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Dame Lois recalled during Ariana’s big moment

In grandmother’s footsteps: Ariana Caines, granddaughter of Dame Lois Browne Evans, Bermuda’s first female lawyer and attorney-general, is shown at her Call to the Bar at Middle Temple in London last month, wearing Dame Lois’s wig (Photograph provided)

Ariana Caines developed a love of criminal law watching marathons of Law & Order with her grandmother.

She knew her mother’s mother was a lawyer, but she didn’t realise how important until she attended her funeral.

It was only then she discovered the significance to the island of her grandmother, Dame Lois Browne-Evans.

She said: “I knew she was important, I knew she was special, but I didn’t know what impact she had.

“Seeing the country come out and how much they loved her, how much she had done for the people, it was humbling, in a way.”

Ms Caines, 23, is now following in her grandmother’s footsteps, having won this year’s Dame Lois Browne-Evans Criminal Pupillage Award by the Bermuda Bar Association, in partnership with the UK Bar Council and Carmelite Chambers.

Ms Caines is a Berkeley Institute graduate who earned her Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Buckingham.

“I was just so grateful,” she said. “This award is so important and meaningful, not just for me, but for all young Bermudians who have an interest in criminal law.”

Ms Caines, who spent much of her childhood in Philadelphia, said Dame Lois introduced her to criminal law by watching the hit television show.

She said: “Nana used to come up for Christmas, and there would always be a Law & Order marathon. She would just sit there and watch it, saying what she liked, and I would just sit there and watch it with her.

“I really had no idea who I was sitting next to. I didn’t know everything she had done. I was just watching courtroom dramas with my grandmother and falling in love with the law.”

In October, when she was Called to the Bar at Middle Temple in London, Ms Caines paid tribute to Dame Lois by wearing the same wig her grandmother wore when she was called 65 years earlier.

Ms Caines said: “I didn’t intend to wear it. I have my own wig. I was only going to wear it for the pictures because it is 65 years old. It’s holding together, but we didn’t want to push it. When I put it on, it felt right. It just felt like confirmation that I was where I needed to be. I looked at my mother and asked if it would be okay if I wore it.

“I would like to think that Nana took a second from praising the Lord in heaven to look down and smile.”

Ms Caines was selected for the award by a committee including Ian Kawaley, former chief justice, and Richard Horseman, former president of the Bermuda Bar Association.

A spokeswoman said she was recognised for her excellent academic credentials and high-level advocacy skills, as well as a good understanding of what it would take to be a successful pupil at Carmelite Chambers.

As part of the award, she won a 12-month placement at Carmelite Chambers in London, along with $25,000. The spokeswoman said: “Many thousands of students apply for pupillages each year in the UK, and due to very few spaces being available, many will not be successful. Receiving permission for the Bermudian to receive training is, without a doubt, a great privilege to which Bar Council is eternally grateful to receive.”

Ms Caines, who has already begun her pupillage, said she has spent the last month shadowing Gerard Hillman and other members of the firm and has been “blown away” by their work.

“I truly feel that I am learning from some of the absolute best,” she said. “I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I would encourage any Bermudian student who aspires to join the Criminal Bar, become a first-class advocate or be the next Dame Lois or Julian Hall, to apply for the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Pupillage Award.”

Ms Caines hopes one day to return to Bermuda to practice. She said: “I couldn’t think of a better place. I love Bermuda. The advocates in Bermuda are amazing, the members of the Bermuda Bar are just brilliant.“I cannot wait to call the members of the Bermuda Bar my peers.”