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Bar News - October 20, 2006

Sworn In Early to Serve in Military



Friends William Toronto and Anthony Osborne attend church together, went through law school together, studied for the Bar exam together, and, now, both will serve in the Armed Forces.


The two Concord men were sworn in early as NH Bar members last month during a special ceremony at the NH Supreme Court, so that they can begin their active duty military careers as JAG officers for the US Air Force and Army, respectively.


Debbie Bills, confidential clerk at the Supreme Court, who along with Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court, arranged for the “quick, informal” ceremony, explained that Toronto had approached the court to ask for the early admission because both lawyers would be leaving to report to their respective duty stations before the formal Bar admission ceremony on Oct. 31.


The two men are required by the Department of Defense to be admitted to the Bar before they can become JAGs.  Toronto and Osborne met the standards of the Character and Fitness Committee and passed the bar exam, the criteria for being admitted.


“I was very impressed. [The Supreme Court officials] went to great lengths for me and Anthony,” said Toronto. “They even thanked us for our service.”


Toronto explains that the training they require to become JAGs only occurs at certain times of the year. So, if they had to wait to be admitted with the others who passed the Bar exam this past spring, they would miss the required courses and would not be able to assume their duties as military lawyers until much later next year.


The ceremony on Sept. 25 was presided over by Chief Justice John T. Broderick, Jr. and Associate Justices James E. Duggan, Richard E. Galway, and Gary E. Hicks.


Toronto does not have prior military experience and did not expect to go on active duty when he left law school. He went to Franklin Pierce Law School thinking he would like to become a patent attorney but once he found out more about it, he felt that litigation would be a better fit for him. He applied and was accepted into both the Air Force and Army JAG programs. He chose the Air Force because it offered him a chance to handle cases right away and offered a more stable quality of life for his family. He reports to Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama on Oct. 16 and, following officer training there, will go onto his assignment at Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska. He will attend JAG school in February 2007.


Osborne, a first lieutenant, was already in the military through the Army National Guard, where he had served for seven years. A student at Pierce Law, Osborne had to interrupt his studies for a year-long deployment to Kuwait. While mobilized, he decided that he wanted to begin an active duty career as a JAG officer. When he returned home, he finished his legal education and followed through with his plan. He leaves  to attend JAG training in Charlotte, Virginia on Oct. 20. After the course, in February, he will be stationed at Ft. Knox, Ky.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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