Abhimanyu Dev – one of the youngest ever admitted to the Bar

Abhi Dev
Abhi Dev

At the age of 21, Abhimanyu “Abhi” Dev is one of the youngest persons to get admitted to the Bar of Guyana and according to him, he did not achieve this on his own.

Dev’s petition was presented by Attorney-at-Law Devindra Kissoon and accepted by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George at the High Court on Wednesday afternoon.

From a young age, Dev has been an academic overachiever – skipping Grades One and Two and starting his primary education in Grade Three at the tender age of five.

This was after the Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Regional Education Department conducted an examination and given his outstanding performance, he was accepted at the Leonora Primary School in Grade Three.

This excellence has become a hallmark of Dev’s academics. Throughout his primary education, he become a motivational public speaker, self-taught chess player and avid cricketer – all while remaining on top of his studies and also managing the responsibility of head prefect at his school.

When he wrote the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) in 2009, Dev copped the fourth spot in the country’s top ten. He was nine years old at the time and started Queens College as one of their youngest students.

Dev went onto write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination at the age of 14, securing passes in 17 subjects before moving onto the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE), at which he obtained eight units at 16-years old.

Around the same time, he entered the University of Guyana’s Law Programme. He passed his LLB with distinction at age 19 and subsequently proceeded to the Hugh Wooding Law School, where he received his Legal Education Certificate (LEC).

After graduating from HWLS and upon his return to Guyana, Dev joined the law firm London Chambers headed by Attorney Kissoon where he has been – being the overachiever he is – preparing the groundwork for his legal practice in the courtroom.

In his introduction of Dev to Chief Justice Roxanne George, Kissoon revealed that even while he was clerking in his office as a student, Abhi did most of the work on two of the groundbreaking recent cases – the deregulation of the telecommunications sector and the power of the President to appoint Senior Counsel.

While the firm is specialised mostly in corporate law, Dev told this publication that his interest extends beyond that in the areas of constitutional law, public law, administrative law, contract and property law as well.

“Many people have different reason’s for doing law, whether moral, financial but for me, law is such an incredible thing that brings everybody together in a way, so that’s the future I envision myself in with this profession,” Dev expressed.

Reflecting on his achievements, Dev explained that while he is used to being the youngest in whatever he does.

“For along time I’ve been used to being the youngest of what I do but I’ve grown to realize that, it’s not really that consequential in the grand scheme of things. What really matters is to be surrounded by people who, at the same time, share your goals and values, and you’re able to work alongside them.”

The young man stated in his earlier years of studies, there was some level of pressure but with the help of his friends and family, he was able to cope.

“There is some pressure but I don’t think it’s generally different from what everybody else faces, because all of us want to succeed, all of us want to make everybody proud, and at a certain time you get babied a bit but other than that, it’s not that much added pressure.”

“Most of my friends pretty much allowed me to feel just like them, we were all studying the same thing, and it never really came up much except for a conversation piece.”

Abhimanyu “Abhi” Dev and his family members with Chief Justice George following his Bar admission at the High Court on Wednesday

Being the son of a former Member of Parliament, Ravi Dev, and brother of another one of the country’s top academic performer, Dr Anuradha Dev, who is now a Resident at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), the 21-year-old lawyer said his family has been the driving force, inspiration and motivation for his success thus far.

“Generally, those three people (his father, mother and sister)… they are pretty much my driving force and my inspiration, and my motivation.”

“My dad, he always strove for academic excellence and he instilled that in both my sister and I at a young age, and my sister also achieved incredible things so, following in their footsteps, yes it was pressure when I was younger, but it just made me appreciate their influence on me even more, because I had a blueprint for me to follow,” the new lawyer explained.

The young lawyer’s advice for students embarking on their legal studies is for them to build a support system. He pointed out that while law is a competitive profession, it is important to form alliances with peers in order to get varied perspectives.

“Law is one of the professions where you’re against somebody and because of that, people feel you’re supported to do it by yourself because it’s a very competitive field. But that’s not true. I learned very early on that you’re supposed to have people on your side, you’re supposed to work with people and it’s a type of area where you’re supposed to get everybody’s perspective on things. So, my advice to anybody, young or old, would be not to close yourself out to different perspectives and to always have somebody by your side.”