"I will not let you down," he told the standing-room-only courtroom of about 150 family members, colleagues and friends. "I have earned the appointment and now it is time to earn your trust."
Circuit Court Clerk Stephen Hales administered the oath that invested Shockley as an associate judge for the 1st judicial circuit for the Circuit Court of Maryland.
After Shockley removed his suit jacket, his wife helped him put on his black judge's robe, and he walked around the bench to take a seat beside the other judges.
From the bench, he told the crowd how the last month since his judicial appointment by Gov. Martin O'Malley has been "a whirlwind" and the reality of his appointment was just setting in. He said he is "honored, thrilled and humbled" to have been selected as a judge.
Shockley added he's learned that being an effective judge means "you have to listen, you have to be fair and you can't take yourself too seriously."Shockley, 45, of West Ocean City, will fill the vacancy created by the June 2010 retirement of Judge Ted Eschenburg.
Seated in the jury box alongside several other attending county judges, Eschenburg was introduced by Somerset Circuit Court Judge Danny Long as "the gentleman who made this celebration possible today."
Shockley is a 1987 graduate of Davidson College and a 1992 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law. Since 1995, he has been an attorney at the Ocean City-based law firm of Williams, Moore, Shockley, and Harrison, LLP, becoming a partner in 2000.
Joe Moore, a partner with the firm, said he feels mixed emotions seeing Shockley move onto the bench. Moore isn't just a colleague -- he and Shockley's father, Ray, have practiced law together for more than 36 years in the resort.
Shockley's departure is a "true sense of loss for the firm," Moore said during the swearing-in ceremony, but called it "most assuredly Worcester County's gain."
Shockley later said packing up his office and leaving the firm after 16 years was "bittersweet."
The judicial application process, Shockley said, led him to reflect on his own life. He said the knowledge and wisdom he gained from his family and colleagues over time has shaped him.
"I'm very proud to say I'm a product of my father," he said, noting his father's ascent from humble beginnings to state trooper to respected attorney and community philanthropist.
"His commitment to public service was quiet but profound, and I'm in no small part influenced by him," he added.
Shockley joins on the bench Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas C. Groton III, who moved up to chief judge when Eschenburg retired.