Since she was a child, 28-year-old Candiacia Lewis wanted to be just like Ben Matlock, a criminal defence lawyer in the legendary sitcom Matlock. Last week, this Wakenaam girl’s dreams became a reality upon her graduation from the High Wooding Law School in Trinidad with her Legal Education Certificate (LEC), a prerequisite to practice law in the Caribbean.
Also, last week, Lewis’s petition to practice law in the courts of Guyana was accepted by High Court Judge Sandra Kurtzious. The petition was presented by well-known defense lawyer and Lewis’s mentor, Mark Waldron who has now taken the young lawyer under his wings as she embarks on her journey in this noble profession.
During her speech, Lewis expressed that having a legal career has always been a childhood dream. She said, “Living in the farming community of Wakenaam in the Essequibo River, where we rode our bicycles 6 miles to and fro to attend the only secondary school and where the pinnacle was to write just 9 subjects at CXC, becoming a lawyer was simply a fantasy. I remember watching the legendary TV sitcom Matlock and telling my grandmother, I want to be just like him when I grew up and she will always say go for it. And today, here I stand before you that with hard work, dedication and a good support system, dreams are attainable.”
In lending advise to the new lawyer, Justice Kurtzious, alluded to the fact that the law is a jealous mistress, one that will consume her time. In this regard, the Judge advised Lewis to have a life outside of law. The Judge informed Lewis of the court’s expectations from her and also reminded her that she should never lose sight of the oath taken and the moral duty owed to the court.
Judge Kurtzious told the new attorney to always treat clients with respect as they will be your biggest advertisers. Justice did not fail to impress upon the young lawyer the need for her to also demand respect for herself.
The Judge further acknowledged the brilliant leadership and guidance of renowned lawyer Mark Waldron, under whose Chambers, Waldron and Burch-Smith, the young lawyer is now attached.
Lewis’ mother, Hyacinth Amelia Prince, and Attorney-at-Law Ronald Burch-Smith, a partner in the aforementioned law chambers, were among several persons Lewis thanked for their unwavering support.
She had this to say about her mom, “I am blessed to have such a strong woman in my life, who has always been my inspiration, my motivation, and my confidant. The selfless sacrifices that she has continuously made over the years, degrees after degrees, have not gone unnoticed or taken for granted. She has put plans on hold and set aside her life so as to make my plans and dreams come alive and for this, I will forever be grateful and indebted to her.”
In concluding her address, the young lawyer, who also holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Guyana promised, “As I embark on what I hope to be a successful legal career, I vow to uphold the Code of Conduct and abide by its guiding principles of honesty, integrity, and competency.”