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New lawyers advised to build up their reputation

New lawyers advised to build up their reputation
New lawyers (from left front row): Nakita Charles, Chanté Melville Francis, Amanda DeFreitas Back row: Adrian Odle and Chelsea Alexander

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The President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Adrian Saunders, has advised the latest group of advocates called to the Bar of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to build up their greatest asset: their reputation.

Saunders’ remarks came on the occasion of the calling to the Bar of Chelsea Alexander, Chanté Melville Francis, Adrian Odle, Nakita Charles and Amanda DeFreitas, last Friday, December 4.

New lawyers advised to build up their reputation
President of the CCJ, Justice Adrian Saunders

The comments of the CCJ president were read by the judge presiding over the sitting, Justice Brian Cottle after all applications had been moved, seconded, accepted, and all of the applicants had been robed, taken their solemn oaths, and delivered their maiden speeches.

The occasion was a momentous one for the new Barristers-at-law and solicitors in the state, as a five-year journey came to a successful end, and was being witnessed by their family members.

They were given opportunities to deliver their first speeches as members of the Bar of SVG, during which they told stories of their challenges and triumphs, and thanked God and those who held them up along the way.

“In being called to the Bar you have all achieved a noble goal. You have fulfilled your dreams. You have made your parents and loved ones justly proud,” Saunders, a Vincentian, wrote in offering congratulations.

He was speaking to all the new lawyers, but he said that he knows Alexander personally. Saunders noted

that he is a friend of Alexander’s family, and “my family and I grew close to her while she studied at the Hugh Wooding Law School.”

The President commented that he could imagine the family members of the applicants beaming, “for this is truly a memorable occasion.”

He understood the sleepless nights they would have endured to reach their goal, and commented that he too was pleased for them.

“The frustrations and privations of student life are still indelibly etched in my memory. But you persevered and now you are done. And I am happy for you,” he summarized.

“It is, though, one of the ironies of life that, just when you think you have come to the end of a testing journey, even as you celebrate having arrived at safe harbour, at precisely that time you realize that you are about to embark upon another voyage,” he continued.

Saunders explained that the five were, just the day before, at the top of the learning curve, while on that day, they were suddenly at the bottom.

“You are the most inexperienced lawyers in the whole of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Justice Cottle read to laughter in the courtroom.

In ending one chapter of their lives and beginning another, the President of the CCJ told the young lawyers “Have faith. The same resilience and fortitude that carried you through your student years will also take you through this chapter.”

He ended with one word of advice: that they build up their greatest asset.

“What is that asset? It is not your amazing verbal skills or your outstanding scholastic ability or your social connections. No, your most treasured asset is your reputation,” Saunders, who is distinguished throughout the legal body of the region, stated.

“How will your colleagues, your clients, the judges before whom you appear regard you? Would they think you are serious about your profession? That you are honest? That they can rely on your word? That you keep your promise? Will you be regarded as one who is genuinely concerned about helping your client to resolve their dispute or as one solely interested in securing fees from them?” he elucidated.

At the end of the day it is their reputation that counts, the President reiterated, advising them to preserve and nurture it.

“I wish you all the very best in your respective careers and I celebrate with you this happy occasion of being called to the Bar of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Saunders signed off.