YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As lawyers, judges and others gathered for what’s known as the “Opening of Court” in Mahoning County, Common Pleas Judge Anthony D’Apolito reminded the area’s newest attorneys of the prominence of their profession.

“The practice of law is not a right but rather a privilege bestowed upon us by the state of Ohio,” D’Apolitio said.

The ceremony also featured the unveiling of a portrait of Judge Lou D’Apolito, the younger judge’s father who retired in 2018 after nearly 10 years on the bench.

Some in the audience may have thought they heard Judge D’Apolito’s remarks once before — and they did. His father gave that very same speech 12 years ago at the “Opening of Court.”

The young D’Apolito says a framed copy of his father’s speech from that day hangs in his office.

“When I was asked to give the opening today, I went right to it, made a copy and I’ve been holding it for two months this secret that I was doing it, trying not to blow it. I was so excited,” he said.

As for the elder Judge, who still works in the Youngstown Law Department, the experience was overwhelming.

“The luckiest part of my career. I loved it. I loved it from the moment it began to now,” Lou DeApolito said.

In thanking the audience, he felt especially fortunate to be able to serve the same community where he grew up.

“I had insight into families and circumstances that someone who didn’t grow up and was raised here wouldn’t have known,” he said.

Judge Lou D’Apolito’s portrait will now hang in his son’s courtroom.