Former Bishops’ High student with a passion for int’l law admitted to local Bar
A former student of the Bishops’ High School, who has a passion for international and environmental law, was on Wednesday admitted to the local Bar.
The petition for 23-year-old Jamaal Duff, one among the 32 Guyanese who graduated from the Hugh Wooding Law School late last year, was presented by Attorney-at-Law Ronald Burch-Smith before Chief Justice Roxane George at the High Court in Georgetown.
“International and environmental law is my preference. I am very interested in the environment, and with the new development with Guyana having oil, that will be an area of concern. As much as people are specialising in oil and gas, the repercussions from this oil and gas exploration on the environment need to be dealt with,” the young lawyer shared with Guyana Times.
In a courtroom packed with his family members, friends, and well-wishers, Duff expressed gratitude to his parents and thanked Attorneys-at-Law Ronald Burch-Smith and Mark Waldron for their guidance throughout his legal journey.
“My journey to becoming an attorney-at-law was certainly not easy. It included late nights, early mornings, sometimes no sleep at all, and so many other sacrifices. It was also filled with a lot of fond memories shared with my colleagues,” he recounted.
“I am truly at a loss for words. This all feels so surreal. My journey to this point has been a rollercoaster ride. It was my law teacher from Bishops’, Miss Claire Maison, who first inspired me to pursue law.”
For her part, Justice George, in accepting Duff’s petition, said it is always a pleasure to admit former students of her alma mater. The Chief Justice charged Duff to embody honesty, integrity, and respectfulness, as these attributes would contribute to his elevation in the legal profession.
Justice George also seized the opportunity to explain to Duff that the profession into which he has entered is very demanding. In doing so, she described the law as “a very jealous mistress”, and told him that his job would only get tougher, as he would be required to work long hours.
She was also impressed with his Bar admission speech, particularly where he described himself as being ambitious, dedicated, and self-motivated. On this note, Justice George urged the young lawyer, “Let these be words that you practise; give life to these words.”
The Chief Justice reminded him that he must, at all times, uphold the integrity of this noble profession. “Be honest with the court, be on time. Ensure that you are respectful of the court and your colleagues at all times, and respectful and frank with your clients,” Justice George told Duff.
Meanwhile, Duff’s advice to anyone wanting to enter the legal field is: “It is tough, but you can do it if you dedicate yourself and put in the work. Don’t let anyone tell you you cannot do it. You will always have late nights with exams and assignments.” (G1)