Thirty-six law graduates from The University of the South Pacific (USP) were admitted to the bar of the High Court last Friday before Acting Chief Justice, Justice Salesi Temo, High Court Judges, Magistrates, lawyers, colleagues, family and friends.
In his message to the newly admitted lawyers, Justice Temo said, “I congratulate you young, new and up and coming lawyers, I also want to advise you to learn as much as you can on this journey.”
“Remember don’t be afraid or shy to seek help from your senior legal practitioners, they have been through years of fighting cases in court. Above all things, I encourage you all to be polite and to be honest. Your clients depend on you, don’t be someone who will walk away with their money, there have been incidents of that, and those lawyers paint a bad image for others if not all lawyers,” Justice Temo added.
“Don’t be afraid to question Judges but also be prepared when you come to court. It is encouraging to hear a few of you young lawyers want to pursue criminal law, to you, I say be prepared to grow a thick skin. You will defend some who will be facing charges of murder or manslaughter, you must represent your clients with integrity.”
For 24-year-old Shresta Shivani Dutt, the journey to being admitted to the Fiji High Court taught her to stand on her own and the importance of family.
“Becoming a lawyer was my mother’s dream. So I started this journey for her in 2018. I lost my mom while pursuing this dream, but my two older siblings stepped in to support me,” she said.
“I lost my dad when I was younger, so it was just the three of us, I took on a job, continued to take four units each semester and pushed to complete and today I together with my colleagues reap the rewards of that sacrifice.”
For Tuvalu national, Sina Logoake taking up law was a challenge she took up to push herself.
“I wanted something to push me out of my comfort zone, so I thought why not law? While I was still doing my bachelor’s degree I started interning at Howards Lawyers and this is where I started to develop an interest in civil and commercial law,” she said.
Ms Dutt and Ms Logoake celebrated their bar admission with classmates, loved ones and fellow legal practitioners and they hope to soon represent their people.