A remarkable group of 32 Guyanese students has graduated from the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS) this year, having completed the Legal Education Certificate (LEC) of the Council of Legal Education – a prerequisite to practise law in the Commonwealth Caribbean.
Despite being faced with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, they persevered and completed their studies to becoming attorneys-at-law.
Those who graduated are: Mohamed Ali, Jason Barnes, Deborah Barrow-Graham, Olivia Bess, Edmond Cooper, Cicelia Corbin, Jubilante Cutting, Texine Daw, Casey D’Aguiar, Jamaal Duff, Latifa Elliot, Cassandra Forde, Carlyle Goring, Kiswana Jefford, Jimelle Joseph, Saskea Lynch, Twedale Marks, Aisha McLean, Faa’izah Mustafa, Esther Osbourne, Shareefah Parks, Asasha Ramzan, Lloyd Rodney, Taneisha Saygon, Omar Shariff, Aquilah Shepherd, Debra Singh, Teakaram Singh, Dester Smartt, Edrianna Stephen, Andreanna Thompson and Khawn Rodney.
In the October 2020 issue of The Gravel, a publication by the HWLS, the school’s principal, Miriam Samaru, extended best wishes to the graduating class of 2020 and urged them to be the very best in their careers as attorneys-at-law.
“We hope that we made a difference and that you will become ethical, committed, and hardworking attorneys-at-law. Represent the Hugh Wooding brand proudly and be the best you can be. The experience this year is going to be unique as we all adapt and adjust to life during a pandemic. A few months ago, this was unimaginable. We have had to learn about the new normal, pivoting, and the true meaning of resilience. None of this is normal though. It has been hard on everyone, but it is amazing how easily we can become resilient,” she added.
The Council of Legal Education was created in 1971 and operates three law schools in the region: the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad – both established in 1973 – and the Eugene Dupuch Law School in the Bahamas, which was established in 1998.
To be admitted to these law schools, persons must have first obtained a bachelor’s degree in law. Non-University of the West Indies law degree graduates can be admitted to the law schools if they are successful in the Council of Legal Education’s annual entrance examination. Each year, the top 25 students from the University of Guyana’s Department of Law gain automatic acceptance to the HWLS to read for their LEC. The remainder would have to sit the law school’s entrance examinations.
Graduates from the University of the West Indies and the University of Guyana must then complete two years of study and practical training at one of the three schools to be qualified to practise as an attorney.
Each year, the Government of Guyana offers fully-funded scholarships to the HWLS. The scholarships are offered through the Public Service Ministry and are open to new and continuing students.
To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be the holder of a Bachelor of Laws Degree with a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.3. The applicant must be under the age of 35 and must have obtained the Bachelor of Laws Degree within the last five years. The applicant must also have an acceptance letter from the HWLS.
Present students wishing to apply must have passed in year one studies with at least three courses passed with Grade A. The Hugh Wooding Law School offers a two-year programme at the cost of G$6,292,568. Students would still have to foot the cost of boarding, food, and school-related expenses.
Last year, four UG law degree graduates were awarded Government scholarships to pursue the LEC at the HWLS: Simran Gajraj, the Department’s best graduating student; Melissa Adolphus; Thalia Thompson, and Nakesha Cosbert.