There is a place for lawyers in Barbados in “brand new areas” that are now opening up and those which are yet to open up.
Acting Attorney General, Wilfred Abrahams, made this declaration as he addressed 61 new attorneys in the Supreme Court No. 1 last Friday.
New and emerging areas identified by the Attorney General include oil and gas, renewable energy, offshore islands, maritime and international law and treaties. However, criminal law was also singled out as an area with a need for more attorneys.
Mr. Abrahams knocked critics who are of the view that the practice of law in Barbados is heavily saturated. “When I was called to the Bar 20 years ago…there were 19 of us, back then, there was a suggestion that the profession was saturated.
“Everybody needs to be able to have the opportunity to pursue their dream. Everyone will not make it. If you are good, then you will succeed. If you are not, then you will find something else to do,” he pointed out.
He added that law was an honourable profession, but one in which the qualification did not mean a person had to work in law. Mr. Abrahams explained that there were a number of persons who were qualified attorneys who went into business for themselves and used their legal training for their own benefit.
“We are too narrow quite often in how we see the legal profession. There is plenty, plenty room for lawyers practising criminal law…. As it stands now there is a qualification to get into the Faculty of Law and once you get in you are entitled to follow that all the way through. I will not discourage anybody from practising law. It is like anything else…not everybody finds a job. Anybody who wants to study law should be allowed to study law, and the competition and the market place will take care of the rest,” the Minister emphasized.
However, he cautioned them that having a first class honours or good grades did not mean they would be good lawyers. Instead, he advised that law would be what they made of it.
“You will get out of law what you put into law,” he said, cautioning that it was also an unforgiving profession which had no shortcuts.
Mr. Abrahams urged the new attorneys to only spend what was theirs, and be upstanding citizens who had integrity. “The trust of your colleagues will help you to succeed in this profession. But, if you become a person everyone whispers about, you are doomed for failure,” the Minister cautioned.
“There is a level playing field. You have a blank slate to write your future as lawyers on. You have to make the right decisions…. The world is your oyster. Barbados is open to you; the judicial system is open to you. It is up to you to do what needs to be done and to take the right path,” he said.
This year’s attorneys come from a range of backgrounds and include an accountant, singer, senior teacher, nurse, a soldier from the Barbados Coast Guard, a Court Marshal, entrepreneur and a social media specialist.