Former student of The Bishops’ High School, Narissa Ashley Leander, was yesterday admitted to the local bar after her petition was accepted by Madame Justice Roxanne George.
Leander, who was praised for her years of hard work and dedication, recently graduated from the Hugh Wooding Law School as the best Guyanese student and has joined the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The DPP, Shalimar Ali-Hack, presented her petition and used the opportunity to highlight how proud she was to be standing beside another woman submitting such a request to a female judge.
Leander, a past pupil of St Margaret’s Primary wrote the Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (SSEE) in 2002 and was awarded a place at The Bishops’ High School. She later gained ten passes at the Caribbean Secondary Examinations Council (CSEC).
She continued her Advanced Level (‘A’ Levels) at Bishops’ where she obtained passes in five Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE) subject areas and two passes from the British Examinations Board’s EDEXCEL exam.
Leander’s scholastic achievements were then boosted by a pass, with credit, from the University of Guyana’s LLB programme in 2012. On October 4, the young attorney obtained her Legal Education Certificate (LEC) at the Hugh Wooding Law School.
The DPP in her petition stated that the promising young lady attributed the values instilled in her to her alma mater. Ali-Hack noted that the values which the new attorney upholds will benefit her in her profession.
She said that Leander is joining the profession at a time of change, and she (DPP) trusts that the changes she will bring will be of a good nature.
The DPP noted that Leander displays courtesy and kindness, qualities that are sorely lacking in young people today. She said that the young woman has shown remarkable qualities and is embarking on a career with a good reputation.
Ali-Hack boasted that Leander will be a good lawyer; one who would stand out at the bar table.
The DPP revealed that while Leander attended the law school in Trinidad, she was part of the Human Rights Clinic, and said that it formed an integral part of the Criminal Justice System.
She expressed confidence that the experience Leander gained at that clinic will be applied in her practice. Ali-Hack said that she had complete confidence in the new attorney’s ability to become an excellent attorney in her chosen profession
Madame Justice George, addressing Leander, said that it was with pleasure that she admitted another past student of The Bishops’ High School to the bar. She noted that Leander has copped the Government of Guyana prize for being the best graduating law student and said because of her background, much will be expected of her.
The judge, who herself had worked in the DPP Chambers, told the young attorney that being a new prosecutor is not like ‘Matlock,’ but rather, takes a tremendous amount of preparation. She urged Leander to be humble and appreciate that she will be working with “older and wiser heads” who can guide her.
Madame Justice George noted that it is often taken for granted that women can now join the legal profession and that it is often forgotten that there are many men and women who struggled to pave the way for this to happen.
She charged Leander to be a lawyer’s lawyer by respecting her colleagues and her work. The judge urged her to be firm in her practice and not to be swayed or intimidated by senior attorneys.
“Come to court so prepared that the others will have no choice but to respect you and your work,” she charged.
Leander was encouraged to practice with integrity and to be loyal and punctual.
“Understand the court and understand the judges,” she said. The judge wished her a successful future.
In response, Leander noted the advice by her seniors and added that she will remember it throughout her practice. The 24-year-old thanked her parents, Eon and Gillian Leander for their years of dedication and sacrifices.
She noted that it was not an easy task, but she had made it through the support of her family, friends and God. The young attorney admitted that becoming a lawyer was not something she had initially considered but added that it later became a part of her.
Leander attributed her values to her old school and said that at Bishops’ there were “rules, rules and more rules.” She said, however, that it is to that end that she owes her honesty, integrity and respectful attitude.
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