An American teenager has become the youngest person in more than 600 years to become a qualified barrister in England and Wales.
At the age of just 18, Gabrielle Turnquest is not even old enough to buy an alcoholic drink in her home town of Windermere, Florida, but she has become the youngest person ever to pass The Bar exams.
The average lawyer passes the Bar Professional Training Course at the age of 27, but Gabrielle was called to The Bar last month through the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn after passing her Graduate Diploma in Law at the University of Law when she was just 17.
She doesn’t plan on using her success to work as a barrister in the UK and instead plans on returning to the states in the autumn to carry on study as she hopes to forge a career as a fashion law specialist.
To work in the UK, Gabrielle would have to carry out a pupillage at a chambers for a further year before being granted a tenancy. But she is also called to the Bahamas Bar, her parents’ place of birth, and hopes to work there.
She told the Daily Telegraph: ‘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 already made history at Liberty University in Virginia, where she became the youngest student to gain an undergraduate degree, in psychology, at the age of just 16.
Trainee lawyers did have to be at least 21 to be called to The Bar before a change in the law in 2009.
Now that she’s passed, Gabrielle is to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in a bid to break into the niche market of fashion law.
Gabrielle also hopes to sit the multi-state Bar in the US.
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.’
A big congrats to her and her dreams.