We are pleased to have Mr Alvin Chen re-join the Law Society Secretariat on 26 June 2018 as Director and Head of our Legal Research & Development (Legal R&D) Department. Alvin obtained his LLB from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2000 and two Master of Laws degrees from NUS and New York University in 2009. He re-joins us from RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, where he worked as General Counsel, Legal and Compliance. Legal R&D is a re-birth of our erstwhile Knowledge Management Department, once headed by Mr Kenneth Goh. The Legal R&D Department will focus on four key areas:
- Thought leadership
- Professional skills development
- Decision support resources
- Internal compliance
Ms Genie Sugene Gan also joined Secretariat on 1 May 2018 as Director and Head of our Representation & Law Reform Department. Genie earned a Graduate Law degree from the National University of Singapore in 2011 and is an Advocate & Solicitor of the Singapore Bar. An accredited Mediator on the panel of the Singapore International Mediation Institute and Associate Mediator with the Singapore Mediation Centre, she also holds an Honours degree in Accountancy, a Specialist Diploma in Counselling Psychology, and certification as a Neuro-linguistic Programming Coach. Joining us from the Ministry of Law, the portfolios that Genie has held included Special Assistant to the Law Minister, legal industry policies, staff welfare and, most recently, Singapore Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.
On behalf of Council and Secretariat, I would like to express my appreciation to Mr Kenneth Goh, former Director of the Law Society’s Knowledge Management Department, for nearly 10 years of distinguished service to the Law Society Secretariat. He was responsible for setting up the department in early 2016 after moving over from Compliance Department and was responsible for publications such as the Practice Management Guide and the monthly e-newsletter JusNewSG. The Secretariat team wishes him all the best in his future endeavours!
Participants at the President’s Dialogue: Economic Health of Law Practices on 28 June raised many useful issues pertaining to the economic viability of their legal practices, such as decline in P&P costs awarded by courts, means testing for legal aid schemes, selection of panel lawyers by banks and funding of business consultants by the Government. While a minority of these issues are not within the control of the Law Society, the majority of the points raised provides a useful roadmap for Council and Secretariat to work on with stakeholders to try and ensure the economic sustainability of law practices, which in turn promotes access to justice.
We will be hosting the ASEAN Bar Leaders’ Summit (Summit) on Wednesday, 25 July 2018. So far, Bar leaders from eight countries (including Singapore) have committed to attending the Summit. During the Summit, the Bar leaders will sign a MOU with the following three objectives:
- to establish an ASEAN Bar Council;
- to convene an Annual Summit; and
- to facilitate mutual exchange of information.
We held our second Women in Practice (WIP) event on 5 July titled “No Time for Face Time” to explore various alternative work arrangements suitable for the legal industry. The event was kindly sponsored by Morrison & Foerster LLP and held at Collision 8. One of their partners, Ms Shirin Tang, moderated the panel discussion and the panellists were Ms Delphine Ho, Registrar of Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Ms Faith Sing, Director at fsLAW, as well as Ms Mabel Tay, Consultant of LOD (Asia Pacific) and WithersWorldwide. In an intimate setting of some 40 participants, the panel candidly shared their personal experiences and encouraged women lawyers to strive for that perhaps-not-so-mythical “work-life balance”.
The WIP Taskforce is also holding a survey to poll women lawyers on a range of issues in order to better understand and address the needs of women lawyers. You can make your views heard at www.surveymonkey.com/r/womeninpractice.