Monday, February 19, 2018

Attorneys urged to be honest

NEWLY-ADMITTED attorneys-at-law are being urged to let honesty be the hallmark of their professional lives.

The admonition was given as 98 attorneys took their oaths of allegiance at a ceremony held in the Convocation Hall at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain on Friday. A total of 76 women and 22 men were admitted to practise in the courts of Trinidad and Tobago.

Among them was Kalana Prince-Wilson, whose petition was presented by her husband, former Express journalist Fulton Wilson, who is also an attorney.

Wilson's sister, Maria Wilson, is a Judge of the High Court and their father, Oswald Wilson, former chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), was also an attorney.

For Roamar Achat-Saney, the moment was a bitter-sweet one.

One of her three sons, Johann Saney, a mechanical engineering student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), was killed in a car crash with two friends in 2009 while Achat-Saney was in her third year of her LLB.

Achat-Saney dedicated more than 30 years to the teaching profession and served as the principal of Fyzabad Secondary School for ten years.

Her son Kern is also an attorney.

Asked why she chose to enter the legal profession, Achat-Saney said she always wanted to do so since she attained her first degree in English Literature and Social Sciences. She is also the holder of a Master's degree in Education.

Addressing the gathering, Chief Justice Ivor Archie told the new attorneys that the legal profession is still a noble one, "although we still have some work to do these days".

Archie told the new lawyers that their lives will change immeasurably.

"Many have contributed to your success," he said.

"Most of you would have benefitted from subsidised education and it is expected that you will give back...not only in politics, but through charitable organisations, NGOs and pro bono work of which I always encourage attorneys to be a part.

"When doing a case, to you it may be another case, but to the client, it may be everything to them. It might be their life savings. In criminal law, it may be their lives."

High Court judge Justice Devindra Rampersad stressed that attorneys must first be honest to themselves.

"It should be of paramount importance," said Rampersad.

"If you cannot be honest with yourself, you cannot be honest with anyone else. Your duty is to be honest to the court and to your client."

Rampersad said attorneys by their actions can affect not only the lives of their clients but the lives of every citizen of this country.

"Take each matter seriously no matter how small or trivial you may think it is.

"You have entered into an honourable profession. It is now up to you to be honourable at all times."