'I feel like I won my first Supreme Court case'

'I feel like I won my first Supreme Court case'

Jamaican law student Chevant Hamilton wins the IPCA's Essay Competition

teenAGE writer

Monday, November 16, 2020

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Exuding sheer intellect, piercing passion and tenacity, Norman Manley Law School student Chevant Hamilton is already impacting the nation, with hopes of changing the world.

As we engage this pandemic, for many of us, the last thing on our minds would be a competition. However, the ardent legal savant decided to compete in the Intellectual Property Caribbean Association's (IPCA) essay competition – and he won!

“I decided to enter the essay competition because I was inherently interested in intellectual property [IP] law,” Hamilton told the Jamaica Observer. “I also wanted to enter a competition at the law school. Receiving the congratulations from well-wishers, family and friends made me feel as if I had won my first case in the Supreme Court. It was a very exhilarating feeling.”

The IPCA was established to create a platform where legal practitioners could develop greater communication and collaboration on intellectual property matters within the Caribbean region.

Now in its third year, the competition is open to law students, articled clerks, trainee lawyers, and newly qualified lawyers from all Caribbean territories. This year's topic was 'The role of IP in the creative sector in the Caribbean with a focus on the laws of copyright'.

“Most of what I had written was done by independent research on the topic and relevant legislation and interviews, as well as a perspective from hands-on experience with copyright law matters,” Hamilton said of his winning essay. “In preparing for the competition, I had compiled months of research on the topic and articles written on copyright law.”

While preparing his paper, the student was also inspired by remarks made in Parliament by new Opposition Leader Mark Golding whose contribution in a speech in Parliament regarding copyright protection proved very beneficial to the completion of his essay, Hamilton said.

“He pointed out the importance of the legal architecture in encouraging creative investment in the country, as well as the fact that the copyright law would offer protection and extend to authors of literary works, dramatic creations, to name a few. I am passionate about nation-building and policy development of the country, so this speech by Golding was fitting for my essay.”

Hamilton's legal tutelage started at the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) from which he graduated in 2018. Thereafter, he enrolled at the Norman Manley Law School, where he learnt about the competition in his first year.

Hamilton's penchant for intellectual property is also attributable to first-hand exposure to IP-related matters, from his internship at Samuda & Johnson, attorneys-at-law. He has been with the firm since 2019 and was able to work on several matters related to, but not limited to, that area of law.

“While under the guidance of Christopher Samuda, I have been blessed with a lot of experience and insight on intellectual property and commercial matters,” he said. “However, while I worked on these IP matters, it dawned upon me that there is a need for legislative reform and regulation of the Caribbean's intellectual property. It is my desire to be able to create such reform and develop more robust policies that will equip the region with the legislative fortitude in this area of law.”

Winning the competition was the icing on the cake for the scholar, as he received the good news soon after he was confirmed successful in his year one bar examinations. Not only was he able to cop this prestigious accolade and successfully complete his exams, but he did it while balancing various involvements in school. He currently serves as co-chairperson for the Norman Manley Lecture Series Committee, deputy chairperson in charge of clubs and societies at the Norman Manley Law School Students' Association, and tutorial and seminar representative.

He pushes himself and those around him to be their best selves and pursue excellence. One of his philosophies which was adopted from Christopher Samuda is:

“There may be disappointments, but never failure…We never accept failure.”

In addition to intellectual property, Hamilton is also interested in taxation law, regulation and compliance, civil and commercial litigation, and he wishes to meaningfully engage with them in his practice upon qualifying as an attorney-at-law.

“To those interested in making an impact, just do it,” he encourages. “The pen is mightier than the sword and that is especially so in the case of law students. If you feel strongly about advocating on certain areas of law or issues within society, one way is to write and spark a conversation on the issue and then take steps to achieve the best possible outcome.”

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