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Family-run Law firms on the increase in SVG

Family-run Law firms on the increase in SVG

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It is fairly common for children to want to follow in their parents’ footsteps. The profession of Law is no different, and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the number of family law firms has been growing steadily.{{more}}

Prior to the early 1990s, there were only one or two law firms in St. Vincent and the Grenadines made up of attorneys who were members of the same immediate family.

Today, that is not the case.

Williams and Williams Chambers, Robertson and Robertson Chambers, Elizabeth Law Chambers, Cardinal Law Firm, Browne and Browne Chambers, Phillips and Williams Law Firm, S.E. Commissiong and Co. Law Firm and Equity Chambers are among the firms here where children have joined their fathers in the practice of Law.

With over 42 years of practice under his belt, Arthur Williams is widely regarded as one of the better criminal lawyers in this country. Williams, of Williams and Williams, has had the privilege of working alongside two of his sons, Richard and Stephen, for over a decade.

The Williams trio began taking shape on October 17, 1995, when Richard, a former government senator, was admitted to the Bar. Stephen joined the firm two years later, on the same month and day as Richard.

“We have a perfect working team and I rather have it no other way,” the senior Williams firmly stated.

Williams, a former Attorney General, noted that he never pushed his sons to follow in his footsteps, but said he was always supportive of their choices.

“These are my children, and we have a great family relationship…It was never my choice for them to do Law, but I encouraged them to follow their dreams,” Williams said.

When asked about how it feels to be working alongside his father, Stephen described it a few words: “It has been smooth sailing so far…”

Akin John, of Elizabeth Law Chambers, also decided to tread the same road as his father, Stanley “Stalkey” John. The younger John, a practising lawyer since March 27, 2006, was only too pleased to share his experiences working with his father, from whom he said he has learnt so much.

“I have been extremely fortunate to be practising alongside my dad, having been called to the Bar four years ago. My dad and I share a really good working and personal relationship, and he has provided a tremendous platform for me…” John said.

Since joining forces with his father, John said he has brought his own ideas to the table, to which he says his father has been very receptive.

“He has allowed me to take the lead, and there is not a single regret working with him,” John declared.

One of the best pieces of advice John said his father has given to him is to be “thorough and give the best possible service to my clients.”

Meanwhile, father Stanley said it has been “energizing and satisfying to work with his son.” He described Akin as a “brilliant legal mind and an enthusiastic young Lawyer who carries an excellent demeanour.”

Perhaps the largest family law firm (numerically) in the country is that of Robertson and Robertson, which consists of Sandra Robertson-Drayton, Samantha Robertson and Emery Robertson Jr., all practising alongside their father, Emery Robertson Sr.

An excited Samantha told SEARCHLIGHT working with her father has its advantages and disadvantages.

She said that they have been able to depend on each other in times of difficulties, which helps them not only to grow as individuals, but a firm.

“We work together as family, and we also disagree a lot, but we try as much to hold one head and respect each other’s suggestions,” she revealed.

With over 12 years experience, Samantha said they have been able to overcome a lot of challenges together and thanked her father for being there each step of the way to guide them.

As for Sandra, who has over 17 years experience at the Bar, working as former assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Crown Counsel and Registrar of the Family Court, it has always been a challenge working with family. She, however, noted that she and her siblings have learnt to make it work.

Having recently returned from London, where she completed her Masters in International Law, Sandra said: “We are all individuals and we have our own opinions, but at the same time, we work well with each other and ask our senior for guidance and clarification when needed.”

She said there are no plans of branching off anytime soon; they are focused on growing bigger.

In his response, Robertson Sr, a 42-year veteran at the Bar and former Attorney General, expressed his delight in the fact that his children have followed in his footsteps and are working alongside him.

“I consider myself lucky and fortunate to have my three children function as Lawyers and the fact that we are working as a team makes it even better,” Robertson said.

The proud father said he is pleased at the fact they can share ideas,disagree with each other and still maintain a great working relationship. He further stressed the importance of his children making their own contribution to society and working for the defense of the poor and down trodden.

“..We want to have longevity in the firm, so that when I pass on, the firm is still there to give service to the people, and that is why we have such a close working relationship,” Robertson said.

Last month, Anique Cummings joined the Cardinal Law Firm of her father Andrew Cummings QC; Rechanne Browne-Matthias and her father R. Theodore L. V. Browne make up Browne and Browne Chambers; Zoe Williams and her father Douglas Williams work together in Phillips and Williams Law Firm. Equity Law firm is made up of the father and daughter team of Bertram and Mira Commissiong, while Samuel E. Commissiong and his daughter Suzanne work together as part of S.E. Commissiong and Co. Law Firm.

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