AFTER 35 years as a teacher, former president of the Teachers’ Union (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai will soon be making his transition from the classroom to the courtroom, having been called to the bar.
It is the fulfilment of a dream he had to put on hold to serve his other love, teaching.
Having completed his service to the teaching association, he returned to his substantive position as principal of the Torrib Trace Presbyterian School, where he had been stationed since 2008.
But Doodhai described his admission to the bar as being a dream come true.
He was among 136 new attorneys who were admitted in two virtual ceremonies on November 25 and 26. These replaced the traditional call to the Bar, which is normally held at the Hall of Justice, owing to protocols implemented by the judiciary due to the pandemic.
Coming from a family of police officers and teachers instilled a passion in him for both law and education.
However, coming from a family of six, he was unable to study law, as his parents couldn't fiance legal studies.
Having joined the teaching profession and now able to finance his own studies, his focus was on attaining his BEd from the University of London (2008-2011).
He again put his legal practice certificate on hold for six years to take up the leadership of the teachers’ association (2013-2019).
Having served the full term allowed, he was free to do his legal studies at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, which he completed in 2020. He finished the mandatory six-month internship in September and was called to the bar in November.
“It has been a long journey, made more difficult by having to work and study at the same time. Studying law part-time is very demanding,” he said.
He hopes to soon make the transition from the classroom to the courtroom. His goal is to practise in the civil field, having done electives in employment law, personal injury and medical negligence and sports and media law.
With his background in industrial relations, he relishes the chance once again to represent teachers and workers in general whose employment is affected, in a different capacity.
In welcoming the new attorneys, Chief Justice Ivor Archie reminded them that the ability to practise law was a privilege and not a right and was an onerous responsibility.
Justice Jade Rodriguez underscored that their reputation is fragile and they should treat it like an expensive ceramic vase.
“Do your very best to behave in a manner, in all things, at all times, to spawn a good reputation”.
She warned that one lapse of judgment can result in no one remembering their previous good character.
“Your bad deeds will overtake all the good you have done.”
While congratulating them on their achievement, she realistically told them they have the dubious honour of being admitted to the bar during a pandemic.
“This means that unemployment prospects are more dismal than you ever thought possible, there are (fewer) job opportunities, less money to go around from clients, and the risk of contracting the virus.
“The current pandemic therefore calls you to be innovative and creative, to practise in a totally new landscape. Only grit and determination will see you through.”
In the civil arena she appealed to them to avoid litigation as much as possible and give mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution a chance.
“There is no winner if a matter goes to court when it could have been settled out of court.”
She also told them to give serious consideration to practising in the criminal courts, are there are not enough criminal lawyers to meet the demand. She said the field is dominated by a few, who can only be one place at a time.