Written by Ebenezer Narh
With over 36 years of experience as a legal practitioner, Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng is a seasoned professional specialising in criminal and human rights law. Starting her law practice as a Barrister in 1982 and became the Head of Chambers in 1984. She served as an assistant Boundary Commissioner for the Boundary Commission for England and Wales. She chaired the ‘Review of Councillors’ Remunerations’ in the Borough of Waltham Forest. She was appointed a part-time Tribunal Judge in 2004.
Charlotte continues to share her knowledge and expertise with the younger generation of Ghanaians, enabling many to enter the Bar of England and Wales by offering them the opportunity to train as Barristers in her Chambers at 12 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn.
Yearning to find out more about her motivations and life following the receipt of the GUBA Professional of the Year Award, we caught up with Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng.
How does it feel to be the recipient of the GUBA 2018 Professional of the Year Award?
The feeling is overwhelming! There are many excellent Ghanaian professionals in the UK and to be recognised as one is in itself an achievement. To be a winner of the GUBA 2018 Professional of the Year Award means my countrymen/women and fellow professionals recognise my professionalism. I came to this country several decades ago and seized the opportunity to qualify as a barrister. I took the bold decision to run my own Chambers in the middle of Lincoln’s Inn surrounded by a sea of all white Chambers. The award encapsulates everything I have worked for over decades.
How would you use being the recipient of this award to influence others and how would it impact your career?
It feels very exciting and exhilarating to win the GUBA 2018 Professional of the Year Award. I hope that winning such a prestigious award would surely encourage other professionals to aspire to work harder to receive equal recognition from their peers and their country of origin. The value of being a winner speaks for itself; that you are counted as one of the best in your profession. The legal profession in my experience is market based. Most people have difficulties deciding on an appropriate lawyer and law firms to choose from, knowing that I am winner of a professional award is likely to gain their confidence.
What motivates or keeps you going?
As a lawyer, to be busy is a great motivator. One gets the buzz in facing new challenges. Having support from a significant number of Ghanaian lawyers, particularly Mr Bernard Owusu among others, is a great feeling of support and loyalty. You always want to do a good job in order not to let your well-wishers down.
Is there any advice you would like to share with people who admire you or look up to you as a role-model?
My advice to young people is that if they are able to keep to these tenets, then success would not be far from them. The first one is hard work: They should learn to burn the midnight oil. As the saying goes, “hard work conquers all”. Second is Tenacity: They have to have an attitude of getting up each time they fall, brush of the dust and move on. And finally, God: Without the assistance of the divine being, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. These have been the central tenets of my credo and I am sure they are worth emulating.
What are your impressions of the GUBA Awards?
The GUBA Awards brought a lot of famous Ghanaian names together. Such gathering is rare in the UK. It is very encouraging to all. A lot of people came to me saying “Oh you are Miss Boaitey, I have heard a lot about you. I am very pleased to meet you”. Quite a number of young people came to me to ask how they could enter the legal profession. It made me feel very Ghanaian and very valued.
What should we look forward to from you in the coming years?
I am going to undertake more Ghanaian casework. I intend to visit Ghana more often than 1 have been in the past. I will attend Ghanaian functions in the UK, and shall intensify my efforts to encourage more young Ghanaians to enter the legal profession.