Nassau, The Bahamas — Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson, emphasised to law students at the Eugene Dupuch Law School, the bigger picture of building a reputation of solving matters for clients before they go to court, rather than concentrating on billable hours based on going to court.
Speaking to the senior students September 19, Minister Gibson stressed the importance of striving to improve the profession, as well as professional self-development.
“You are being urged to not only ensure that the quality of your work is sound, but your professional ethos and ethics reflect well upon the profession. Obviously, integrity is a given. Rule one code of professional conduct speaks to the integrity of a lawyer. Unfortunately, for all of us, you included, we have far too many examples of lawyers who have failed their clients and also the legal profession. This is something we really need to work hard on,” said the Attorney General.
“As long as people continue to shark practice, cutting corners, causing people to lose trust in an ancient and honourable and learned profession, lawyers, all of us who are not brought up scavengers will be regarded as bottom scavengers. But we really have to pay close attention to that, you are going to be faced with temptations throughout your daily lives, so it’s really up to you to adopt an obligation to uphold the integrity of the profession and to avoid that type of practice.”
Mrs. Maynard Gibson also reminded law students to consider the emerging globalisation phenomenon and the need for expanding information technology resources because the practice of law itself is changing. She advised them to start paperless document filing to keep up with the transformation in how the world communicates and stay competitive.
“The practice of law is not static. So I’m urging you to avail yourself of every opportunity for training and retraining, developing new skills, and expanding your knowledge base. You don’t want to be regarded as obsolete. Remember, you’re in a fast changing world,” said Minister Gibson.
Senator Gibson had some final words for the senior year law students that summarised their duty to their future clients and society at large.
“Lawyering in the 21st century is going to demand a paradigm shift. Literally with the practice of the law but with respect to training to develop core values and attitudes that promote the whole profession of law and lawyers that are agents of justice and social change within society. I want to repeat that, don’t overlook your responsibility as agents of justice and social change within The Bahamas and the world,” said AG Maynard Gibson.
“I encourage you this morning, each of you, that even as you focus on the technical aspect of your training, as you must, to also seek to regulate your conduct and practice the core values that we have spoken about…you’re not going to change anything overnight, anything doesn’t just happen overnight. So start practicing these core values, which have always been the foundation, and I dare say, will always be the foundation of our profession. Work hard and play hard.”
Attorney General the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson giving sound advice to the senior year students of Eugene Dupuch Law School September 19. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).