First Judicial Clerkship
A 25-year-old Caymanian articled clerk at Walkers, Ms Erin Panton, got a unique opportunity to shadow Cayman Islands judges and magistrates and work with senior officers at Judicial Administration during the past few weeks.
Ms Panton has the distinction of being the first articled clerk selected by the Judicial Education Committee and the Caymanian Bar Association (CBA) to undergo a month-long formal judicial clerkship.
Started as a new programme, the judicial clerkship is a part of the practical education of an articled clerk interning with a law firm in the Cayman Islands after finishing formal legal education. As a result, the judicial clerkship counts towards legal training requirements during the 18 months of articles that an articled clerk undergoes. After this, the newly qualified lawyer seeks admission to the Cayman Islands Bar, which enables the individual to practise law as a local attorney.
As such, Ms Panton was assigned to Supervising Judge, Justice Hon. Richard Williams and underwent weekly rotation sitting with a different judge/magistrate during her clerkship at the Courts. At the end of the rotation, she had obtained tutelage from Justices Hon. Charles Quin, Hon. Ingrid Mangatal, Hon. Williams and Magistrate Mr. Valdis Foldats and Acting Magistrate Ms Angelyn Hernandez.
Supervising Judge Williams then evaluated her performance during her judicial clerkship which she completed successfully and which will be counted towards her overall 18-month article clerkship.
Commenting on the first judicial clerkship, Chief Justice Hon. Anthony Smellie said, "The Judicial Administration is very pleased to be able to offer training to our aspiring lawyers in the role of judicial clerks. The programme involves intensive exposure to the work of the courts over a four-week rotation between the different divisions of the courts under the guidance of the Judges, Magistrates and senior registry staff. The objective is to ensure that our lawyers are exposed to the world of dispute resolution and judicial problem solving in order that they might be better placed to determine their career choices and are better equipped to serve the public in the field of litigation.
"Ms Panton has led the way in accepting the first judicial clerkship and I am delighted that she dedicated herself fully to the programme and found it to be as beneficial as we hoped she would."
Weighing in on her performance, Hon. Justice Williams said, "Ms Panton was the perfect individual to 'start the ball rolling'. From the extremely positive reports I have received from my brother and sister judicial officers concerning Ms Panton's impressive performance when with them, it is evident that she made the most of this opportunity and that she will be a welcome addition to the Bar."
The Bar Association's Mr. Neil Timms, QC, who along with Justice Hon. Ingrid Mangatal and Justice Williams coordinated the programme, commented: "The CBA believes judicial clerkship offers a unique experience that will benefit every Articled Clerk. It is very pleasing that Erin and Walkers took advantage of this invaluable training opportunity and that the clerkship was such a success."
Ms Panton expressed her delight at learning first-hand how the Cayman Island's judicial system works as the first articled clerk in the new programme.
"The clerkship was a very positive and invaluable professional experience overall and has certainly given me an edge in my legal career going forward," Ms Panton acknowledged.
"In particular, it allowed me individual facetime with judges and magistrates to get to know what each of them expects of attorneys on a daily basis, and form professional relationships which will stay with me throughout my legal career."
"It was equally important that I could work with various court staff and learn from them over the course of the clerkship," she added.
About Ms Erin Panton: Ms Panton completed her Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree with an upper second class classification in 2014 from the Truman Bodden Law School (TBLS) and then completed her Legal Practice Course (LPC) from the University of Law (London Bloomsbury) with distinction in 2015.
Also during her legal studies, Ms Panton spent her summer breaks interning in 2012-2014 at Cayman Islands' law firms including Walkers. Additionally, as the top performing Caymanian of her graduating class at TBLS, she received the Dillon Eustace Travel Bursary which enabled her to intern during summer 2015 at Dillon Eustace's head office in Dublin, Ireland and gain valuable experience in their investment funds and litigation departments. Following this, Ms Panton spent six weeks volunteering as a policy officer at the Ministry of Financial Services in the third quarter of 2015.
Starting as an articled clerk in Walkers' Cayman Islands office in March 2016, Ms Panton gleaned valuable experience spending four-and-a-half months in each of the firm's practice groups: investment funds, global wealth structuring, finance and corporate, and insolvency and dispute resolution. She is currently in her final seat of her articles and is sitting in the firm's insolvency and dispute resolution practice. Set to complete her articles by the end of August 2017, Ms Panton is looking forward to being admitted to the Cayman Islands bar.
A member of the Caymanian Bar Association, Ms Panton with two other teammates also gleaned constructive experience in practical international arbitration when they represented TBLS at the annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria in 2013.
For further information contact: Bina Mani