T’Deana reaps rewards from ultimate sacrifice
A law student who nursed her newborn child while she hit the books has celebrated the beginning of her legal career.
T’Deana Spencer told her Call to the Bar ceremony: “As I stand here today, I am overjoyed as I recall the countless obstacles and setbacks, which I now view as merely all a part of my journey.”
She added in her address on Friday to Narinder Hargun, the Chief Justice: “Today marks the commencement of a new journey.”
Ms Spencer, 29, began the Bar Professional Training Course at City Law School in London, England, in 2012.
She gave birth to her daughter, Zyorra, in December that year, and her baby often accompanied her to study sessions.
The Pembroke woman told The Royal Gazette yesterday: “I usually got really lucky.
“She slept for most of the time I spent at the library.”
Ms Spencer was forced to leave school and return to Bermuda after the denied application to be excused from exams, which were scheduled for one month after her daughter’s birth. After trips between Bermuda and Britain, she landed a job at Magistrates’ Court, and later with the law firm Smith & Co.
Ms Spencer moved to Manchester to complete the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in January 2016. The move meant leaving her daughter with her parents, which she called “the hardest decision she had to make”.
She added: “I knew it was a sacrifice that would benefit us both.”
Ms Spencer completed the accelerated course in June 2016, and spent the summer finishing her master’s degree before travelling back to Bermuda that October.
She spent a short stint at ASW Law before taking a position as a trainee analyst with the Financial Crime Team at Clarien Bank, before she moved to Butterfield Bank. Ms Spencer said the desire to become a fully qualified lawyer remained strong. She described: “I can recall going through the phone book and applying to every single law firm in Bermuda.”
Ms Spencer said that the death of her grandmother, Rosina Bean, in August 2017 had a profound impact on her.
She described Ms Bean as her “cheerleader, my biggest fan, my confidant, and one of the most important people in my life”.
Ms Spencer added: “I fell into a bit of a slump, but I knew that I couldn’t stay there, because that was not what she wanted for me.”
She began with the legal department of Butterfield in January 2018 and the last six months with Carey Olsen.
She said her dream job would be to work with the Financial Intelligence Agency. Ms Spencer encouraged others to stay focused to work towards their goals.
She added: “Surrounding yourself with people who can continue to inspire you — I think that’s extremely important.”
Ms Spencer thanked her family and her professional mentors for their support.
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