This article was featured in the Gleaner’s YouthLink.
It wasn’t a charade for Michelle Thomas when time approached for her to choose her career path. A spark had come to her, at a tender age, in a courtroom, leaving her vigorously enthused and steadfast. At the age of twenty-four, she has reached a milestone along the journey to her ultimate career goal, having been called to the Bar on December 8, 2015.
Youthlink (YL): Who is Michelle Thomas?
Michelle Thomas (MT): I’m a 24-year-old ‘dramatist’ who loves to make people laugh. I grew up in Colville Gardens, St Andrew, and attended St Andrew High School for Girls. I’m highly involved in character building and community activities. I play hockey as a member of St Andrew Hockey Club. Most recently, I’m a graduate of The Norman Manley Law School and currently the JCDC’s Festival Queen for Kingston and St Andrew.
YL: When did you know you wanted to study law and why?
MT: I knew this at age 10 when I accompanied my mom to court regarding a personal matter. I was captivated by how the lawyers stood and advocated for their clients. The level of confidence, the use of jargons, the whole happening was an inspiration. I interpreted being a lawyer as being a superhuman at that moment. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to become a lawyer at that point and she encouraged me to work hard.
YL: What was the journey to and through law school like?
MT: I became very strategic in my planning. I knew I had to excel academically. I began to pay keen attention to my studies during the primary level, and that got me to St Andrew High School for Girls. It came to me that in order to be an advocate of any sort, one must have a good grasp of the English grammar, and so I worked hard at attaining good grades in English language and literature in high school. In addition to working hard, I worked smart. I knew what I wanted to become and I knew the requirements for getting there. That requirement was primarily excellent grades and not subject-specific. Instead of choosing all the heavy reading courses in sixth form, I did business courses as I’m a business-oriented person. It was a means of giving my mind enough time to be relaxed to then take on the heavy reading when I got to university. My results earned me a reward to study at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. I was heavily involved on campus and I graduated with second-class honors. I matriculated to the Norman Manley Law School and served as the vice-president for the students’ association. I made two international representations for the school, also. The point was not to be an ordinary student but to leave my mark at these two institutions. All in all, I ended my studies on a superb note and I’m now employed at Usim Williams & Company law firm.