Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has encouraged law graduates to do pro bono work and assist the “working poor.”
He was the feature speaker last evening at the graduation ceremony of the Hugh Wooding Law School held at the Sport and Physical Education Centre, University of West Indies, St Augustine.
Al-Rawi told the graduates to ensure that their practice of law in the initial stage was not whether it was for fee or free, and by that approach the lucrative side will come.
He said many people cannot afford a lawyer and are the “working poor” but they are not so poor that they qualify for legal aid.
Al-Rawi described pro bono work as “the most rewarding part of practice” and told the graduates it will be “etched in your memory and souls for eternity.”
He said there were work opportunities in the new Family and Children Court, in the corporate sector, in criminal law–where 20 lawyers controlled 90 per cent of the work– and in money laundering, counter terrorism and planned “follow the money” legislation which will pursue criminals through civil standards such as “explain your wealth orders”.
He encouraged the graduates to be “renaissance lawyers” as in that era men and women excelled in many fields, while at the same time there is “no more versatile a field than the legal profession.” He said they should pursue balance in their practice and focus on the core tenets which they were taught– integrity, morality and discipline.
Al-Rawi said hard work is a core characteristic of the legal practice but asked rhetorically what is it without good family life and the love of children and spouses.
He also asked what is the good of legal practice if they are in ill-health and a foul mood.
He urged them to hold on to their morality and joy by pro bono work and to contribute to legislation.
Al-Rawi said the profession is highly female-oriented and was about 80 per cent female and 20 per cent male.
He urged the women not to trade in their femininity to win a legal argument and for the men not to trade in their chivalry.