Young Jamaican Attorney Now Licensed to Practice Law in 6 Caribbean Islands

“A dreamer who dares to take risks; tenacious, caring and loyal,” meet 32-year-old Rushaine Cunningham, past Jamaica Energy Partners Group scholarship recipient and Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practise in six Caribbean islands. But how did the young counsel attain this level of success at his age?

Native to the most rapidly growing parish, St Catherine, Rushaine admitted that his upbringing was not of riches, but his parents sacrificed everything to provide all he needed.

“My dad was a factory worker until his retirement, and my mom was a seamstress who worked from home. I am my parent’s only child, and we lived in a one-bedroom board structure with a zinc roof, creaking floors and peeping holes through the four corners.” – Rushaine shared.

Despite hardship, his childhood was a happy one, where relatives and family friends always surrounded him. Furthermore, education was a significant factor in his family.

“From a young age, I also had a very inquisitive mind, and I remember being fearless towards my teachers at pre-school, but any threat of calling my mother would cause me to fall in line because she was the only one I feared,” Rushaine reminisced.

His inquisitive nature paid off when he got to St Catherine Primary School and was the impetus to secure a spot on the school’s debating team in grade four as the youngest member. By the end of grade four, young Cunningham was thriving as a debater and topped his class.

“After that, there was no stopping me; that experience ignited a spark, and I became a big dreamer. I also learned about Campion College in grade four when attending the National Prep and Primary School Debate Competition finals, and I knew that is where I was going to high school,” Cunningham said.

After completing the GSAT, he passed for Campion College and earned ‘top performer’ for St Catherine Primary School. At that moment, JEP entered his life, becoming his corporate sponsor throughout his schooling at Campion and up to Norman Manley Law School.

“In sixth form at Campion College, my desire by then to become an Attorney-at-Law had long been solidified and was in great part influenced by my passion for effecting changes in policies, which I believe underpinned many of the systems of governance and which trickled down into the private sector to affect the livelihood of people generally.” – Rushaine explained.

“Being a lawyer would give me the best opportunity for the greatest impact. At 19 years old, while preparing for my final CAPE exams, I remember having an epiphany of the grand idea that I would own and operate an international law firm across the Caribbean in multiple jurisdictions. By this time, my family and I were living in Kingston, and I remember running out of my bedroom to my mom, who was in the laundry room, and I shared the grand idea with her. Her only response was, if that is what you want, go for it! That was the birth of this current dream which I have intentionally been chasing since first being admitted to the Jamaican Bar in December 2015.” – he continued.

During this journey down memory lane, Cunningham also recalled JEP being “truly a godsend” while he was concerned about chasing his dreams of attending Campion College and becoming a lawyer.

“In 2003, JEP stepped in with an initial five-year scholarship for me to attend high school. In 2008, by the time I finished my CSEC examinations in fifth form, obtaining nine subjects (7 grade ones and 2 grade twos), JEP stepped up to the plate again and offered to extend my sponsorship for the two-year sixth form programme at Campion College,” Rushaine said.

At the end of sixth form, he immediately matriculated to the Faculty of Law, UWI Mona, but was still determining how to cover the US$10,000 tuition. That year, JEP re-awarded his sponsorship, covering approximately 25% of the amount.

“JEP continued their sponsorship until the end of my law degree, and by the time I got to Norman Manley Law School, like a faithful guardian angel, JEP contacted me once more to say they wished to assist with Norman Manley. Over the years, JEP has become a trusted friend, and I benefited from their sponsorship for 12 years, from 2003-2015. I remain grateful and indebted for their generosity and role in getting me to where I am today,” Rushaine beamed.

Presently, Rushaine Cunningham is an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law in Jamaica, St Lucia, Monserrat, Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis and recently Grenada. His private legal practice is in Antigua & Barbuda, specialising in real estate, employment law, estate planning and civil & commercial court matters.

“My initial job hunt after being called to the bar was a bit tedious,” he disclosed.

“However, soon after, I received gainful employment and was attached to the Chambers of Mrs. Jacqueline Samuels-Brown KC, who remains one of my mentors. I collaborated with her until I moved to the Eastern Caribbean in 2016,” Rushaine added.

When asked why he opened his law firm in Antigua & Barbuda instead of Jamaica, Rushaine revealed that he initially moved to Antigua to accept a two-year job offer.

“Near the end of those two years, I was headhunted to take up a position with a regional Law Firm looking to enter the Antiguan market and which was about to undergo a merger with an International Law Firm. After staying with that International Firm for 2.5 years and working on matters across the region, it solidified for me what was my vision from high school to manage my own pan-Caribbean Law Firm.” – he recollected.

Establishing his legal practice in Antigua has given him the advantage of being centrally located geographically to service an extensive cross-section of the Caribbean, securing corporate clients who operate their businesses across the region.

Of course, with his success came challenges, but Rushaine is grateful for his spiritual upbringing, which has allowed him to find comfort in prayer.

He is currently pursuing his LLM (Master of Laws) in International Commercial Law and focusing on the growth and expansion of his business. His greatest accomplishment to date is making his parents proud and continuing to do that daily.

“These things bring me joy and fulfilment,” – Cunningham concluded.

Since 1995, JEP has transformed the lives of several youngsters through academic advancement, skills training, and mentorship. Now recognised as the Jamaica Energy Partners Group, which includes Jamaica Energy Partners/Doctor Bird Power Station, West Kingston Power Partners, and Jamaica Private Power Company, the leading private power-producing entity, has empowered over 2,000 students. Today, the Group continues to implement sustainable programmes to develop the youth/human capital surrounding its operations.

JEP Group scholarship applications are available here: Scholarship | Jamaica Energy Partners (

The deadline to apply is August 11, 2023.


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