Former Journalist survives high-risk pregnancy to secure law degree


By Isanella Patoir

A young mother who survived a high-risk pregnancy during her final year at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, was on Friday admitted to the local bar.

In her final year at law school, 30-year-old Tifaine Rutherford realized she was pregnant and was diagnosed as hypertensive.

“Just as I entered Trinidad in my second year, I discovered I was pregnant and while I wanted to take a leave of absence, I decided to consult with my family and see if that was the best route for me.”

While she thought about giving up, she looked at her now four-month-old daughter for inspiration; she was also heavily supported by her husband, Dennis Adams.

“In the end, I decided that I was going to continue with the programme; that was something super hard and I got a lot of fight down from the school to write my exams, I actually wrote exams in August. Having high blood pressure too, I realized I had to push on because I didn’t want my daughter to see me as a failure,” Rutherford said.

Her petition to practice law in Guyana was presented to Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George-Wiltshire at the High Court by Attorney-at-law Latchmie Rahamat.

The Chief Justice told Rutherford that law is a profession that calls for lifelong learning, honesty, integrity and courtesy and encouraged her to be respectful so she can earn respect in the profession.

Tifaine Rutherford with her family at the High Court.

“The journey so far may have seemed tough, I can assure you it will get tougher. I urge you to put your best foot forward at all times and strive for excellence,” the Chief Justice said in her charge to Rutherford.

Rutherford’s early education was in Linden at the Watooka Primary School and then the Mckenzie High School.

She did her A-Levels at the St Stanislaus College and got her first degree in Sociology from the University of Guyana in 2010.

She then secured a place at the Faculty of Law at the university and got her Bachelor of Laws Degree in 2017.

In 2018 she started the Hugh Wooding Law School and was awarded the Legal Education Certificate this year on September 6.

“First of all this means everything, it wasn’t an easy journey, the road was very hard; sleepless nights and long hours. For me, the hardest part was being away from my family for the two years and having my daughter midway into my journey,” Rutherford said.

Working as a journalist at Stabroek News, Rutherford said it was while she was in the courtroom and saw how the attorneys would present their cases that she knew this is what she wanted to do.

She intends to practice criminal law.

“Since I was a little child I loved reading and my parents said that law is something that you would actually get into, I always used to like [arguing] with my brother and sister, so it was something I think that I always wanted to do.”

Her advice for others wanting to follow the profession is not to give up.

“It will be a lot of hard work but just keep going on, to me, it’s the hardest thing I ever had to do but just don’t give up.”

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