Tuesday, September 22, 2015 10:15 AM
A packed public gallery in Courtroom 1 shared in the celebration of Travis Ritch being called to the Bar last week, marking the third generation in his family joining the law profession in the Cayman Islands.
Among the dignitaries on hand were Premier, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE JP; MLA Arden McLean; the Hon. Truman Bodden, OBE, former Leader of Government Business and the first Caymanian called to the Bar of England and Wales, for whom the Cayman Islands Law School is named; and Mrs. Islay Conolly, MBE, who is the widow of the Hon. Warren Conolly, OBE JP, National Hero.
From left: David Ritch (OBE, JP), Travis Ritch, Justice Charles Quin
Travis’ father, David Ritch, OBE, JP, of law firm Ritch & Conolly, had the honour of moving the application for him to practise law in the Cayman Islands, continuing a family tradition. Mr Ritch was the fourth Caymanian called to the Bar of England and Wales, and his stepfather, Warren Conolly, was appointed as a Law Agent in 1958.
In addressing the Hon. Mr. Justice Quin, Mr. Ritch recounted when he was first called to the Bar, saying that “39 years ago I sat where (Travis) now sits awaiting admission while my stepfather, the late Warren Conolly, stood where I now stand to move the same”.
He detailed his son’s education, which included completing A Levels at St. Ignatius Catholic School, followed by reading Law at King’s College in London, and then attaining his post-graduate vocational qualification, known as the Bar Professional Training Course, at City Law School, noting the high grades Travis achieved.
“Following completion of his tertiary education, he was called to the Bar of
England & Wales by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple on the 28th
July 2011,” David Ritch said, adding that after he returned to the Cayman Islands, “Travis spent several months as a paralegal at the firm of Ritch & Conolly before pursuing and successfully completing the period of articles required for admission to practice generally.”
The articles were served on a split basis at the well-respected firms, Harney Westwood & Riegels, also known as Harneys, and Mourant Ozannes, he explained. Upon admission, Travis would take up a position as an Associate at Ritch & Conolly.
He finished his submission by saying, “It is therefore my privilege and pleasure to formally move the application for the general admission of Travis Alan Ritch to practise as an Attorney-at-Law in the Cayman Islands.”
Mr. Justice Quin then called Travis to sign the roll to be formally admitted as an attorney.
Travis then addressed the court, telling Mr. Justice Quin, “It gives me great pleasure to be here today and to be admitted as the newest member of the Cayman Islands Bar. I remember walking into Ede & Ravenscroft to be measured for my wig four years ago and thinking ahead to this day, not knowing when it would come, but knowing that I would be very happy when it did.”
He went on to note, “The legal profession is not an easy one. Making a start on a career is as difficult as it has ever been. Without the guidance, teaching, and support of mentors, colleagues and friends, I would not have made it this far.”
Travis thanked the Partners of Harneys “for choosing me as the first articled clerk in their Cayman Islands office”, as well as his Principals there - Jonathan
Law and Andrew Morehouse -- and Marco Martins, the Managing Partner.
“I enjoyed my time training in their litigation department where I learnt both how to play a bad hand, and how to press the advantage when one has it,” he said.
He also thanked the Partners of Mourant Ozannes. “I am very grateful to them for putting me through my paces in the corporate context. Although I intend to practise primarily litigation, I am sure that my experience of funds, corporate, and finance practice will serve me well in the future,” he added, specifically thanking his Principal, Neal Lomax.
Travis then turned his attention to his father’s firm and his family’s legacy. “Ritch & Conolly has been many things to me over the years. Though it is less of a family firm now than it was 20 years ago, at various times, my father, stepgrandfather, grandmother, three grand aunts, aunt, and mother worked or continue to work at the firm.
Travis recounted his early experiences of the firm as being his parents’ workplace and somewhere to visit with relatives before concluding, “As a fully qualified attorney, Ritch & Conolly will be the place where I begin to make my mark as a professional.” He added that he was very grateful to his father and his Partner, Cherry Bridges, for their vote of confidence.
His final, very personal, thanks were directed to his father and his mother, Valerie Ritch, who is the office manager at Ritch & Conolly. “Through all the heartache of a young life, and for every triumph, they have been there for me. Nothing that went into this achievement has come easily and they know that better than anyone else.
“Their sacrifices, empathy, strength and unconditional love, have seen me through to this day. With that in mind, I dedicate this achievement, and this day, to them.”
He told Mr. Justice Quin, “I look forward to a bright future and a successful career in law. I am conscious of how fortunate I am to be in the position to do this for a living, and I will strive to remember that every day.”
In congratulating Travis, Mr. Justice Quin thanked him for his “fine speech”. He drew a laugh from those gathered when he said, “I see your father brought along lots of heavy artillery, in case he slipped up,” noting that it wasn’t often proceedings like these include such dignitaries as Premier McLaughlin and Mr. Bodden.
He highlighted the quality of the new attorney’s education and work experience, and paid homage to Warren and Islay Conolly.
In a nod to Travis representing the next generation of attorneys at his father’s firm, Mr. Justice Quin said, “I am sure your father and, indeed, the office manager are very pleased to see you coming back to work for Ritch & Conolly. I’m looking forward to seeing you in court and wish you every possible success.”
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