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Teenager becomes youngest qualified barrister

HISTORY-MAKER: Gabrielle Turnquest is the youngest person to be called to The Bar in England and Wales

A STUDENT of Bahamian heritage has written her name into legal history by successfully completing her Bar of England and Wales at only 18 years old.

Gabrielle Turnquest, born in the Bahamas and raised by her mother in Florida, passed the exams which are usually taken by lawyers of an average age of 27.

She took the Bar Professional Training Course while studying at the University of Law in London – her sister Kandi, 22, also qualified at the same time in the same course.

The young legal record-breaker however will not carry on with her qualifications and practice in the UK, instead she would like to qualify fully as a lawyer in America.

Yet Gabrielle eventually wants to work in the Caribbean on the island home to her parents – already her qualifications in Britain means she is eligible to be called to the Bahamas Bar.

She told The Telegraph: “I am honoured to be the youngest person to pass the Bar exams but, really, I was not aware at the time what the average age was.

“I didn’t fully realise the impact of it.”

Her precocious ability to pass exams has seen her break records in the US; Gabrielle made history a her former university, Liberty University in Virginia, where she became the youngest person to graduate, aged 16, after studying psychology.

Her current London university’s president Nigel savage told The Telegraph: “The growing globalisation of law firms and the need for more international expertise means that it is becoming increasingly more important for young legal professionals to have experience across different legal markets if they are going to maximise the number of job opportunities that are available to them.”

Were Gabrielle to change her mind and continue in the UK as a barrister, she would have to find a pupillage for a minimum of a year before be granted tenancy.

In 2009, the regulations were changed to allow trainee lawyers under 21 to be called to The Bar.

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