American student Gabrielle Turnquest was called to the Bar of England and Wales after passing her exams at just 18. She became the youngest person to qualify as a barrister in the 600 year history of the profession
The average lawyer undertakes the Bar Professional Training Course when they are 27. However, the young high-flyer will not go on to work in the UK as she wants to return to her native America to qualify as a lawyer there. But her success means she is also called to the Bahamas Bar, the country of her parents, and she hopes to work there.
Gabrielle took the course, at the University of Law, along with her sister Kandi, who also passed her exams but at the ripe old age of 22. The teenager, who is originally from Windermere, Florida, hopes eventually to be a fashion law specialist.
She said: “I am honoured to be the youngest person to pass the Bar exams but, really, I was not aware at the time what the average age was. “I didn’t fully realise the impact of it.”
Gabrielle has already made history at her previous university, Liberty University in Virginia, where she was the youngest person to finish an undergraduate degree there, in psychology, at the age of 16.
If the youngster wanted to work as a barrister in the UK she would still have to carry out a pupillage at a chambers for at least a year and then be granted a tenancy.
Traditionally, a trainee lawyer had to be 21 to be eligible for the call to The Bar but that was scrapped in 2009 with the introduction of the Bar Training Regulations. Nigel Savage, President and Provost at The University of Law, said: "The growing globalisation of law firms and the need for more international expertise means that it is becoming increasingly more important for young legal professionals to have experience across different legal markets if they are going to maximise the number of job opportunities that are available to them.”