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Monday 21 January 2019
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Mendes: Inner bar ‘stretched thin’

NEW SILK: President Paula Mae Weeks (second from right) with newly sworn in Senior Counsels (from left) Ian Benjamin, Ruth Van Lare and Kemrajh Harrikissoon at the President's Cottage, Port of Spain.
NEW SILK: President Paula Mae Weeks (second from right) with newly sworn in Senior Counsels (from left) Ian Benjamin, Ruth Van Lare and Kemrajh Harrikissoon at the President's Cottage, Port of Spain.

Law Association President Douglas Mendes SC says the appointment of three Senior Counsel yesterday has only scratched the surface of what is needed.

He was speaking on Friday during the swearing-in ceremony for five commissioners and appointment of senior counsel by President Paula Mae Weekes held at President's Cottage, Port of Spain.

"I think it is common knowledge that at this point in time the inner bar is stretched thin. The profession needs a lot more appointments. The number of clients, the number of litigants who are looking for leaders to take their cases on, have a very small number of persons from which to choose from."

He said he was assured by the Attorney General that consideration would be given shortly to the appointment of additional "silk."

Receiving silk yesterday were Ruth Van Lare, Kemrajh Harrikissoon and Ian Benjamin and Mendes told them that being a senior counsel was an onerous responsibility.

"Members of the inner bar are expected to exemplify a number of qualities, in particular leadership of the bar, leadership in relation to the younger members of the are looking for guidance on the proper way to behave in court and their responsibilities to the court itself as well as their responsibilities to themselves."

Weekes told the appointees they had arrived at the pinnacle of their discipline.

"A point from which you will be seen clearly and exposed to the view of all. It is a costly honour but one I know that you would accept with great enthusiasm. Your conduct will set the tone for the profession and I trust that it is good hands."

She said with a total of 108 years of practice between them they were well positioned to exemplify the best that the legal profession has to offer.

"And I sure that you will do us proud."

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