First lawyer of the year in Call to the Bar
The Bermuda Bar has welcomed its first new lawyer of the year.
Chelsea Rodrigues, 23, was Called to the Bar last Friday during a ceremony in front of her family and professional colleagues.
Ms Rodrigues said that she felt like “a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders” after she achieved her dream job as a corporate lawyer at ASW Law.
She added: “I have experienced much to arrive in this space that I am honoured to be standing in today – late study nights, early study mornings, pressure and an inner battle with self-doubt and the fear of failure.
“The next step is to continue to learn and grow and be the best corporate attorney I can be.”
Ms Rodrigues, from Warwick, was Called before Puisne Judge Larry Mussenden at the Government Administration Building.
She said that she had wanted to be a lawyer since she was a child because it was an opportunity to help the less fortunate.
Ms Rodrigues added that she first planned to go into criminal law, but admitted that she switched to corporate law because “being in court made me nervous”.
But she said she still believed she could help the community, despite the change of tack.
Ms Rodrigues added: “Bermuda’s a massive mergers and acquisition hub, so we can bring in billions of dollars to the island.”
She said: “I constantly attempt to improve my community’s quality of life by helping others and doing volunteer work.”
Ms Rodrigues graduated from the City University, London in 2018 with a Bachelor of Laws degree before she attended the University of Law, also in London.
She started working at ASW Law under the pupillage of Neil Horner and other senior lawyers at the firm.
One of the first projects that Ms Rodrigues worked on at the firm involved a $30 billion merger – a project that she said was “exciting”.
She added: “It was exciting to be putting into practice what I had learnt in university right off the bat.
“I definitely learnt a lot that I didn’t necessarily learn in university, but it was really exciting to communicate with people all over the world – I even found being up until late hours exciting.”
Ms Rodrigues was also the first ASW employee to do most of her pupillage during the pandemic lockdown.
She admitted that the experience was difficult at first, but that she “quickly adapted”.
Ms Rodrigues added: “It was definitely an interesting time to be doing most of my meetings via Zoom, but I suppose it was the start of a new era.”
Rod Attride-Stirling, the chairman of ASW Law, said that the firm welcomed Ms Rodrigues as they mourned the death of Jan Woloniecki, who cofounded the law firm and died earlier this month aged 61.
He added that Ms Rodrigues was of good character – a quality that the firm took “very seriously”.
Mr Attride-Stirling said: “Mrs Rodrigues is an admirable person and I am happy to welcome her to the Bar.
“She is a tremendous person, a tremendous lawyer and it is a pleasure for us to have her joining our team.“