NEWLY-called attorneys have been urged to do their part to help restore the public’s confidence in the justice system.
They were told the ability to practice was not a right or entitlement but a privilege.
The advice to the new attorneys came from Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Justice Westmin James at the Call to the Bar ceremony at the Hall of Justice on Thursday.
There was another Call to the Bar ceremony on Friday.
In his address to the 79 new attorneys on Thursday, Archie told them their “journey now start.”
“From tomorrow, having paid your practising fee can go out and give legal advice. But always remember, no matter how bright you think you are, you are just practising. In due course, with diligence and hopefully a good dose of humility, you may go beyond advice to give good counsel, and your seniors would tell you there is a difference.”
He added, “Remember also that the ability to practice in these courts is not a right or entitlement. It is a privilege, that is why you petitioned for it. And you have to be deemed suitable. And it is a privilege that may be forfeited.”
Archie told them their duty was to be “unscrupulously honest” with the court and their clients’ affairs.
“It must never be about you, your ego or a desire to win no matter what.”
James advised the new attorneys, as Generation Z attorneys, to use their assets to bring a fresh perspective to the profession.
“Your generation faces a fair share of criticism. Your generation is considered to have short attention spans, addicted to technology, unable to handle criticism, and maybe even lazy.
“However, like generations before you, your generation will bring its own fresh perspective and unique set of skills and attributes to the legal profession.
“Your innate affiliation with technology can be a significant asset to the landscape, which is increasingly digitised.
“As a Generation Z attorney, leverage this tech savviness and help the profession to streamline processes, enhance communication and adapt to the ever-evolving technological tools such as AI.”
He also advised, “Weave your own tapestry and always acknowledge those who were there for you,” and urged them to use their entrepreneurial spirit for legal problem-solving as this could open alternative career paths in the field.
James also emphasised the importance of adopting a broader international perspective to their legal work.
“Impact the world positively,” he said as he called on them to do their part to restore confidence in the justice system and show respect for the court.
He also espoused the importance of ethical conduct and upholding a high standard of integrity.
“Trust is the currency of our profession…Maintain that trust. Take pride in the profession and its members. You are now guardians of justice and champions of the rule of law.
“You are not just lawyers but stewards of justice,” he told them, adding that their duty extended beyond the courtroom but as a contribution to the “betterment of society.”
“And, never forget the human element in the pursuit of justice,” he urged as he also spoke of the importance of a healthy work/life balance.
“A happy lawyer is a better lawyer.”
On Friday, Archie again addressed the second group of new attorneys, urging them to remember those who supported them along their journey.
He also gave them the same advice he gave on Thursday.
Also addressing the Call to the Bar ceremony on Friday was Justice Betsy Ann Lambert-Peterson. She urged the newly admitted attorneys to revisit their oath from time to time.
“Be honest, be guided by the code of ethics of your profession… Be a person of integrity, work hard, encourage each other, be courteous learn from your errors, respect the court, respect your clients your colleagues and yourself. I urge you to believe in yourself.”
Lambert-Peterson also called on the new attorneys to contribute to the building of regional jurisprudence and acquaint themselves with legal authorities from the region and the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Since many problems can be solved with minimal legal intervention, she advised they take time to prepare their cases since not every matter filed ends in a trial nor did every indictment result in incarceration.
Lambert-Peterson also spoke of the changing landscape in the way of doing business with the embrace by the Judiciary of digital innovations.
She also advised, “Your work is representative of you. Produce quality work,” as she recommended they add to their reading list, the book, The Complete Advocate, written by Justice of Appeal Ronnie Boodoosingh.
Present at Thursday’s and Friday’s ceremonies to welcome the new judges were Justices Geoffrey Henderson and Mauriceia Joseph.
Close to 200 attorneys were called to the bar over the two days.