1-Year Later: A California Attorney Joins the Delaware Bar. And Opens a Bar!

On March 27, 2017, I told you that I was planning to move to Delaware and that Jeff was planning to open a bar here in Wilmington after we settled in.  Well, here we are one year later, and I am officially a member of the Delaware bar.  And Jeff now owns and runs Catherine Rooney’s in Newark, Delaware. We have just recovered from our first St. Patrick’s Day as Irish pub owners, so its time to catch everyone up. But suffice it to say, we are all in on Delaware!

First, I Passed the Delaware Bar.

Obtaining admission to the Delaware bar was a grueling process, the triathalon of the legal profession if you will.  It required passing the Delaware bar exam.  Which, for the record, was much more difficult than the California bar exam.  It required completing the “scavenger hunt,” a 20-week long clerkship.  And it required undergoing a rigorous background check that entailed gathering up 30 years of documents scattered across two continents.pexels-photo-92323  Judge Shannon described the four-phases of this process perfectly.

  1. Enthusiasm.  “It will be a long and difficult process, but I have this! Let’s do it!”
  2. Resignation. “This is really hard.  I’m think I’m going to fail.”
  3. Anger. “I’m sure I failed. This is a stupid process that absolutely does not capture my value as a person or lawyer.”
  4. Hypocrisy.  “Woo-ho! I passed! What a great system for ensuring that only top lawyers achieve admission to the bar.”

But more importantly, what this process taught me is that people are, without a doubt, much more interested in Jeff’s new bar than my efforts to pass my bar!

Then, Jeff Opened a Bar: Catherine Rooney’s!

Rooneys SnowJeff initially planned to open a new bar in downtown Wilmington.  We had the name, concept and business plan sketched out before we arrived.  But after doing some research once we got here, Jeff politely pointed out that nobody stays in Wilmington after hours.  And he cannot run a profitable bar giving away drinks to its only patrons, my friends who happen to be in town for hearings.  Fair point.

Guiness.jpgSo,  Plan B!  Jeff instead purchased Catherine Rooney’s, a popular Irish pub located on Main Street across from the University of Delaware in Newark.  While it’s not downtown, it’s only about 15-20 minutes away.  And everyone who we have gotten to know in the process – the staff, the townies, the university students and professors, other business owners in the area, the former owners – have been incredibly warm and welcoming.  And of course, we have Guinness.  Harp on tap.  Whiskey.  Great pub food.  Live music.  And a private room upstairs with a second bar, perfect for private events and entertaining.  Expect us to be making good use of that space!

For those of you wondering what it is like being an old couple and owning a bar in a college town, the following video from about 11:00 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day pretty much says it all….!

Keep following for more updates and adventures!

Or check out Catherine Rooney’s on Instagram @rooneysnewark or on Facebook @CatherineRooneysNewark.

Mette K.

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