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Bermudian gets Called to the Bar

Bermudian Cristen Suess became the newest member of the Bermuda Bar yesterday, following in her mother's footsteps.

Ms Suess's mother Sharon Suess, who was Called to the Bermuda Bar 11 years ago, said she was “surprised and happy” when her daughter announced that she was stepping away from studying journalism and shifting her focus towards the law.

“We were concerned but she appeared to be very serious about the change, so we supported her in her move to the UK,” she said. “I'm proud and honoured that she has chosen to follow my footsteps.”

During her Call to the Bar ceremony inside Supreme Court 3, the court heard that Ms Suess studied at the University of Leicester and the City Law School in London before joining the Bar of England and Wales as a barrister.

Ms Suess said a class on court reporting made her realise that she wanted to study the law. She told the crowded courtroom that while her path had sometimes been difficult, she had learnt a lot about not just the law, but also herself.

“This journey has taken me far away from what I planned and expected my life to be,” she said.

She thanked her friends and family, who filled the courtroom, often fighting tears as she addressed the Supreme Court for the first time.

“It is said that it takes a village to raise a child,” Ms Suess said. “In my case, as you can see, my village resembles a small city. I know I can be a handful, but thank you for being with me and never giving up on me.”

Her mother said that Ms Suess had showed little interest in studying law when she was younger, despite showing talent in the field.

Mrs Suess told the court that when she herself was studying law, she would take a young Cristen with her to the law library while she did research.

Knowing that a law library would likely not be terribly amusing, she taught Cristen how to find cases and citations and would give her a list of things to find.

“By the age of 10 she had become so good at it some of my classmates had her finding cases on their behalf,” she said. She added that Cristen began to absorb some of the subject matter and would search for related cases that she felt were better than those provided by the professor.

Her pupil master, Saul Froomkin, described Ms Suess as bright and eager, although sometimes perhaps a bit too eager for his liking.

“I have had to hide from her when she comes looking for work,” Mr Froomkin joked.

Lawyer Alan Doughty, who also helped Ms Suess during her pupillage, echoed Mr Froomkin's statement, adding that she had already demonstrated her skills as a litigant in Magistrates' Court.

“She is just starting out but she has everything that is required to be a really great member of this Bar,” he said.

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley welcomed Ms Suess to the Bar, telling her: “You have to keep up learning.

“One of the reasons why the legislative profession is a stimulating one is there are very rarely two cases that are exactly the same, and you often have to relearn different areas of the law to mould them to the facts of a particular case.”

Following in mom's footsteps: Cristen Suess celebrates being Called to the Bermuda Bar with her proud mother, Sharon Suess, who marked the same ceremony 11 years ago (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published August 29, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated August 29, 2015 at 1:31 am)

Bermudian gets Called to the Bar

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