Lewis looks ahead to a bright future
A lawyer who worked pro bono in India, South Africa and the United States was urged to keep up the practice when he was Called to the Bermuda Bar this week.
Lewis Preston helped asylum seekers as part of his volunteer work at the start of his career.
The 35-year-old was officially welcomed to the island’s judiciary by Narinder Hargun, the Chief Justice, as well as colleagues from Kennedys, where he is a senior associate, on Tuesday.
Alex Potts QC, a partner at the law firm, told the court that Mr Preston “demonstrated some pro bono sympathies” before he embarked on his pupillage in England in 2009.
He explained: “Mr Preston volunteered to work in New Delhi for four months with the legal charity Human Rights Law Network where he drafted proceedings against public authorities for breaching Indian constitutional law.”
Mr Potts said that Mr Preston went to Durban, in South Africa, then Washington, DC.
He volunteered for three months in each, working with asylum seekers, and returned to volunteer in New Delhi in 2015.
Mr Potts added: “He has a pro bono ethic, he has an interest in public law, but the large focus of his practice has been commercial dispute resolution.”
Mr Preston was a graduate of Downing College, Cambridge, and practised as a barrister in London, where he specialised in commercial and insolvency cases.
He worked with an offshore company in Hong Kong, practising British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands law, and was admitted to the BVI bar.
Mr Hargun said he was “glad to hear” that Mr Preston engaged in pro bono work.
He added: “The legal profession over centuries has always distinguished itself by taking time and doing pro bono work, doing public service.
“It is important, and I appreciate that when one is a young lawyer and trying to succeed with organisations, finding time is quite difficult.
“But it is an important aspect.”
Mr Hargun said: “I recommend that you continue with it.”
Mr Preston, who is originally from Lancashire in the UK and moved to Bermuda with his wife Pimpernel, told the court that Mr Potts had been “a wonderful colleague”.
He said: “I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have worked with such a self-deprecating, good-humoured and mild-mannered man.”
Mr Preston said he hoped the courts and members of the legal profession would find him to be “diligent, engaging and a reasonable practitioner”.
Mark Chudleigh, a partner at Kennedys’ Bermuda office, said after the hearing: “It has been a pleasure having Lewis assist us over the past year, and his knowledge of Hong Kong, Cayman and BVI has been invaluable to our international litigation practice.
“However, as a barrister, Lewis is keen to see more of the courtroom and it is pleasing to see him now afforded that honour.”
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