First lawyer of 2022 Called to the Bar says ‘Voice of Summer’ grandfather inspired him
The grandson of the late CV “Jim” Woolridge has been Called to the Bar.
Jonathan Marion, 27, was welcomed into the legal profession as Bermuda’s first new lawyer of 2022.
Mr Marion, who was admitted on Friday, will leave today to complete his legal training with law firm Kennedys in London.
He said that it felt “amazing” to have been called to the Bar.
Mr Marion added: “I’m finishing my training contract in London and then I’ll be moving back promptly.
“I like London, but I love Bermuda.”
Mr Marion, from Hamilton Parish, was joined by his family and girlfriend for the court ceremony.
His grandfather, dubbed the “Voice of Summer” for his commentaries on cricket matches, was a long-standing tourism minister and senior member of the former United Bermuda Party.
Mr Woolridge, who died in 2018 aged 92, also served as Deputy Premier and Minister of Labour and Immigration before he retired from politics in 2001 after 33 years.
The court heard that Mr Marion attended the prestigious Eton College in the UK and was the first Black Bermudian to attend the school.
He said that his grandfather helped his family to apply to the school when he was just 3 and he started when he was 12.
Mr Marion added: “I was flown out at 9 and I had never heard of it before.
“I saw all these Rolls-Royces and Bentleys and had no idea what the school was like, but they were keen for me to join.”
Mr Marion studied at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, after he was awarded a full scholarship in 2012.
He graduated with honours four years later and completed an LL. B at Edinburgh University in Scotland.
Mr Marion said his education and time with his grandfather helped him to become fascinated by the legal profession.
He added that he saw law as a great way to uphold social justice.
Mr Marion said: “Being a lawyer is an amazing way to make positive changes.
“It’s hard to say exactly how that will take form for me. I’m not giving a political manifesto, but social justice is definitely of interest.”
He added: “You have to use your voice. Silence is compliance and if anybody should speak up, it should be lawyers.”
Mr Marion’s interest in social justice came to the fore during his legal studies when he helped Rod Attride-Stirling, a veteran lawyer, respond to the Government’s appeal against same-sex marriage in the Court of Appeal.
He admitted: “I recall that this felt like a David versus Goliath win as the Bermuda Government flew in a well-known, persuasive and expensive lawyer — a Queen’s Counsel — to argue their case.
“It was rumoured that this QC has appeared before the Privy Council more times than any judge has sat for the Privy Council.
“Despite his impressive advocacy, the QC was unable to persuade the court to overturn the legality of same-sex marriage in Bermuda. Instead the court made the right decision — same-sex marriage is legal and Bermuda is now a better place for it.”
Mr Marion added: “Helping with this case confirmed to me that I could make a meaningful difference in legal cases and that through this career path I could have a positive impact on Bermuda as a whole, a country that I love.”
Mr Marion thanked Mark Chudleigh and Nicholas Miles, partners in Kennedys’ Bermuda office, for their mentorship since he started at the firm in 2020.
Mr Miles said his pupil was a “charming and very capable” young man.
He added later: “I was delighted to be able to support Jonathan’s Call to the Bar. He has a very promising future ahead of him.”