect this didn’t bother anyone until recent years. By providing us the freedom to obtain a traditional certificate the government isn’t supplanting a Politically Correct view upon those who wish to remain conservative. (As a digression, doesn’t the US Supreme Court have religious carvings and reliefs around its edifice?)

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