It's now M. Georgia Gibson Henlin, QC
Respected attorney M. Georgia Gibson Henlin achieved another milestone in her career on Monday, when she was admitted to the inner Bar at the Supreme Court in Kingston as Queen's Counsel. The ceremony was witnessed by several family members, friends and professional colleagues from Jamaica and abroad.
No doubt, her alma mater, Montego Bay High School for Girls, now celebrating its 80th anniversary, is proud of yet another illustrious graduate, who was lauded by Chief Justice Zaila McCalla, a fellow alumnus of the school.
"This significant milestone earned by Mrs Gibson Henlin over the years signifies the confidence and respect of her peers," McCalla said.
The chief justice said that in order to have been considered for the elevation, the new QC's courtroom skills, passion for the law and sterling service over the years had been noted.
She also had high praise for Gibson Henlin, who was the driving force behind organising the mandatory continuing legal education seminars which have been embraced and accepted by all members of the Bar. McCalla said further, "You are an exemplar to younger members of the profession who need to observe and emulate you."
Richard Mahfood, QC, said the role of a Queen's Counsel can be summarised in the word 'integrity' - making the individual a bridge between litigants and the court.
"You possess skills of advocacy, breadth of knowledge and a lucid way of explaining things, so I wish for you happiness as you embark on this phase of your career."
Similar sentiments were expressed by QCs Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, who proposed Gibson Henlin; Ransford Braham, Ian Wilkinson, who read the message from the president of the Jamaican Bar Association; and Garth McBean, as well as president of the Court of Appeal (ret), Justice Seymour Panton.
In her reply, Gibson Henlin chronicled her journey from a childhood surrounded by nurturing and supportive parents to Montego Bay High School, and her first introduction to the legal profession at a Careers Day fair; the loyal friends, caring husband and understanding sons who have all facilitated her rise to the present.
In acknowledgement of the role played by her peers, Gibson Henlin said, "I thank my peers for their vote of confidence which contributed to my elevation to silk. I recognise that I have a responsibility to continue to observe the highest standard of integrity and candour," she said. In a wide-ranging presentation, Queen's Counsel Gibson Henlin took the audience on an interesting journey down memory lane.
She recalled her initial interface with a court, the legal luminaries she encountered, her years as a student of the law, early years in the practice, and the firms where she worked before launching out on her own. She also listed and thanked various mentors from whom she learnt how "to be prepared", "pay attention to detail", "sharpen my advocacy in high-stakes litigation, and even dress appropriately for court.
"It was not always easy, I made missteps. These were corrected by mentors, including my advocacy department. My willingness to listen, adapt and change course is rewarded today," she said.