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Chardonnai Hughes fulfils her primary ambition as she is Called to the Bar

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Call to the Bar: New lawyer Chardonnai Hughes is embraced by her daughter Kayla, 6, on the steps of Sessions House (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

When she was six, Chardonnai Hughes wrote on her student-of-the-month poster that she wanted to become a lawyer – a picture of it sent by her mother helped motivate her thought the difficult times as she completed her legal journey to join the Bermuda Bar.

The ceremony for Ms Hughes was also a first for Calls to the Bar in the Supreme Court yesterday.

Puisne Judge Larry Mussenden called it “a bit of history making” as Ms Hughes’s mother Dwaynette Hughes and her twin daughters, Emiyah and Emizjae, joined the ceremony remotely from the UK.

Call to the Bar: New lawyer Chardonnai Hughes before Sessions House with proud father Bervin Robinson and her daughter Kayla, 6 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bruce Swan, Ms Hughes’s pupil master, said she had worked hard in all three levels of the island’s courts – Magistrates’ Court, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal – after commencing her pupillage at his practice in October 2021.

Mr Swan added that she had obtained “vast experience” over the year.

Ms Hughes earned her bachelor of laws degree in 2015 from Leeds Beckett University in England, followed by the LLM Legal Practice Course in 2020 at BPP Law School in Leeds.

She worked as a court clerk in Bermuda from 2015-16 and worked at the Attorney-General’s Chambers from 2019-20.

Ms Hughes told Mr Justice Mussenden: “It is with a great sense of humility that I stand before you today.

“Humble because this is the moment I can officially call myself a lawyer and barrister.”

She thanked Belvin Robinson, her father, saying she was “for ever indebted to him” – and traced her inspiration to becoming a lawyer back to Victor Scott Primary School.

Ms Hughes said her mother had kept her student-of-the-month poster, on which she had written at age 6 that she wanted to become a lawyer.

“She took a picture of it and sent it to me at a challenging time for me,” Ms Hughes told the court. “It gave me the motivation I needed to persevere.”

After her struggle through “trials and obstacles”, Ms Hughes said: “I can now appreciate those times, coming out on the other side.”

She said of her pupillage: “I had to dive in headfirst – I felt as though I had become a lawyer before I officially was a lawyer.”

Ms Hughes said she pushed through her studies and pupillage while parenting her young daughter, Kayla, and looking after her twin daughters during their trips home.

She thanked Mr Swan for affording her independence during her pupillage.

“My opinion mattered – he made me feel like a partner, not a pupil.”

Call to the Bar: New lawyer Chardonnai Hughes (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

She learnt to “always keep an eye on your calendar; weekends are not weekends; the unexpected is always expected – and always keep clients abreast of matters”.

Ms Hughes said Saul Froomkin KC, who was present for the ceremony, had been a valued source of help and advice – even when he told her “he was not going to tell me; I had to go find it”.

She told the court she had volunteered to give legal advice in Britain as well as Bermuda.

“I wanted to be an advocate for those who could not advocate for themselves.”

Call to the Bar: New lawyer Chardonnai Hughes (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

She called her mother “my rock, my confidante, my coach and my inspiration” through it all.

Ms Hughes dedicated the occasion to her mother and three daughters.

She said she was “for ever grateful” for the opportunity to work with Mr Swan, whom she had known since childhood.

Mr Justice Mussenden thanked the family joining the ceremony from England along with “everybody in this room for everything you have done in assisting Ms Hughes”.

“Rest assured everybody in Bermuda in their own small way is proud of everything you have done to have Ms Hughes here today.”

He added: “I look forward to seeing her in the courts.”

Call to the Bar: New lawyer Chardonnai Hughes (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published November 04, 2022 at 8:03 am (Updated November 04, 2022 at 1:26 pm)

Chardonnai Hughes fulfils her primary ambition as she is Called to the Bar

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