Back to Page Authors: Lisa Theodore

Keywords: legal reform, legal profession, threats to development, law and development, role of law, Trinidad and Tobago

Abstract: Globally, the legal profession has been facing threats due to technology and has even been identified as one of the redundant roles in the future. New forces are also transforming the world of work. Simultaneously, in jurisdictions across the world such the United States and the United Kingdom, efforts have been spearheaded to further the advancement of legal innovation and the way law is developed, practiced and used to be more effective against these threats. Evident, therefore, in certain legal communities outside of Trinidad and Tobago these threats are not being ignored by the legal profession, but are instead identified and recognised for opportunities. With the recent increase in the intake of law students in Trinidad and Tobago and regional law schools, there has also been an equivalent remarkable increase in the number of young attorneys entering into the legal profession of Trinidad and Tobago. These young attorneys are presented with a combination of new hurdles in the pursuit of their career in law, which were not previously faced by senior attorneys. Some challenges currently experienced by these young attorneys include an absence of adequate mentorship, inadequate preparation for legal practice, inability to retain clients, inadequate training in business development, insufficient support from senior lawyers and a lack of awareness about what is required to ensure their competitiveness in the national, regional and international legal field. Added to this, many senior attorneys have expressed their disappointment in the quality of work being produced by young attorneys. While it appears that the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago has recognised these challenges, there still remains non-existent, organisations or institutions geared towards strategically focusing on the challenges experienced by these young attorneys, finding solutions to address these challenges and more importantly, ensuring the legal community remains committed to fulfilling its role of law in the society. Without the existence of an enabling environment that would ensure the development of the legal community to meet the ever-changing advancements to the legal profession and the wider society; and more importantly, by the failure of the legal profession to recognise their impact, it remains to be seen how the legal system of Trinidad and Tobago will respond to the complex environmental, social and economic challenges that continue to arise. This paper seeks to illustrate, through an examination of the legal profession of Trinidad and Tobago, that outdated or limited legal systems are often a barrier to development rather than a catalyst; and further to identify certain tools and mechanism that have been used in legal professions globally, that have been successful in enhancing the role of the legal community when harnessing positive change.