November 29, 2021

The Editor Speaks: It’s the season of graduations

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Colin Wilsonweb2

This Editorial is aimed mainly at graduates but I have tried to add some other ingredients to appeal to the masses of our iNews readers.

It is the beginning of Summer and school is out. For some pupils it is leaving one school and starting out at another as they go through the various term years to adult hood.

With others it is leaving school altogether and joining the adult world where employment and security is not guaranteed.

Then there are the top graduates who go on to extra learning to reach the top jobs and here in the Cayman Islands the two most attractive fields are banking and law.

I well remember leaving school and preparing myself for extra education and wanting to be an actor. Learning to act would be fun, or so I thought.

After less than a year I soon realised everyone was better at acting than I was. I didn’t know being an actor required one to dance and I had THREE LEFT FEET!

Then I appeared on the front page of an English tabloid newspaper that my parents read that showed me sitting next to a young lady at a party in London. I didn’t know the girl nor was introduced. I believe our close proximity was less than five minutes but it was enough for someone to take photographs of us.

Unfortunately for me this lady was the daughter of the Deputy Leader of the ruling Conservative Party and she was taking the in drug at the time – LSD.

Just a few days after this party she threw herself out of the upstairs window of the twelve story flat/apartment she was living in because LSD made her believe she could “fly”.

The photograph of her that was used by the tabloid newspaper was the one taken at the party I was at. The caption read “ ……. with unknown boyfriend”! I, according to the reporter was her lover.

My acting career was over before it had begun and I was hauled home by my parents in disgrace. I was not allowed to venture out to mix with the general public for weeks and pancakes were slid under my bedroom door for me to eat!! No one was allowed to see or speak to me.

When the dust finally settled I was back at school learning to be a Quantity/Building Surveyor. I used to practice plane table surveying as something to do during my school holidays and surveying was surveying, or so I thought. This branch of surveying I had joined had nothing to do with my surveying hobby.

However, I persevered at it and eventually qualified. But it was a slog and I never enjoyed it.

Times have changed, however, so my ritual to help graduates take more exams may not apply but I will tell you anyway. Mine was to listen intently to music. And in so doing I became an audiophile. I am still that today and if you ever come to my house you will have to manoeuvre yourself around all the many pieces of audio equipment I have in place so I can hear the perfect sound.

So what has this to do with graduation? Almost nothing, except to say after graduating it is very much a new beginning that will take you to places and to accomplish things you never thought you would do at school. I hope that makes you excited.

But I must give some real helpful advice to the graduates and no better place is to go to the LAW.COM website as I expect a lot of young people here will be studying for law exams. Even if not, the quirky rituals to help you study will equally apply:

LAW.COM asked prominent lawyers who made it through to the other side to share their quirky rituals or behaviours that helped them succeed.

Here’s what they said:

(Answers were edited for length and clarity.)

Peter Kalis, chairman, K&L Gates
I allowed my cat to sharpen his claws on my shins to divert my attention from the pain of studying the Rule Against Perpetuities. It didn’t work.

Elie Mystal, managing editor, Above the Law Redline
The night before every test in law school, I watched the final fight from “Rocky” to remind me that the point of an eight-hour exam was not to “beat” the test, but to simply “go the distance” with it. Before the bar (and the two practice exams I took), I watched the whole movie.

H. Rodgin Cohen, senior chairman, Sullivan & Cromwell
I took my dog for a long walk to relieve my stress (and hoped I didn’t transmit it).

Alanna Rutherford, partner, Boies, Schiller & Flexner
In high school, my French teacher told me that bananas, broccoli and bran were all brain food. So the night before, I made sure to eat broccoli at dinner and my breakfast the morning of the exam included both a bran muffin and a banana.

Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies, Cato Institute
I made sure to play beach volleyball on Lake Michigan after the morning prep class finished. That energized me to take practice tests later in the afternoon.

Amir Ali, associate, Jenner & Block
My oddest behavior was combining bar studying with an incessant need to find the best burrito in San Diego (where I studied). I ate burritos virtually every day—sometimes the breakfast form and the lunch form. When the competition was tight between two burrito shops, it was necessary to eat them head-to-head, for the same meal. I won’t say what burrito won, for fear of starting a war in San Diego.

Marcia Coyle, chief Washington correspondent, The National Law Journal and
I fed the ducks. We lived in downtown Annapolis at the time, and to clear my head each evening after work in D.C. and before studying, I walked down to the dock to feed the ducks. They were grateful and so was I.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law
I taught a class at the Northwestern debate institute until 5 o’clock the night before the bar and then after taking the bar exam went straight to teach a 7 o’clock class that night. My students gave me a T-shirt that night that I wore for years until it wore out.

Cristina Carvalho, managing partner, Arent Fox
I tried to get to the gym as much as possible as a way to burn some energy, relieve stress and refocus my mind, which was not always easy because I was working full-time while studying for the bar.

George Terwilliger III, partner, McGuireWoods
I went skiing for three days before the test to clear my head of bar review course clutter and put the challenge of the test in better life perspective.


It’s the season of graduations and leaving one journey – and it is also just the beginning of another one.

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