Law is competitive but don’t do it alone – 21-year-old new lawyer “Abhi” Dev

At the age of 21, Abhimanyu “Abhi” Dev is one of the youngest persons to get admitted to the Bar of Guyana and according to him, he did not achieve this on his own.

Abhimanyu “Abhi” Dev and his family members with Chief Justice George following his Bar admission at the High Court on Wednesday

Dev’s petition was presented by Attorney-at-Law Devindra Kissoon and accepted by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George at the High Court on Wednesday afternoon.
From a young age, Dev has been an academic overachiever – skipping Grades One and Two and starting his primary education in Grade Three at the tender age of five. This was after the Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Regional Education Department conducted an examination and given his outstanding performance, he was accepted at the Leonora Primary School in Grade Three.
This excellence become a hallmark of Dev’s academics. Throughout his primary education, he become a motivational public speaker, self-taught chess player and avid cricketer – all while remaining on top of his studies and also managing the responsibility of head prefect at his school.
When he wrote the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) in 2009, Dev copped the fourth spot in the country’s top ten. He was nine years old at the time and started Queens College as one of their youngest students.
Dev went onto write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination at the age of 14, securing passes in 17 subjects before moving onto the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE), at which he obtained eight units at 16-years old.
Around the same time, he entered the University of Guyana’s Law Programme. He passed his LLB with distinction at age 19 and subsequently proceeded to the Hugh Wooding Law School, where he received his Legal Education Certificate (LEC).
After graduating from HWLS and upon his return to Guyana, Dev joined the law firm London Chambers headed by Attorney Kissoon where he has been – being the overachiever he is – preparing the groundwork for his legal practice in the courtroom. In his introduction of Dev to Chief Justice Roxanne George, Kissoon revealed that even while he was clerking in his office as a student, Abhi did most of the work on two of the groundbreaking recent cases – the deregulation of the telecommunications sector and the power of the President to appoint Senior Counsel.
While the firm is specialised mostly in corporate law but Dev told the Guyana Times that his interest extends beyond that in the areas of constitutional law, public law, administrative law, contract and property law as well.
Reflecting on his achievements, Dev explained that while he is used to being the youngest in whatever he does, he has learnt that “…it’s not really that consequential in the grand scheme of things. What really matters is to be surrounded by people who, at the same time, share your goals and values, and you’re able to work alongside them.”
As the youngest person in his law school, he said there was no pressure on him to outperform his fellow batchmates. “My friends allowed me to be just like them. We were all studying the same thing and it never really came up much except for a conversational piece.”
However, it was not the same growing up. Dev recalled while there was some pressure for him to excel at everything he did, it was no difference from what his peers were feeling.
“…all of us wanted to succeed and all of us wanted to make everybody proud. At a certain time, you get babied a bit but other than that it’s not that much added pressure.”
Being the son of a former Member of Parliament, Ravi Dev, and brother of another one of the country’s top academic performer, Dr Anuradha Dev, who is now a Resident at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), the 21-year-old lawyer said his family has been the driving force, inspiration and motivation for his success thus far.
“Following in their footsteps, yes, it was pressure when I was younger but it just made me appreciate their influence on me even more because I had a blueprint for me to follow.”
Now working at one of the top corporate law firms in the country, Dev says he is taking it one day at a time.
“There is a lot of work but once you’re able to overcome each day at a time, that’s all that matters at the end. Many people have difference reasons for doing law whether moral, financial but for me law is such an incredible thing that bring everybody together in some way. That’s the future I envision for myself.”
The young lawyer’s advice for students embarking on their legal studies is for them to build a support system. He pointed out that while law is a competitive profession, it is important to form alliances with peers in order to get varied perspectives.
“Law is one of the professions where you’re against somebody and because of that, people feel you’re supported to do it by yourself because it’s a very competitive field. But that’s not true. I learned very early on that you’re supposed to have people on your side, you’re supposed to work with people and it’s a type of area where you’re supposed to get everybody’s perspective on things. So, my advice to anybody, young or old, would be not to close yourself out to different perspectives and to always have somebody by your side.”