‘I guess you could say I took the scenic route’
A mother of two who juggled her studies, parenting, and a full-time job was yesterday Called to the Bar after 12 gruelling years of study.
Nekeisha Hayward-Cameron, 43, was welcomed into the legal community yesterday after a packed ceremony at the Sessions House on Parliament Street.
Having many of her loved ones in the ceremony, including her son, aged 13, and daughter, aged 18, who video-called from her university in the UK, Ms Hayward-Cameron said the moment felt “surreal” after all these years.
She added: “It’s been really cool as a mother because my children have been able to witness the journey first-hand and hopefully take their own lessons.
“Hopefully I can serve as an example of hard work, determination and perseverance when you have a goal that you want to achieve.”
Ms Hayward-Cameron, from Paget, said she had always intended to study law, and remembered sitting in the Supreme Court and taking notes when her grandmother was a juror.
She added that, because of the many times that she sat in the Sessions House courtroom, it was “serendipitous” and “a full circle moment” that she was Called to the Bar in the same room.
Ms Cameron said that, despite her intentions, after completing a degree in political science at the University of Toronto she took a job in reinsurance due to the death of her father.
She explained: “I didn’t pursue it right out of university – my father had actually passed away when I was in university, so when I graduated I decided to go straight in to work in order to help my mom.”
Ms Cameron added: “I did always envision studying law. It was always something I wanted to do and always something I felt was my purpose and what I was called to do, but it took a couple of detours.
“Guess you could say I took the scenic route.”
Ms Cameron said that, after years of working in reinsurance, she decided to fulfil her dream and go into law.
She completed her LLB at the University of London and then completed her Legal Practice Course at the University of Law.
She then completed her one year pupillage at Marc Geoffrey Ltd Barristers and Attorneys under the supervision of Marc Daniels and she is now practising with that firm.
On top of the difficulty that comes with switching careers, she did so while caring for a one-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter.
Ms Cameron admitted that, although balancing her studies with child-rearing and a full-time job was difficult, she saw it as “something I needed to do”.
She added that watching her mother study for and eventually receive her doctorate inspired her to keep going.
Ms Cameron said: “It showed me the value of hard work and determination – and I hope that is a lesson that I can impart to my own children.”
She added: “I think the underlying message to my journey is that if there’s something that you want to do, life may hand you detours, it may take longer than you thought, but ultimately you never give up on a dream.”
Gaynell Hayward-Caesar, Ms Hayward-Cameron’s mother, admitted that she was a bit sceptical when her daughter told her she planned to switch careers.
But she said she trusted her daughter because “she has never, ever gone wrong” and “she knows what she’s doing”.
Dr Hayward-Caesar added: “She is incredibly passionate about her life purpose – and she has discovered that.
“I’m going to stand back and watch because I know there’s more to come.”
Marc Daniels, Ms Hayward-Cameron’s pupillage supervisor, said: “Nekeisha brings a wealth of experience and professionalism from a career in reinsurance, which would have equipped her and tooled her with certain skill sets which are transferable in law.
“But in terms of her skill sets, her professionalism, her quality, her class, her dedication, and her commitment – it’s bar none.
“I have enjoyed watching her grow over the past 12 months and I’m extremely excited to watch her develop into an incredible advocate and extremely sage counsel.”
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