The Many Sacrifices That Make an Attorney
By Csaba Sukosd | November 16, 2023
Stephanie Alisha Darville. Some know her as a friend, daughter, partner, or parent. On Monday, she was introduced to the legal community as one of 613 new Ohio lawyers.
"We congratulate all of you on passing the bar exam. This is the culmination of 20 years or more of formal education," Chief Justice Sharon L. Kennedy told the attendees during her remarks.
"It's amazing to have my family here, to witness that and to see the sacrifices they also made and to see how that has now come to fruition," said Darville, a recent University of Cincinnati College of Law graduate.
Darville shared the joy of her achievement with her parents, fiancé, and children during the Supreme Court of Ohio bar admission ceremony at the Palace Theatre in Columbus. To get there, she had to earn a law degree, pass the bar exam, and clear a background check that demonstrates a person's character and fitness to practice law.
Darville's track was nontraditional. During her master's degree studies in public health, she took a course in health law policy and became fascinated by health care litigation. The decision to change her career trajectory toward the legal profession came with the added challenges of being a young mother.
"I started law school when my son Zhane was 18 months. He's also autistic. So that meant more doctor's appointments and therapy sessions for him," said Darville, who gave birth to her youngest son, Jari, right before law school graduation in the spring, just three months before the July bar exam.
Darville credits her family for the support that made it possible for her stay on track with her studies, especially her parents, Annmarie and Allister, who resettled near Cincinnati from the Bahamas.
"I chose the legal profession because I believed it was a way I can help people, to use my education and skillset to resolve complex problems," said Darville.
That ideal is part of the oath each new lawyer must take during the bar admission ceremony. When it came time for Darville's turn, she raised her right hand, vowing to uphold the laws of the U.S. and Ohio constitutions and to maintain ethical and civil integrity expected of all attorneys. She now shares those duties with more than 43,000 Ohio lawyers.
"I want to be able to show those who come after me that no matter what hurdles you face, you can still pursue your dreams. You can do it if you believe in yourself and if you have a few people that can believe in you, as well," said Darville.