Tevera Franklin: Defying the odds to become an Attorney-at-Law

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She lost her father in the elementary stages of reading for a career law; seven years later she stood astutely in the presence of Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire where her petition to be admitted to the bar as an Attorney-at-Law was approved. Her name is Tevera Franklin.

American author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia once stated, “Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time… It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other.”

Franklin did just that; she built on the strength of a strong family to achieve her goal despite losing one of the pillars at a young age.

On November 30, 2011, her father, Everall Franklin, the leader of the Guyana Action Party (GAP) and Member of Parliament passed away. She was left to rely on her Therese McLeod, and sisters Tzaddi Franklin and Melinda Franklin-Lynch.

“It took a very long time for me to process his passing.

“For about a year, I felt as though he was on a business trip. However, there were times when I broke down. It didn’t affect my passion for the law but I must admit it did affect my other passion – music”, the young Attorney told News Room.

“When he first suffered a heart attack, he was taking me to violin classes. I remember him telling me that if anything happened to call for help.

Attorney Franklin taking the oath for admission to the bar

“That day, it happened and I was the only one in the car. I haven’t been to any music classes from then, although I still play occasionally at church.”

At her petition, close friends and family members were duly overjoyed.  Her mother’s eyes filled with tears but she kept her strength and composure.

“Fortunately, my Mom, my superhero, did everything in her power to support me. The only time I am sad is when I am not able to share these moments with him.

“I was never able to ask him about life, advice on relationships since at the time all I was interested in was school and my close friends”.

 Despite the loss, she contended that Dad would have had been ultimately proud.

“My father would have been so proud! He has always been pushing me to achieve my goals and was very invested in my education.

“I believe at this time I would have been severely spoiled. I believe he would say he expected nothing less than success.

“I only hope that I would be able to achieve half as much as he did throughout his life”.

Franklin’s remarkable story of what the gifts of having focus, discipline and belief in God can bring was outlined by attorney Abiola Wong-Inniss who read her petition.

Mrs. Wong-Inniss listed countless academic achievements and the extra circular activities. She plays the Violin, Steelpan and Piano and even tried her hand with volleyball.

The resounding accomplishments led Justice George-Wiltshire to conclude that “Franklin is industrious.” 

She charged Franklin to remain grounded and advised that her “journey has now begun.”

There were times when Franklin felt like giving up. This was mainly due to my fear of failure.

“However, I recognised the efforts that my family made to help me realise my goals. It would be a crime to waste an opportunity which so many deserving persons are unable to receive.”

Living by the motto of her high school; “Labor omnia vincit; (Hard work conquers all), she stated: “I am truly in love with law. I do not perceive myself working in any other area and I believe that the passion I have will enable me to achieve all the goals I set for myself. I am willing to learn from my peers and seniors to improve myself.”

Retired Caribbean Court of Justice Judge, Prof Duke Pollard, lectured Franklin in her first year at the University of Guyana. He instilled the basic principles of Law and Legal systems, which impacted how she views life.

“Justice Pollard has always instilled the importance of giving back to our country. I believe one can effect change in any capacity. However, I understand the responsibility and influence which comes with this profession.”

Tevera Franklin (centre) is flanked by Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire (left) and mother Therese McLeod (right) along with other relatives and members of the legal fraternity at the High Court after the admission to the bar

She also carries with her the words of Rudranath Maharaj, Probate Practice and Procedure lecturer: “Where a client refuses to take your advice, put it in writing and send it to him/her.”

She lives life-based on the Bible verse at Ecclesiastes 9:10 which states: ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

She had this charge for aspiring professionals: “Go for it! Do not let your family, teachers, parents or peers influence your choice. If you love it, there is a way to achieve it. Even if it is not achieved immediately, persevere.”

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