Pitcairn tackling employment

| 15/07/2009

(CNS): Former Bodden Town election candidate, Theresa Lewis-Pitcairn, says she intends to see through some of her campaign promises despite the fact that she was not elected to the Legislative Assembly. Concerned that Caymanians in her district are not only unemployed because of the decline in jobs but because they are hitting up against numerous barriers in their search for work, she has committed to getting involved in the process. She said she wanted to know where the problems and barriers were and when she found them she would do her best to expose them.

During a specially convened unemployment forum at the Bodden Town Civic Centre on Monday evening, Pitcairn collected the names and details of people looking for work and told them that this was not a case of “Theresa finding people a job” but a concerted effort to work together to find out the main problems that seemed to be preventing them from finding work and discussed how they could be tackled. She noted that, while barriers were thrown up by others, as Caymanians they had to tackle their own barriers as well.

She spoke about notfeeling inferior and recognising that they deserved a job, but she also said people had to be honest about their work ethic and she said they had to turn up on time every day and they could not expect bosses to accept the excuses about taking kids to school or other issues. She said it was time for Caymanians to stop being passive and to take action.

Pitcairn said her focus would be on getting down to the root of the problem and tackling some of the complaints made by Caymanians time and time again when looking for work. These included being told by employers when they apply for a post that there is no point because the vacancy is already taken by a work permit holder – despite the fact that this is illegal.

One member of the audience noted that the problem was that immigration generated so much revenue from work permits that they were reluctant to enforce the law and that major employers were able to manipulate the boards by threatening to take their business away from the island.

Another person pointed out that wages were being driven down and skilled Caymanian workers, such as carpenters, were being offered wages well below their value, but if as Caymanian workers they refused to work for the low rates they were seen as trouble makers.

Theresa said she was very concerned about that and noted employers were “importing poverty” by driving down wages through the use of overseas labour from developing countries. Pitcairn said she did not blame the workers but the employers. These, she said, are often Caymanian or foreign employers being fronted by Caymanians who do not take any interest in the businesses they are supposed to be involved with.

However, she pointed out that her fellow election candidate for George Town, Walling Whittaker, was also tackling the problem of low rates in the construction sector and trying to put together an organisation of workers. Pitcairn shied away from using the word unions as she said people saw that as a “dirty word”, but she said developed countries had formed them for good reason to protect wages and employment conditions.

The former Bodden Town candidate, however, promised that she would be following through with the people in the roomwho were applying for work and finding out if the Department of Employment Relations (DER), the Immigration Department and the Work Permit and Staging Plan boards were doing their job to protect and help local workers. She said it was her intention to expose where the process was going wrong.

“When immigration and the DER can’t tell us why we can’t get the jobs, we have to find out why,” she said. “It is not business as usual; we cannot sit back anymore; we must get to the bottom of this.”

Pitcairn also introduced the audience to Matthew Lesley, a young Caymanian who has a number of business interests in the security arena who said that he does pay his guards a living wage and had vacancies. But he lamented some of the problems he has had with Caymanian workers though, on the other hand, many of his local guards were the best he had. He said anyone with the right attitude to work could make a good living working for him, and he asked people to let him know if they were interested but that he didn’t want people who would disappear after getting their first cheque.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Funny enough, I know of two people who have gotten permanent residency very recently and neither of them had ever done any charity work or owned any property in Cayman, and they do not have any ties to Cayman whatsoever. ….and no, they do not have any skills that nobody else on this island has. However, at least on of them had goodconnections……..Frankly, it baffled my mind.

    Question? Who is it who sits on the permanent resident and work permit board? Aren’t all of these people Caymanians????? Perhaps you should get them sorted and ensure that they are looking out for the betterment of the ENTIRE island and not just for the benefit of a few…Stop blaming everything on the Expats and start sweeping outside your own front door first I say…..


    • Twyla M Vargas says:

      FUNNY enough, I wish we could.

      The brooms we buy is too darn short, not made for Cayman.  Get the drift.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians can’t even get "volunteer" jobs, Twyla?  How and when did that happen?

    • Twyla M Vargas says:

      MY GOODNESS !!!!!!

      You really tell me that after reading all of that long comment  of mine , you could not find something good to comment on.  "Read it again"  and be honest with yourself,.   My goodness what a tangle web we weave.   That even our very own selves we try to deceive.  Walk good  you are loved.

  3. Anonymous says:

     If its 20,24 29 it is still too much Caymanians should not be out of work?

  4. Anonymous says:

     Jobs for Caymanians Hahahahaha 30,000 work permits Caymanians being let go Dey ain’t no J O B  they can’t even get jobs to pick mangoes and breadfruits and cutting lawns. Now they are going to give permanent residence to further disfranchise Caymanians

    • Anonymous says:

      There are not 30,000 permits in issue. At its highest last November it was 27,500. It has since declined to just over 24,000.


      • Anonymous says:

        Perhaps reference was intended to approx 30K expats working here – because in addition to 25 K permit holders are persons with PR, spouses of PR holders, Govt. employees and the like.  All are expates competing with Caymanians for jobs.

    • Twyla M Vargas says:


      Now they are going to give permanent residence to further disfranchise Caymanians?????

      I hate to believe that, further more do you think the Leader of Governemnt Business will allow this to happen twice.  No way!!!!  Everyone can make a mistake, even the Police.  Didn,t you hear them say so?

      All of those who think that they will get permanent residence to get on the payroll of Children and family service, they had better think again.  I do hope Mr Ezzard Miller  (The best vote a man ever made in Cayman) tear that place apart, because there are so many drug addicts and able bodied expatriates on that list through out the Island it is frightening.   The Government does not know what is going on.  That place need a shake down from the top to the bottom.   We the people know. 

      The further granting of permanent Residence is necessary, yes but TO WHO?.  Caymanians are absolutely fed up, every year, cant get our children in Public Primary Schools, cant get cinico Cards, can,t get welfare for the elderly and the needed, last in line at every blasted counter,  cant get in the sea to catch a fish, no crabs,  no mangoes, no plums,  cant even get the chance for a partime or volunteer job, and you really think that McKeva Bush will allow this to continue to happen?   Hell no,  I dont think so.  Whatever residence he hands out I am sure will benefit Cayman some how or the other.  You just watch and see.  Once bitten  and twice shy.

  5. Bi Curious says:

    How many times do people have to post that there is no such thing as a "bi-election" before posters take heed?  It is a bye-election.  (Unless the posters are intimating allegations about the personal proclivities of the candidates, but I don’t think Cayman is ready for that leap into the 20th Century yet.  And before anyone without a clue posts, I meant 20th Century). 

    • Anonymous says:

      "And before anyone without a clue posts, I meant 20th Century)". 

      Could easily have substituting "regressing to the Roman Empire in decline".  

  6. annoymous says:

    The question is who is advocating for a Caymanian to get the job?

    You see when a work permit is submitted and the board refuses this the employer calls up his friends in the political arena or immigration and challenges why this was refused etc. or demands that he needs this person etc. and whola the work permit gets approved.  Then who is advocating for the Caymanians who possibly applied for that job?  The board is only hearing from the side of the employer who applied for the work permit.  The Caymanian who applied for that job is silent because there is no one advocating for them.  The person who would have advocated for them originally (namely the DER representative) which caused it to be denied in the first instance does not hear about the appeal!! 

    This is how it works people, once the original hearing is bypassed to the behind the scenes there is no way that the DER can fight for that Caymanian against that work permit being granted.  This should not be happening.  IF a work permit is refused with justifiable reason(s) it should have to go back through the process again and heard again in the presence of the DER.  WHy? because the DER knows who is unemployed, and they can advocate for the unemployed Caymanian.  So when we are trying to find out why this is happening, first check and see how many were granted after they were refused? The numbers are staggering!!!  I know first hand, and believe me you don’t want to know who done it either!!

    Thanks CNS.

  7. Mike T Barrel says:

    Sounds like crass self-publicity from someone whose first chosen career was going nowhere.

  8. Anonymous says:

    YOU TELL EM TWYLA….No matter what you speak it like it is and I respect that about you hun!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    No, we were told a lawsuit was forthcoming and we need to see an intelligent Caymanian keep their word for once. It’s not about her having enough – it’s about her doing what she said instead of prepping for a by-election.

    Nuff said!

    Also, was this a UDP sponsored event? I think so!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry, she’s handlin’ her personal business.  For the people that can’t write anything positive or supportive take a note of this…Theresa is reaching out to her Community and fulfilling her promise to the BT people.   I’m sure that all those who promised her a vote and last minute changed their minds because they were easily bought out must be saying, "Boy I made a hugh mistake!" ’cause clearly this Lady knows how to be a Leader.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Come on peeps Theresa is campaigning for the By Election that could happen. You really think that if a By Election wasn’t a possibility that you would be hearing from her now ?

    You can’t be that shallow.

    Chuckie and Ossie might not be running so Theresa thinks she really has a chance to take John John out in that scenario……now you hear about in-fighting in the UDP then as the undercover candidate tries to take the UDP’s card carrying candidate’s seat…LOL !

    • Twyla M Vargas says:

      Come on Peeps Theresa is Campaigning for the by election???.

      You really do not get it, do you, Theresa Lewis couldnt care less whether there is a bi- election or not.  She is doing what she promised to do, without being elected, and those persons who are commenting negative about her work is because they are jealous and envious of her abilities to step up and be committed.

      If there is a bi-election, and her committee thinks that she should run, then she will do just that, run, and win.   Do you people want quality Leadership or not.  Make up your mind.  Certain persons commented on this service that  her flyer was misleading.   Picture this, If you go to a Meat market , please understand you will find fat on some of your oxtail.  So you either  leave it there or buy the packet, take it home, clean it up and enjoy the meat. Get the drift?

      Those that commented that her discussion was political, they came looking for exactly that, so they would go away with nothing else but that.   Dont watch the doctors coat, watch the scapel.

      Careless remarks, that Ozzie and Chuckie might not be running, and Theresa thinks she will take out John, John.  First,  why should,nt Ozie and Chuckie  take their chances again.  This is a free country.   One thing with me I am not going to hold any grudges against anyone,  If you dont want to speak to me because of political reasons, be my guest.   I just tell it like it is.  So Like me if you want  to hear the truth, dont  like me if you dont. 

       Now I know,  "You must really be kidding me,"   about Theresa trying to take out John John.  John is the least hurt to anyone, and I think he should be the last one anyone want to take out.  He is a well disciplined young man.  If the position fits him, I say take the tourch and run, I do not know, I only hope that  he follows his own mind , and do not be influenced by some who would try to do just that.  There are more dangerous mountains to climb.  We should not fail to keep our eyes on the ball of certain persons who are so darn vex that they aint leading this counrty, all they will do is collect a salary with two long arms folded on top their chest.  However,, like it or like it not I am most disapointed

      Then there are those who we cant trust, dont care how much we try.  Pulling together, and cutting out the badmindedness will get us much further.   I think it is high time that winners and loosers come together  for a better Bodden Town, because in doing so it shows the kind of person you are.  It shows the people that you can be trusted, willing, capeable and committed like Ms. Pitcarin.  "Admit to it Naw".   Blessed, and walkk good.


  12. Anya Solomon says:

    I was able to attend this meeting and brought two of my family members who are currently unemployed, one who has been unsuccessful in getting employed and the other who is a recent high school grad.  I feel that the intentions of the forum were good but the flyer was a bit misleading.  The flyer depicted two pictures which showed one-on-one consultations and almost gave the idea of a set up booth for persons to individually meet and talk to for advice.  All in all their were very good points raised but they were the same rhetoric that you read in the press, hear on radio talk shows and see posted up on facebook. 

    The meeting seemed to be slapped together last minute and there were no sufficient resources available e.g. resume samples, list of available jobs by Employment Services, interview tips etc….. they’re loads of things that should have been available to help any unemployed hopefully get employed

    Upon leaving the forum with my family, one made the remark saying that  it seemed more like a political speech and the other simply said that they feel like the meeting was to give people false hope as it was not well put together.  Names of attendees looking jobs were collected on a yellow note pad with the persons telephone number by Mrs. Pitcarin.

    Whilst I was there I would say that there were between 35 -45 persons there, however I was about half an hour late.

    Thinks that the meeting needed a lot more thought and more resources to have made it a successful event.

    successful event.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the Maples lawsuit? I thought she was going to stand up to them?

    • Twyla M Vargas says:


      Sorry, she has too much work to do in Bodden Town.   The Maples Law suit?  You dont worry about that.  She has done just fine. NUFF SAID.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Grow up!

    This is not about any Candidate or the bi-election!  This is about hurting unemployed people in our Community.  This is why "we" and I mean "Caymanians" can’t get ahead.  Always tearing down one another. 

    Nowgo and reveal that!


  15. Anonymous says:

    A Woman who keeps her word.

    A special "Thank You" goes to Mrs. Pitcairn who is proving to us to be a Woman who keeps her word.  She said on her campaign trail that she would assist the unemployed in her District and she is on her way in doing this.  I would just like to kindly ask her to come to the other Districts and share this outreach with the unemployed there.  Could you please come to George Town next?  

    The way in which Mrs. Pitcairn handled this presentation is just one of the ways of confirming the words of her campaign slogan…QUALIFIED, CAPABLE AND COMMITTED.  Being a Lawyer only reinforces her qualifications for getting the job done!   Getting back into law is easy getting this job done is what takes guts… 

    Thanks again Mrs. Pitcairn for being a woman of your word.  Keep on "Changing the way we do what we do."


  16. Anonymous says:

    With wages being driven down across the globe, it is not a problem unique to Cayman. In the last 10 years across western Europe they have seen masses of former eastern bloc workers come into the developed countries and work for peanuts, thus forcing the wages for carpenters, builders etc way down. If anything Caymanians are slightly better off than the europeans because unlike in Cayman where the local people get priority on ALL jobs.

    I hope no right thinking person beleive this nonsense that Caymanians get priority on ALL jobs. In the last 2 years I have seen many ably qualified Caymanians overlooked for jobs that were given to foreign nationals who were more experienced but not more suitable. The Immigration Board did not even question or interview the employer. Our Immigration Bord has continously allowed employers to lower their wages to allow foreigners to take these jobs or give jobs to work permit holders where there are suitable Caymanians availabe   

  17. Anonymous says:

    Pleaseeeee! Teresa is hoping for a bi-election as a result of the alleged breach in the constitution. But if she turns on us and our two candidates there will be plenty revealed.


    • Young Caymanian says:

      Honestly, someone is doing something GOOD for the community for a change and all you can do is say that it is all for political gain?

      I didn’t see any of our Bodden Town MLAs PPM or UDP out there trying to help tackle a growing problem for our Caymanian people.  Ms. Teresa is interested in helping people help themselves which is how society should be, instead of sitting down in a comfortable, air-conditioned office ignoring the plights of our fellow countrymen while they themselves profit from their position.

      Really, if there was to be a bi-election and she got in, I’m QUITE certain that she would be doing tonnes more than what is being done now by our current MLAs.

      As a young, female Caymanian myself, I am quite proud to look on her as a role model.
      Remember, as my parents and grandparents tell me "Actions speak louder than words"

      Something that Teresa has has done quite well. Hats off to you!

    • Twyla M Vargas says:

      Pleeeeeeeeese Theresa is hopng.?

      I dont know where you are living, but think again, Theresa Lewis Pitcarin does not need a Bi-election.  She is running the show now, because obviously Bodden Town has done it again, we do not have any representation, and if there was one tomorrow  morning we were going to have a new set of Candidates, capeable and committed.

      Try pray that there is not going to be a bi-election.  Because if there is one Theresa Lewis Pitcarin will get in.  Theresa  did not promise anyone that they would not get rolled over or paid out five and ten thousand dollar bills.   She ran a clean campaign with her head still holding high.  She promised to be there for the people whether she got in or not.   That is what I call "Woman of her word"   She can answerTher phone calls and dont have to hide from anyone.  Have you taken the time to listen to her speak?  She is a woman of intelligence, capeable of carrying out all of her plans.

      Someone feels lost and jealous because of her capeabilities to continue the job which she started.  That is what I call representation.  She does not have to be a member of MLA to prove what she can do for her district  and the Island.  She has the know how, if you want to hear it that way, and she is not going to lay down her arms and quit.  So anyone who wants to join her committee and take Bodden Town through the 21st century,  hop on board, the more ,the merrier.  Blessed be the tide that flows through these yah Islands.

  18. For love of country says:

    Not sure what that comment was meant to imply, but I for one remain proud of her for her efforts and continued dedication. She has her people at heart and has chosen to continue to be an activist despite the fact that she could be sitting behind a desk making a lot of money. Keep up the good work Theresa.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think they’ll find that all over the world there are much worse rates of unemployment than here in Cayman. We are living in a different world now than we used to be where ‘skilled’ labourers like carpenters can get paid huge sums for being caymanian. Caymanians used to employ caymanians to build their houses and solely use caymanian firms for the job, nowadays they cannot afford to pay extra and unfortunately have to use whichever company can offer the best rates.

    With wages being driven down across the globe, it is not a problem unique to Cayman. In the last 10 years across western Europe they have seen masses of former eastern bloc workers come into the developed countries and work for peanuts, thus forcing the wages for carpenters, builders etc way down. If anything Caymanians are slightly better off than the europeans because unlike in Cayman where the local people get priority on ALL jobs, if they are genuinely qualified and motivated, in europe there are no work permits for these immigrant workers so they are preferred by most employers because they are far cheaper than using local beef and remain motivated because to them it is a lot of money they are earning.

    For years the western europens moaned about immigrants taking their jobs etc and driving the prices down, but this is the real world of supply and demand. They soon had to accept that they limited skills were not worth as much in the labour market.  To be successful the caymanian people have got to accept that they are only worth what an employer is willing to pay. Well educated people will continue to do better jobs and get more money. Less educated and idle people will get paid what they deserve.

    Example, a taxi driver is not worth $100 an hour but thats what they are charging in equivalent terms. I asked a Caymanian mechanic to service my car and he wanted $40 an hour just for labour (privately not through a garage). Obviously I got somebody cheaper in that recognized that they weren’t worth $40 an hour and was prepared to work for $20. Time to face facts.

  20. Concerned says:

    I would first like to applaud Mrs. Pitcairn for her efforts as a Caymanian who is seeking to help another. I hope that she will not only talk about the issues but put in some action.

    So often nowadays, we are so absorbed with ourselves and our own issues that, yes we know that there is a high unemployment rate but… “that is only because Caymanians/ we are lazy and we all want I to get paid for coming in late and taking advantage on our job.” This is the attitude of a lot of persons. I do agree that I know of some that do fall into those categories but not all of us are the same. You cannot class all by looking at a specific few. I also know of many people who are eager and almost desperate to learn and to prove what they are capable of. I often found it astonishing to see the talent and ambition of my classmates back in high school. Sometimes I would find instances where I would say, “Wow”; I never knew that he/she was so intelligent. The downfall of our young people is that some of them are just too easy to be lead a stray. They do not have the right type of guidance and inspiration sometimes until they realize that they have wasted a lot of time and they start to feel oppressed. I enjoy listening to young people like myself, and I will admit that even though I often complain about my own life, I am rather fortunate- however I try to empathize with them.
    I know of instances where persons have made mistakes in the past and those mistakes just seem to hold them down forever. Why is it that a young person with previous ganja charges should have to go on an interview only to have the manager laugh in his face when looking at his police record? Does that mean that his life is over? Because, if you cannot secure A-any job because of that, how are you suppose to make a living for yourself? Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the escalation in crime. Maybe they feel like things will not get better, so why not go out and take that risk? For young persons that have been imprisoned for a few years, when he/she comes back into society, do you think that he/she feels comfortable that life will ever be the same? I realize that every case has its specifics but I hope that you will understand what I’m generally trying to say. It’s as our grandparents would say.. those who feels it knows it!
    There is a huge blame game going. The employers blame the Caymanians; the Caymanians blame the employers, the foreigners and Government. And the Government is making money off the work permits. I know of many many instances where we see UNQUALIFIED, INEXPERIENCED and LAZY persons (who are not always Caymanians) being raised higher that those who actually dedicate time and diligence to their work.  It’s as our grandparents would say… It’s not what you know, but who you know!
    I know that there are cases where we have good workers that just cannot get a job. They apply to hundreds of adds, they never hear back. They don’t know if it was received or thrown out. They just do not know. Who looks into this? I have made general enquires to the labour board in the past and have yet to receive the call that they said they would return to me. I know people that work, and when pay day comes, they wait and wait and wait. No cheque. A week goes by and still no money. Should they quit, and say I’ve had enough? There are employees who are not even sure if the pension and insurance money that is being taken out of their salaries are going to the right places. People, I could go on all day!
    We all need help.
  21. A Concerned Caymanian says:

    She proves that money nor power was her motive but instead her people!  God bless you for still taking time to carry through on your promises!  I hope all other candidates would do the same even if they did not get elected.

  22. Twyla M Vargas says:


    Ms. Pitcarin can exercise her  intensive law abilities by doing just what she is doing.  The statement made by Anonymous "Why dosen,t Theresa get back into law".  I dont know whether the writer meant good or bad, however I hope it is good.

    Theresa is doing just what she promised, and tough luck to anyone who do not have the guts to come forward and assist her.   Some will try and tear her down because of her efforts, yea, yea, but not under my watch.  

    It was a well informative and interesting meeting, with well over 70 persons in attendance.  The concern and eagerness was highly noticed in the expressions of the people.  They needed a job, that is why they were there.  Of course I must agree with comments made, concerning the lack of interest showed by Immigration department in assisting.  Revenue is the big word, and too much buddy, buddy, association with certain employers, therefore causing Caymanians to be left out in the cold.  I will not lay blame on anyone except right here in Cayman, if a Caymanian cannot get a job.   On the other hand sometimes I wonder if calling the talk shows and expressing one,s self  falls on dry ground.   Going to the labour department or anyone else in authority that may help,   It is time some one stop listening and start acting. Step up to the plate  and  show these people that you are not only lip service?"  

    Over two hundred persons were invited to attend,  including the business persons of the district, the labour department and the MLA,s.  None attended.   What are the escuses?   obviously dont have any.

    In the same breath, I was at least expecting to see one of our newly elected MLA,s.  Of course there was not even one out of the three.  But what I have to say is this ‘BODDEN TOWN GOT JUST WHAT THEY DESERVE"  I really dont care who wants to backfire me for these comments,  I can sign my name and have a one one one .     Ms Theresa I say thank you for sticking to your promises,  even if you  feel that it is a heavy battle.    I always maintained faith in your works, and will continue to do just that, as I  will always believe, you loose the battle when you lay down your arms.  That means you have given up.  Dont do it walk good.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Well done Theresa, we are proud of you for  tackling this problem. Please continue to address more issues in the BT area. Try organising some parenting programmes in the communities in conjunction with the churches,  not necessarily at the Civic Centre someone’s home, just like how you orgainised your politcial meetings. Way to go T! 

    At  least you are not like the other candidates that have dropped off the face of the earth. Where are they now, oh, I guess we will see them again in another 31/2 years.

  24. noname says:

    I think Theresa can use her legal skills to really make a difference.  I do not think her getting back into law would do any good other than to take her time away. 

    I know everyone gotta make a living but if she feels her caling is to be community minded then lets see what she does!!!

  25. JUST A NICE GUY says:

    I am proud that I gave Theresa my vote in the elections!!!

    Its the people like Theresa that still gives me hope that this island has not gone down the drain all the way.  I am very pleased to see that she is still keeping up with her promises and trying to help her fellow Caymanians. Alot of people give Caymanians a bad name but I know many who are hard working and some of the nicest people I have met in my years living here.

    Also I am very proud of this young man Matthew Leslie because of the work that he tries to do with Caymanians.  I know his Titan Security company from going out at the different places on Seven Mile Beach.  Seems like they are everywhere and yes I do see alot of Caymanian workers employed by him.  I was actually surprised and when asking one of them it was told to me that he actually pays good wages that is above what other companies pay their guys.  So he is another Caymanian that I can be proud to see owning a business!!!

    We need to be able to tackle the problem with unemployment rather easily.  There is so many jobs out there and alot of them are being taken by foreign workers who come from all parts of the world.  Yet we have the resources right here in our backyard.   You gotta wonder why at times.  Theresa, I am sure if you keep up the good work that it will pay off greatly in the end!! Next election if you run again you have my vote again!!!

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK THERESA and THANKS CNN for pointing out such an important issue in our community!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t Teresa get back into law?