Many people who are about to reach retirement age look forward to taking it easy, taking up a pastime or hobby such as gardening, reading, exercising, rearing goldfish, cooking and baking, starting a music collection, travel, or playing with the grandkids.
For Jacqueline Adams, 70, a mother of three and grandmother of three, who looks 20 years younger, she gives new meaning to the term ‘senior counsel,’ as she was admitted to the bar on Friday.
She received her Legal Practicing Certificate (LPC) from Staffordshire University, England and is the second person in her family to become an attorney, following her daughter Vonetta Adams.
The senior Adams also did six months internship with attorney Alfred Pierre who presented her for admission to the bar.
Vonetta said her mother has been” a constant source of love, encouragement and motivation” her entire life and she could not be more proud of her right now.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian on Friday after the customary photo shoot in attorney’s robes in front of the Hall of Justice and a celebratory lunch at her daughter Michelle Adams’ house in St Augustine, Jacqueline said “I’m quite happy, my family is elated that I was admitted to the bar today, we swore an oath of office. Monday we have a signing ceremony to formalise our induction at the Hall of Justice.
“At present, I’m working with my daughter Vonetta at her office, in her chambers in Tunapuna and I’m very happy to be with her.
“I did Family Law and Industrial Relations and those two are very dear to my heart.”
She disclosed that in 2008 when she had a court matter, she was inspired by presiding Magistrate Nalini Singh’s comportment and drive.
Adams described her as doing such a wonderful job by just looking at her manner, every time she went to court, she said to herself that she should be there. Singh began to pique her interest in law.
She said there were challenges in studying for her bar exams, first she had to recognise her age, she studied for four hours, and in the end she felt she had learned half an hour’s work, eliciting a chuckle.
Adams added that she got up early to study and she tried to review what she studied, sometimes she studied as much as ten hours a day in intervals.
Several people assisted her such as her daughter Vonetta, her friends Esther Pierre and Abigail, who did her law course previously. Any time Adams needed extra work, even a class, Abigail was happy to oblige.
She said she went to Staffordshire University, England, in October 2019 to do her law studies. There were approximately 100 people in Adams’ class, the majority were from Trinidad. She was the oldest, there were two students in their 60s, the average age of the young people was 30.
Adams was accustomed to studying with young people, but said some youths kept focusing on her age, “going on about what was someone so old doing there,” “that maybe she wasn’t too bright, her brains were not working.” She laughed it off.
Adams’ bio includes working at the Ministry of Education, she started teaching at 17 at Tunapuna Girls’ RC School, ending her career as a school supervisor in 2010.
She said in between it was necessary to equip oneself with the tools of the trade. Adams also studied at Mausica Teacher’s Training College, did a three-year course in guidance and counselling, earned a BSc in Educational Services, and studied Education at the University of the Southern Caribbean.
When asked what advice she had for senior citizens, retirees and youths who were inspired by her achievement, she replied that it was important for young people and retirees alike to imagine their best selves and show up as that person.
Adams’ message to retirees was to live your life and forget your age. She added that it does npt matter what you do, although you are retired, you don’t retire your mind, you just keep going and genuinely enjoy whatever you are doing.
Emphasising the importance of family, Adams said their encouragement was essential in whatever you are pursuing and if you are going after your dreams.
In her case, it was her husband, Theo Adams, who kept encouraging her to go to England to study because it was difficult to enter the Hugh Wooding Law School.