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Welsh heritage makes history in North Carolina

6 September 2023

Joshua Xerri
Joshua Xerri

A Cardiff law graduate recently brought the green, green grass of home to the USA when qualifying to become a lawyer.

Joshua Xerri became the first person in history in North Carolina to give the Oath in Welsh* when he was sworn into the bar.

Joshua, who is originally from Morganstown, Radyr is a Criminal & Civil Rights Lawyer working in Raleigh, North Carolina for Tarlton Law PLLC. However, despite being thousands of miles from his birthplace, Joshua’s Welsh heritage was at the forefront of his mind when he took his Oath.

He said, “The Welsh language is incredibly important to me. When it came time to take the Oath, I was certain I wanted to try and do it bilingually. I was extremely honoured to have my swearing in to the North Carolina Bar conducted at the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and thankfully the judges who were doing my swearing in were very amenable to the bilingual Oath.”

Joshua utilised Helo Blod, the Welsh Government & Business Wales' free translation services, who provided an official copy of the Oath in Welsh and he was incredibly grateful for their support.

“I am 99.9% certain I am the only person who's ever done this, based on the research I've carried out. I guess we can never be 100% sure, but they were certainly happy enough to allow me to claim that title at the Court!”

Joshua enjoys his varied role in North Carolina and can be working on everything from traffic ticket offences through to drug gang and murder trials. He considers his work as a defence lawyer incredibly important especially in a country with exceptionally high imprisonment rates.

Joshua completed both the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and the Bar Training Course (BTC) at the School of Law and Politics. Speaking of his time at the school, he said, “The skills I learned during my time in Cardiff, both practical and academic, set me up to be able to practice in 3 jurisdictions across 2 continents. The advocacy training in particular taught me some of the most important skills I use in my day-to-day practice.”

Joshua graduated from Cardiff University in 2020 and worked in London as a legal assistant for a criminal QC, working on a murder trial at the Old Bailey and following this, for the Financial Ombudsman Service. In 2021 he moved to the USA to complete an LLM for International Attorneys, specialising in Criminal Law, at Wake Forest University.

* We think! Joshua conducted extensive research prior to his swearing in ceremony and it certainly seems that he is the first person to have been sworn in bilingually in Welsh and English in North Carolina however, we cannot be 100% certain. Llongyfarchiadau Joshua!

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