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Shaunte sets sights on becoming a judge

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Impressive progress: Shaunte Simons

As she was Called to the Bar yesterday, Shaunte Simons recalled the bold declaration she made at the tender age of 4.

“When people ask children what they would like to be when they grow up, you get the usual responses: fireman, astronaut, singer,” she said.

“But not me. I made up my 4-year-old mind that I wanted to become a judge — and from that day, that was that.”

Now 23, Ms Simons still wants to become a judge one day, and has done everything possible to maximise her chance of success.

In her adolescence, she played an active role in initiatives including Youth Parliament and the National Youth Council, as well as representing Bermuda at the United Nations Youth Conference in New York City.

Ms Simons was also named Miss Teen Bermuda Islands before heading to the University of the West of England and onto the University of Law in Bristol.

Leighton Rochester, the retired Crown counsel, noted during the packed-out ceremony at Commercial Court 1 that women now outnumber men in the Bermuda Bar by 264 to 263.

Staff at Hamilton law firm Trott & Duncan paid tribute to Ms Simons, who completed her one-year pupillage at the company on Brunswick Street. Karen Williams-Smith, director and head of family law, called the island’s newest barrister and attorney “a very talented and motivated individual” with an ability to digest large volumes of information.

“Her eagerness and enthusiasm to work and learn is very refreshing,” she added. “I have found her to be consistently pleasant, extremely organised and I am impressed by her maturity.”

Associate Sara-Ann Tucker added: “Ms Simons has managed to turn her personal prowess into something career-making and, I think, inspiring.”

Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman commended the Devonshire resident for her “very impressive progress”, but added that “for all the hard work and ambition that have got you here, today is only a start”.

Ms Simons, who is now looking for work, thanked her family, friends and former co-workers.

“All the stress, sleepless nights, migraines, tears and laughter have brought me to this place in time,” she said.

“Becoming a member of the Bermuda Bar is an honour that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Ms Simons said that she was “humbled” by the intense support she had received at the ceremony.

“I promise to live up to my potential and exceed your expectations as I develop as a young barrister,” she added.

Crowning glory: Shaunte Simons became Miss Teen Bermuda in 2011