Youngest-ever barrister Gabrielle Turnquest. How old? She was able to buy a pint just this year.

Youngest-ever barrister Gabrielle Turnquest. How old? She was able to buy a pint just this year.

We just got the news that an 18-year-old is about to become a barrister, the youngest ever. And what did you do this week?

As the story goes, U.S. citizen Gabrielle Turnquest, 18, will become “the youngest person in the history of the English and Welsh legal system to be called to The Bar after passing The Bar Professional Training Course.” Her achievement was formally recognized at a London ceremony yesterday, July 30.

More on that in a bit. But one element that caught my eye was the future she spies for herself. As the university reported, “She is returning to the USA this fall to continue studying towards fulfilling her aspiration of forging a career as a fashion law specialist.”

A fashion law specialist! Though the whole 18-year-old thing is amazing enough, I find Gabrielle’s aspirations pretty enchanting. Don’t we all think there are plenty of (you name the practice niche) lawyers practicing already? Do we need another to tout that traditional practice as a faux goal?

How many new lawyers try to convince themselves that they have a passion—PASSION!—for discovery and document review, or parking-structure zoning, or some other category that may make a fine living but that likely does not stir the blood?

(Before I get angry missives from attorneys who do exactly those things, let me make clear: Those are wonderful practice areas. But did you really (really?) imagine way back on your first day of law school that you would spend your life billing all those hours for your fertilizer and feed practice? Methinks not.)

And fashion law may not be a pie-in-the-sky dream. One of my favorite new blogs to relish is titled The Fashion Law. It is written by Julie Zerbo, who describes the blog as “one of the leading authoritative sources dedicated to the field of fashion law and the business of fashion. It also serves as a showcase of emerging and established design talent.”

If you are interested in who’s suing whom in the fashion world (and more), The Fashion Law may be the leading authoritative source.

It’s a marvelous mashup of many areas of law we all took in law school, plus a little Project Runway and What Not To Wear—which is exactly the wonderful career I wish for Ms. Turnquest.

Fashion Law Blog 3

That’s right: Fashion and law

She is graduating from The University of Law, of which I was not familiar. The university is a relative legal newcomer. As it describes itself:

“The University of Law is the largest provider of professional legal education and training in Europe with centres in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Guildford, Manchester and York. Previously The College of Law, we were granted university title in November 2012.”

More information about the university is here.

And here is the university’s press release:

A University of Law graduate is to become the youngest person in the history of the English and Welsh legal system to pass The Bar exams at just 18 years of age. Gabrielle Turnquest will be called to The Bar of England and Wales through the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn on July 30, 2013, the youngest person in the Bar’s more than 600 year history to do so as a graduate.

Gabrielle, who is from Windermere, Florida, undertook The University of Law’s Bar Professional Training Course following passing the Graduate Diploma in Law when she was 17 years old. She is returning to the USA this fall to continue studying towards fulfilling her aspiration of forging a career as a fashion law specialist.

Historically, a trainee lawyer had to be 21 years old to be eligible for the call to The Bar but this was removed in 2009 when the Consolidated Regulations of the Four Inns of Court were replaced by the Bar Training Regulations.  The average age of a student graduating from the BPTC course is 27*. Gabrielle has already made history at her previous University, Liberty University in Virginia, where she became the youngest person to be conferred an undergraduate degree at that institution having completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the age of 16.

Under The University of Law’s Bar training programs, overseas students can undertake training at its centres that is internationally relevant, helping them to gain an international perspective and qualify for other countries’ Bar and solicitor training requirements.

Gabrielle will also be called to the Bahamas Bar, the country of her parental heritage.  She will then return to the USA and attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to pursue a programme in Apparel Industry Management.  This will equip her with the necessary skills needed to venture into the niche market of fashion law.  Alongside this course she will also prepare and sit the multi state Bar in the USA.

Gabrielle Turnquest said: “I am honoured to be the youngest graduate student to pass the Bar exams in England and Wales and grateful to The University of Law for helping me achieve this milestone. Studying at the University of Law has broadened my horizons and introduced me to a global legal system that will help me in my future career in the international fashion industry.”

Nigel Savage, President and Provost at The University of Law, said: “Like Gabrielle, students from across the globe are recognising the importance of having a legal qualification that is widely recognised in other legal jurisdictions. 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.”

Globally the legal services market is thriving and is expected to increase to $751bn (£480bn) over the next three years, which represents an annual average growth rate of 5% between now and 2015**.  Over half of the revenue of the largest 100 law firms in the UK is now being generated by international law firms based in London putting the UK firmly on the map as a global legal hub and also opening up greater opportunities for UK law firms operating overseas.