Attorney Rasheed Belgrave says opening his own law firm was about making sure his family was taken care of. (Picture by Christoff Griffith.)
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Rasheed Belgrave can be described as a risk taker . . . who is also an attorney, an avid footballer and a father of two boys – Aeron, 5; and Liam, 17 months.
His most recent risk was branching off into business by himself, after only being called to the Bar two years ago.
“When I first came out in 2016 I started at Inn Chambers under the likes of Alair Shepherd QC, Philip McWatt and Wendy Maraj. Earlier this year I thought it a good business decision to branch out on my own,” he said, speaking from his new office, Belgrave Chambers, in W.H Golden Plaza, Montrose, Christ Church.
“In the law world either you’re in chambers or you work for a firm. In a firm you earn a monthly salary, and in chambers you make your own way and pay rent. Business-wise things slowed down, so I thought it prudent to step out on my own,” he said, adding that operating under his own name had been beneficial to him as a young practising attorney.
Having completed his first two years of a first degree in tourism management at University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, and finishing at The Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management in Bahamas, he said when he returned home jobs weren’t readily available.
“Initially I thought sciences and studying law was for the nerds and the bright people at school. Tourism was the basis for me doing law. It put me in a position where I became interested in law after doing hospitality law, and I am happy thatI took the role.”
After returning home from Bahamas and over 100 job applications sent out, he was still unemployed for nine months. He took up an option to accept an internship at the British High Commission in England, which led to him staying there and pursuing a law degree.
“I had a drawer filled of rejection letters that I kept, just to show myself that it wasn’t for lack of trying. I decided that this wasn’t working out for me, and expressed to my dad, Ian, who lives in England what I wanted to do. He was onboard, and I did a three-year law degree. I did the Bar Council Training Programme and I am a qualified barrister in England,” he said proudly.
Rasheed returned home, noting that he came back home to build his name himself rather than off the reputation of a firm.
“I think finding work is more entrepreneurial, and I prefer to use my own energy to get results. I find being self-employed attractive.”
An avid footballer from his days as a youngster at Coleridge and Parry School in St Peter, Rasheed is now the president of the Wotton Football Club, from the same area where he grew up.
He has been playing football since the Banks Tournament convened on the Garrison Savannah, and has represented the country at the national level in the Under-17, Under-20 and Under-21 divisions.
However while admitting he was now a couple pounds heavier, and not as fit as he used to be, he said he would still suit up when necessary.
“Now I am transitioning into a management role so to speak. For the last year and some I have been club president and player/official. I don’t actively play right now, but if I have to fill in, whether it be short of men or they critically need a sub, I would get myself onto the field. Besides that I stick to limited playing time,” he said laughing.
And in spite of his hectic schedule he ensures he sets aside time to spend with his two boys . . . the apples of his eyes.
“Being a parent is a special role. It has its up and its downs, but I am the father of two lovely boys. They are very chatty,” he said smiling at both his sons, who were present.
Upon reflection, he said everything had been intertwined since the birth of his first son Aeron.
“It really put things into perspective in terms of how hard I have to push. At the end of the day I can’t let my children suffer. Starting my own law firm wasn’t just a business decision, but it was a part of personal development and looking out for the boys as well. I am trying to build a name for myself to carry on a legacy for them,” he said.
The Wotton, Christ Church resident is a close-knit community man, who strongly believes it takes a village to raise a child, but noted people in the community now seemed to only trust their inner circle.
“In recent times most parents are more careful in sending their children anywhere, moreso because of some of the events that have taken place. I think it is more family now than the village; it is more aunty and uncle and cousins rather than Miss Joe down the road.
“For me personally as a community person, everybody knows who my boys are, so I feel a certain level of comfort if my older son runs off with the other children and I don’t see him for a couple hours. I don’t hit the panic button, because I know in some way, form or fashion if he’s doing nonsense someone will haul him up,” he said, as Aeron asked his dad why he was “telling out his business”. (RA)