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Jamaican tops world in legal accreditation exam

Published:Friday | July 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Jo-Anne Stephens

Jo-Anne Stephens, a Jamaican attorney living in The Cayman Islands received the STEP excellence award for achieving the highest mark in the world on the Company Law and Practice exam.

Stephens, who recently joined the law firm Higgs & Johnson in October 2015 welcomed the news of her global rank.

"I was competing with very smart and capable people from across the world, including the UK, Europe, and the Caribbean," she said in a press release issued by the Cayman Law Society on Thursday. "It demonstrates that hard work and dedication are truly the keys to success."

Stephens completed her law degree at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and Barbados before going on to receive her CLE at the Norman Manley Law School in 2006 and her Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Oxford in 2012.

Passion for problem solving

Her desire to enter the legal profession stemmed from her passion for problem solving. "I wanted the challenge of finding wealth-management solutions for my clients in an ever-changing legal and regulatory global environment," she said.

Alasdair Robertson, president of the Cayman Islands Law Society, said "It is great to see the hard work and dedication of a Cayman Islands practitioner being recognised on such a high-profile and global scale. This further demonstrates the quality of lawyers we employ and produce here in the Cayman Islands."

STEP, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, is a worldwide professional association with over 20,000 members in 95 countries and consists mainly of trust and estate attorneys, accountants, and trust specialists.

Lawyers becoming members of STEP and achieving the 'TEP' designation are considered among the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates. Applicants are required to take a number of exams or prepare papers for presentation.

"It is important for any notable trust attorney to possess the TEP designation," Stephens said.