Happy New Year! What a whirlwind start to the new year! The Opening of Legal Year on 8 January saw a slew of announcements made by the Courts, AGC and the Law Society on the flurry of activities we should expect this year.
One major initiative by the Law Society this year is to embark on the branding exercise of the “Singapore Lawyer”. What sets the Singapore Lawyer apart? Is the exemplary Singapore Lawyer a mythical creature, the product of the Law Society’s fertile imagination? Not in the opinion of Council and Secretariat.
As our President Gregory Vijayendran puts it, “this is not narcissism but an introspective look at our identity and DNA … the value proposition and values proposition of the Singapore lawyer.” The Singapore Lawyer has deep expertise in his or her area(s) of practice and continually keeps himself or herself updated by attending CPD conferences and seminars and reading legal updates. Proficient in employing technology to obtain legal information at the fingertips, he or she is able to dispense clear and accurate legal advice. He or she is proud to be the champion for the rule of law, a conciliator of broken relationships and the thought-leader on legal issues affecting the civic society. He or she adheres to the highest ethical standards of the legal profession, mindful of his or her duties to the Court as well as the trust the client places in him or her. He or she seizes opportunities to expand his or her practice overseas, is respectful of cultural differences and is comfortable managing cross-border transactions.
To maintain the trust premium of the Singapore Lawyer brand, the Law Society is committed to developing high-quality legal education and training programmes and as the guardian of the ethical standards of the legal profession, to maintain those standards without fear or favour. As in previous years, we will run major conferences as well as smaller-scale seminars and the topics will range from black letter, traditional areas of laws to management and business skills. In addition, we will collaborate with College of Law (Australia) (“COL”) to expand our offerings to members who will now have the chance to participate in the COL’s online learning programmes. Partnering SAL, we will formalise the risk management training framework for our members. Following the success of our practice management guide released last year, we will also publish a family law best practices guide and update our ethics guide book.
On behalf of Secretariat, I would also like to extend a warm welcome to our new Council Members Mr Daniel Koh, Mr Adrian Chan, Mr Jason Chan, Mr Paul Seah, and Mr Benjamin Foo, as well as to convey our deepest appreciation to outgoing Council Members, namely, immediate past president Mr Thio Shen Yi SC, Ms Kuah Boon Theng SC, Mr Dhillon Dinesh Singh, Mr Grismond Tien and Mr Yeo Chuan Tat for their tireless and dedicated service to the legal profession.
Our new Exco comprises Mr Gregory Vijayendran as President, Mr Adrian Tan and Mr M Rajaram as Vice-Presidents, Mr Tito Isaac as Treasurer, as well as Mr Lim Seng Siew, Ms Lisa Sam, Mr Daniel Koh and Ms Felicia Tan. We are in the midst of finalizing our 2018 Workplan and I will share more in the next few months.
On another note, all of us at Secretariat are overwhelmed with excitement at the news of our immediate past Vice-President being bestowed the honour of Senior Counsel at the OLY this year. Ms Kuah Boon Theng SC served in Council with distinction from 2012 to 2017. She is a mentor to many of us at the Secretariat as well as to younger Council members. I have been the beneficiary of her wisdom and guidance in the past year as she patiently helped me navigate the heavy responsibilities of leading Secretariat. She candidly shared with me her past struggles as a young mum juggling children and career and inspired me to strive for a balance. Her passion for legal work and public service is obvious to all around her. Once committed to a task, she will give her best, even if it means sacrificing her leisure time and billing hours. What especially struck me about her is that not once has she attempted to portray herself to be infallible – instead, she is unafraid to share her misgivings and limitations. Her generous nature means that she always has time to spare for another person, whether to lend a listening ear or to dispense words of wisdom. Fortunately for us, Ms Kuah SC will stay on as Council Mentor to Council 2018 as well as a member of the Finance Committee. Secretariat offers our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Ms Kuah SC!
Before I sign off, allow me to wish each and every member good health and a prosperous 2018!