Mikia S. Cooper – Faces of the Industry

July 8, 2014


Introductory Snapshot
Mikia S. Cooper of Halsbury Law Chambers
NAME: Mikia S. Cooper
INDUSTRY POSITION: Associate, Halsbury Chambers (Corporate/Commercial/Litigation/Family Law)
EDUCATION & TRAINING: BA Computer Information Services & LLB
CAREER: Attorney-at-Law



What attracted you to the sector?

When I tell persons that my first Bachelors Degree is in Computer Information Systems and that I am an Attorney, they say that is strange. While I studied CIS at The College of The Bahamas I worked as a Legal Assistant and one of my lecturers who taught Computer Networking and Security always encouraged me to study law and incorporate the two. During my studies it was also a requirement to read and understand the Computer Misuse Act. Additionally, I also incorporated my computer skills; for example, creating programs to manage the files. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience in various areas of the law including Corporate, Commercial, Family and Litigation and I grew to love it. I enjoy assisting clients. Further, I also have a lot of family members who are Attorneys, and to whom I look up as role models. I enjoy the work, traveling to the conferences and, generally, meeting people within the sector.

How long have you been involved in financial services? What keeps you motivated?

I have been involved in financial services for several years. I worked at an offshore company as a Client Relationship Officer for about eight (8) months. There I was responsible for hundreds of International Business Companies, some Companies Act Companies and a few Foundations. As a legal assistant at Halsbury Chambers, I assisted the Corporate Attorneys with their Corporate Files. Now as an Attorney, I have the responsibility of managing the Corporate Department, a role I took on from May, 2013. Meeting new persons in the sector and attending conferences within The Bahamas and abroad also keeps me motivated.

Why do you think you have been successful?

I am still striving to reach my goals. I do believe, however, that my determination, efficiency and hard work all contributed to my success thus far. In addition to that, my father made my siblings and I, from early childhood, prepare a list of short term and long term goals at the end of each year. Further, my farther always reiterated Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” As a young girl I did not fully understand the purpose of those sessions, but today I do. I find myself writing down my short term and long term goals and I try my best to succeed in them. Another reason why I believe that I am successful is because of the positive feedback I receive from others, like “I know you will do well”. Even the negative comments from others assisted me to become successful, because I turn the negative comments into positive energy and use them as a motivating force.

Did mentoring play a part in your success?

Mentoring is very important, especially when a young professional is just starting a new career. I gained a lot of experience from working as a Client Relationship Officer and also as a Legal Assistant, but that did not mean that I knew everything. During my internship at Halsbury Chambers, I also learned a lot from the Corporate Attorney. During my pupilage I did not have a mentor within the firm, but I would also conduct research, read the Acts or sometimes call a friend that had years of experience for guidance if I was not sure about a particular matter. Additionally, I keep an open mind and I am still learning as my career grows.

What qualifications do you feel are the most useful in helping you perform in the sector?

My Law Degree assists me to perform in the sector as everyone in financial services needs to understand the law related to this industry. Additionally, my BA in Computer Information Systems assists me with being more efficient. Lastly, my participation in Toastmasters and being elected Vice President Membership 2013/2014 and now Vice President Education 2014/2015 serve to enhance my communication, organization, and leadership skills. Of course, I believe that there is always room for improvement.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career and or industry? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge after being called to the Bar was not having a mentor in the office involved with Corporate Services but, as already mentioned, I overcame that by reading more, conducting research and calling on friends when necessary.

What advice would you give young people just starting out in the industry?

I would encourage the young people to attend educational sessions, conferences and familiarise themselves with all relevant industry legislation. Read industry magazines to keep abreast of the activities in The Bahamas and around the world. Additionally, I would also recommend that if they do not have a mentor within the company to reach out to an experienced person for assistance.


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