Black Excellence in Law: Florida teen the youngest ever to pass UK Bar exam
Young, Gifted & Black Series
By Taki S. Raton
This American teenager according to multiple accounts has become the youngest person in more than 600 years to become a qualified lawyer both in England and in Wales.
She is young, gifted, and Black. Gabrielle Turnquest this past month July became at 17 years-old the youngest person to pass the law exam at the University of Law. Formerly the College of Law, the University of Law is a private teaching university in England which specializes in legal education.
Offering courses leading to a Graduate Diploma in Law, the Bar Professional Training, Legal Practice, the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and the Master of Laws (LL.M), the University of Law has its own degree awarding powers.
According to Steve Nolan in his August 2013 Mail Online, the average lawyer passes the Bar Professional Training Course at the age of 27. Prior to a change in the law in 2009, lawyers have to be at least 21 before being admitted to the Bar.
Now at 18, Gabrielle looks forward to future prospects of practicing law in the Bahamas, her parent’s home before relocating to the states.
Were she to select to eventually practice in the UK, however, she would have to work at the apprentice level for at least one year before being offered tenure.
“I am honored to be the youngest person to pass the Bar exam, but really, I was not aware at the time what was the average age,” she says in an August 2, 2013 Rhonesha Byng Huffington Post writing. She adds that, “I didn’t fully realize the impact of it.”
This past July is not the first occasion that the Windermere, Florida native has set an historical academic record. At the age of 16, she was the youngest person to graduate from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with an undergraduate degree in psychology.
Apparently, our young barrister is not the only child in her family to pass the UK Bar. Her sister, Kandi, took the same course and passed the exam at the age of 22.
Nigel Savage, President and Provost at the University of Law as noted in the Nolan account shares that, “Like Gabrielle, students from across the globe are recognizing the importance of having a legal qualification that is widely recognized in other legal jurisdictions.”
He adds that, “the growing globalization 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 maximize the number of job opportunities that are available to them.”
Gabrielle in Huffington says that, “Studying at the University of Law has broadened my horizons and introduced me to a global legal system that will help me in my future career in the international fashion industry.”
Her immediate plans at present visions attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) for a career in apparel industry management in fashion law. With campuses in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, and San Diego, the FIDM is a private college specializing in the fashion, graphics, interior design, and entertainment industries.