A history-making occasion took place in the McDuffie County Superior Courtroom last Friday when four recent graduates of law school were sworn in as Georgia's newest lawyers.
The four honored lawyers are: Katheryn Suzzane Reynolds, Anne C. Carroll, Grant Kevin Usry and Jeff Taylor Watson.
Standing in front of Toombs Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway Jr. and Judge Harold Hinesley, the four received their oaths at the same time. It marked the first time locally that four lawyers had been sworn in simultaneously.
"This was truly a very special occasion," said Judge Dunaway during the ceremony, which was attended by more than 100 people, including many local lawyers. "This is truly one of the few things that we do that makes everybody happy."
He noted that he was certain family members of the four new lawyers are happy because they had sacrificed "a lot of blood, sweat, tears and spent a lot of money" to help get their children to where they are in life.
Judge Dunaway also told the young lawyers to bring to the profession "the very best you have to offer. Your obligation to the legal profession and to the administration of justice is personal dignity, integrity and independence. Always adhere to the highest principles of professionalism and be proud of your profession.
Let your word be your bond. Aspire to achieve excellence in your chosen craft. Be the moral voice of your clients to the public in advocacy, while being the moral voice of the public to your clients in counseling."
Jeff Taylor Watson
Jeff Taylor Watson is the son of Frank and Jackie Watson, of Washington, Ga. His father serves as the county extension agent in McDuffie County.
Mr. Watson, who is single, is a 2002 graduate of Washington-Wilkes Comprehensive High School in neighboring Washington. He also is a 2006 graduate of Georgia Tech and graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in May.
He recently became employed by a prestigious law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Mr. Watson works in the firm's Atlanta office.
His hobbies include reading and spending time with family and friends.
Mr. Watson was presented to the court by Jim Roberts.
Katheryn Suzanne Reynolds
Katheryn Suzanne Reynolds recently passed the Georgia Bar Association exam.
Miss Reynolds, who lives in Augusta, has been serving as Judge Dunaway's law clerk since August. She will continue to serve in that capacity until next August.
Judge Dunaway said Miss Reynolds, who is engaged to be married, has been most helpful to him as his law clerk.
"She does a very good job," Judge Dunaway said as he presented Miss Reynolds to the court.
Grant Kevin Usry
Grant Kevin Usry, 31, is the son of Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry and Kathy Usry.
He is a 1996 graduate of Thomson High School where he was a member of the track team and played tennis.
Mr. Usry, who is married and lives in Augusta, worked at Score Technology and Two State Construction Company -- both located in Thomson -- for several years before enrolling at the University of Georgia. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in anthropology in 2006.
He graduated in May from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Fla.
"This feels great," said Mr. Usry of becoming a lawyer. "It's been a long time in coming."
Mr. Usry said he felt it "an honor" that Judge Dunaway and Judge Hinesley were able to participate in the ceremony recognizing him as a new lawyer.
"I've known both of these judges since I was a little boy," said Mr. Usry.
Thomson lawyer Jaye Jones, who also is a member of Thomson City Council, presented Mr. Usry as a candidate to practice law in Georgia.
Anne C. Carroll
Anne C. Carroll is the daughter of Billy and Debbie Carroll, of Savannah.
She is a 1999 graduate of H.V. Jenkins High School in Savannah and a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in English literature.
She graduated in May with a law degree from Mercer University Law School.
Miss Carroll lives in Augusta.
Toombs Judicial Circuit Public Defender Harold "Chip" Wallace presented Ms. Carroll to the court.