Avia Ustanny, Outlook Writer
The sisters have a diverse law practice that includes clients from as far away as the European Union. Attorneys-at-law Donna-Marie Scott-Mottley, Nicole Scott-Bonnick and Flavia Scott-Hall. - Junior Dowie/Staff Photographer
"WHATEVER I do they
follow." Senior partner in the law firm of Scott, Bhoorasingh and Bonnick, Donna-Marie Scott-Mottley, does not smile when she gives this as the reason why, not one, not two but three of her siblings have followed in her footsteps.
Her sisters, however, smile like cats who have tasted cream.
Sisters Flavia, Nicole and brother Steve are all lawyers, and the two younger sisters also made a beeline for her offices not long after launching their legal careers. They have been following older sister Donna-Marie all their lives, and keep liking it.
On the day that Donna-Marie Scott-Mottley decide to put her hair in sister locks, she also begged her hairdresser to refrain from doing the same for her sisters for at least three months.
It did not work.
Although her sister had met her 'hairstyle' with critical comments, she knew enough about them to know that they soon would follow. Now, both sisters and her mother, retired principal Daphne Scott, sport sister locks.
They have a problem, the sisters say, convincing many people that they are not one and the same individual. Dressed in corporate black and wearing their hair the same the reason is not so hard to see.
The sisters, attorneys in Scott, Bhoorasingh and Bonnick a firm with three locations in May Pen, Clarendon, Kingston and Portmore, St. Catherine have come together to create a veritable powerhouse in legal services, one that their father Inspector of Schools Woodrow Scott had the chance to express great pride in before he died in 2003.
Scott, Bhoorasingh and Bonnick also has a client base extending from all areas of Jamaica to the United States of America, Canada, Cayman Islands, Bahamas and England, and other countries in the European Union.
The varied spectrum of the company's interests include company law, commercial and residential property conveyancing, estate planning, estate wills and trusts, family law, including divorce and child maintenance and civil as well as criminal litigation, providing representation to clients in the Resident Magistrate's Court and in the Criminal Division of the High Court.
It was the example of eldest sister Donna-Marie Scott-Mottley a name which will be immediately recognised as a member of the Jamaican Senate which led four of her younger siblings into law.
A student of Clarendon College, Donna scorned the good counsel of her parents and teachers who insisted that teaching was the career for her. Her father told her that, quite possibly, all lawyers were liars.
The Clarendon College graduate, nevertheless, pressed ahead to matriculate for law after securing a first degree from the faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies in 1975.
In 1980, with her Bachelor of Laws and Legal Certificate from Cave Hill and Norman Manley
Law School, she was employed at Freedom Chambers in Thwaites Fairclough and Watson in Kingston, Jamaica before going to May Pen as
In 1983, unwilling to leave May Pen where the family home was, she started her own practice and between then and 1989 became senior partner
in the firm Scott-Bhoorasingh, Bonnick, and Samuels-Brown.
Donna-Marie was then Scott-Bhoorasingh, a name coming from an early marriage.
In 1992, the firm became Scott, Bhoorasingh and Bonnick when sister Nicole Scott-Bonnick joined her.
Donna-Marie cried the day in 1992 when sister Nicky called her to announce that she would be joining her in chambers in May Pen.
"I did not think we could do it because of our history of sibling rivalry," she admits.
She gave in, however, because she said it was something their father wanted.
Her father, she said, made them deeply aware of the bonds of family and instructed them to be friends with each other. He also encouraged his daughters to be independent, advising them that he would never give them permission to marry (a matter in which he later relented).
'Middle sister' Marcia Nicola Scott-Bonnick, also a Clarendon College graduate, obtained Certificate of Legal Education from the Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica, after graduating from Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados, in 1981. She is also holds a first degree from the Faculty of Social Science, UWI.
Nicola, or Nicky, as she is called, began her working life with the firm Thwaites Fairclough and Watson, Kingston, Jamaica. In 1984, she joined her sisters as an attorney-at-law and partner in the firm Scott, Bhoorasingh and Bonnick.
Flavia Scott-Hall, the baby in the three-sister partnership, was educated in New York, the place to which her parents migrated in 1980, leaving older sisters Donna-Marie and Flavia behind. Flavia graduated from Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica Certificate of Legal Education in 1995, this after leaving the New York Law School in 1993 with the qualification of Juris Doctor (JD).
Flavia was also a graduate of York College, City University of New York where she obtained a Bachelor of Science Marketing (cum laude Member of Journal of International and Comparative Law. Flavia was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1993, the New York bar in 1994 and the Jamaican Bar in 1995. She is a licensed real estate dealer both in Jamaica and New York.
Flavia started out as an attorney-at-law in the firm Britton Simpson & Morgan, Bronx, New York, before joining her sisters in 1995.
The sisters are accomplished, dividing their time between a complex law practice and public service.
Flavia is currently a member of the Vere Technical High School Board, a member of the Bar Association of Jamaica and the Realtors Association of Jamaica.
Nicole's other obligations include deputy chairman of the Milk River Bath Board Strategic Manager in the firm Scott's Realty and member of Southern Regional Health Authority. She has been a member of the Bar Association since 1981.
Donna-Marie Scott-Mottley has also varied her career by entering heritage management and government. In 1997 she went on a State Department Fellowship granted by the government of the United States of America, and before this attended the Institute of Public Leadership in that country also.
In 1990 she received training at the State Department of USA in Crisis Management. Scott-Mottley has worked as a consultant on Heritage Legislation, a TV host, a UNESCO consultant, and a trainer of women in Jamaica who are interested in political careers as campaign managers or candidates.
Mrs. Scott-Mottley is at present a member of the Senate of Jamaica, the general Legal Council of Jamaica, chairman of the National Land Agency, Jamaica, chairman of the Town and Country Planning Appeals Tribunal, Jamaica. In the past she has served as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Culture, Jamaica, and a member of the Joint Select Committee for Establishment of Ethics for Parliamentarians.
She is president of Southern Bar Association and a member of the Bar Association of Barbados.
Though her sisters do love to follow her lead none, so far, have exhibited a taste for political life.
Instead, Flavia has her heart fixed on starting a number of charitable projects, a means by which she believes the firm of Scott, Bhoorasingh and Bonnick can more effectively impact the community. In this, her older sisters will follow her lead.
While Donna-Marie tries her best to give away all she earns (a trait inherited from her mother Daphne Scott who routinely gave away her daughters' evening meals and best clothes to children who she thought needed them more), Nicole and Flavia together are the firm's administrative and management geniuses. Flavia specialises in
computer systems and marketing.
Now that they have become the independent women that their father wanted, they say it might have been bad advice. "We don't know how to rely on a man. We frighten people. They find us domineering."
All sisters are happily married, however: Donna Marie to culture and heritage consultant Elombe Mottley, Nicole to electrical engineer Jeff Bonnick and Flavia to businessman Barry Hall.
Between them, the sisters have provided their parents with over half a dozen grandchildren. Donna-Marie's son Jaja, a student of Campion College, teases his 'superwoman' mom and states that she was born an adult.
Flavia's six-year-old son Jared (twin to sister Jada) has advised his mom and aunts that he plans to be president (not Prime Minister) of Jamaica and his face will be on money. Aunt Donna-Marie says, "he means it too."
She stands ready to do all in her power to help him achieve it.