Thu | Sep 23, 2021

An encounter with the law

Published:Sunday | April 7, 2019 | 12:00 AMJessica Harrison - Gleaner Writer
Christopher Townsend, surrounded by members of his family.
A family of the law: Father, daughter and mother.
Top-flight defence attorney Christopher Townsend.
Christopher Townsend in selfie mode!
Townsend, a man of unmatched passion and drive.

‘Trust God and live’, the mantra Townsend adopted from his late grandfather, who made a powerful impact on his life which, in turn, has benefited him in ways beyond what the eyes can see.

From the tender age of 10, Christopher Townsend said that he would see a lawyer each time he looked at himself in the mirror and today, he is one of the nation’s most successful criminal lawyers.

Operating a 15-year-old full-service law firm alongside his partners Cavelle Johnston and Kaysian Kennedy, including the establishment of two additional branches in Montego bay and Portland, Townsend, Whyte and Porter is a place of employment for 50 employees, inclusive of 11 lawyers and consultants.

Townsend considers himself a jovial, light-hearted soul, who appreciates the balance between having tremendous fun and being serious when the time is right.

Humble Beginnings

Raised in a dual-parent household, Townsend recollects his childhood as one that was eventful and served its purpose by teaching him critical survival skills which he still uses today.

“Growing up, my parents would send me off to the country during the summer holidays. You learn how to fend for yourself, because when granny gave you breakfast, the only other meal she was responsible for was dinner. Cooking by the gully, eating out of cocoa leaves, picking fruits and eating them by the pail were normal everyday occurrences for me.”

Meadowbrook High School played an integral role in moulding Townsend into the man he is today. He described his years there as “exciting times” with schoolmates like Peter Champagnie, another top-flight defence attorney.

“I was a very militant student. I remember sitting on the steps during devotions with the Constitution in hand, and telling the guidance counsellor that she cannot force me to associate with any particular religion. I went on to explain how much of a Rasta I am so, therefore, I will not be going to any Babylonian prayers,” Townsend delightfully chuckled.

The Road to Law

After leaving high school, Townsend embarked on a journey to find out what the law was all about and how it played its role in society. Waiting for what seemed like forever without an appointment, he got his first job as a court clerk. From there, he enrolled as a history major at The University of the West Indies, Mona, but soon transferred to the University of Guyana, to read for his law degree. It was in university that Townsend learnt the art of time management when he was forced to transition from boy to manhood, having to care for the young family he started. Soon after being certified to practice law, Townsend was invited to join the office of former DPP Kent Pantry, with whom he spent four years learning and grooming is craft for entrepreneurship.

Advice for Young Counsel

Wanting to help others, Townsend was not hesitant to leave a bit of advice for young lawyers wanting to climb the ladder, urging them to be mindful of the profession and to spend a minimum of six years mastering their courtroom craft and work ethic. He also addressed the matter of money, as he says that once young lawyers have owned their skills, they would be duly compensated for being the best.

Routines for Success

Every successful professional entrepreneur has daily routines to start their day and Townsend is no different.

“My daily routine includes prayer and family. I ensure that I clear my bowels and start each and every day on a positive note regardless of what took place the day before. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Believe, achieve and focus; know what you want and get there.”