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…says hard work, dedication and commitment helped her achieve dream
By Lisa Hamilton
Deborah Barrow-Graham, the lone Guyanese student to make the 2020 Principal’s Roll of Honour at the Hugh Wooding Law School was on Tuesday admitted to the local bar realizing her dream of one day becoming a lawyer.
The mother of one, said while it was her dream to become an attorney, she also wanted to demonstrate to her teenage son that anything is possible through hard work, determination and dedication.
Barrow-Graham was admitted to the bar by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, before a courtroom of relatives and friends both in-person and via Zoom. Her petition was presented by prominent attorney Nigel Hughes.
The new lawyer told Village Voice News that, “Since I was a little girl I always wanted to become a lawyer…my ultimate goal is to be an international legal and trade lawyer.” It was because of her dream, she pursued courses offered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the United Nations (UN) and other international organisations.
“A lot of times we tell people stuff but I wanted to show my son that hard work really does pay off. Although I didn’t set out to be the best student – that wasn’t on my mind or anything — I just did my best. Whatever I do, I try to always put my best foot forward so I am really happy that I was able to be admitted today,” the proud woman told Village Voice News.
Barrow-Graham holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History (one of the top two performing students) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of Guyana (UG); a Master’s Degree in International Trade Policy (distinction) from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and now a Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School.
She has worked on Guyana National Broadcasting Authority’s (GNBAs) Monitoring and Compliance Committee and has also worked part-time as a lecturer on Law and Development at UG.
Additionally, she has provided free classes to less fortunate students, particularly males, who are preparing to write the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) then known as CXC.
Prior to attending Law School in 2018, Barrow-Graham was very active at her church in Albouystown community where she co-founded a youth club – Excellent Quest- to foster the development of youth leaders.
She completed her in-service training at the law firm of Hughes, Fields and Stoby where she gained practical skills in both criminal and civil matters as well as areas specific to environment law.
Meanwhile, Hughes commended Barrow-Graham’s work ethic noting that her work assisted his law firm in winning a very important arbitration case. He said the young attorney also work on cases related to international law, oil and gas and mediation matters.
He told the Court that, soon, the profession will change and gowns and dramatic court appearances will no longer be prevalent.
Instead, he opined that technology will bring new ethics while the core elements of integrity, honesty and civility will remain in the noble profession.
Chief Justice Roxane George cautioned Barrow-Graham about being too keen to litigate noting that there is scope for her work in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), an area she believes is becoming increasingly critical in Guyana, particularly with the establishment of several oil and gas companies.
Barrow-Graham’s mother, husband, teenage son and other relatives were present in court to witness her admission to the bar. “Because it has been a childhood dream I really am overjoyed,” the elated attorney remarked.