Citation for CC Tan Award 2018
This citation was read by Vice President Adrian Tan for the C C Tan Award of 2018 which was conferred on Leo Cheng Suan at the Annual Dinner and Dance.
It is my privilege and honour to read the citation for the C C Tan Award of 2018.
This award is named after the first President of the Law Society of Singapore, Mr Tan Chye Cheng. C C Tan had a long and illustrious professional career. He embodied the finest and noblest virtues of the legal profession – honesty, fair play, gentlemanliness and personal integrity. Since 2003, it has been the Law Society’s tradition each year to recognise and honour a member of our profession who best personifies the model example and ideals set by our very first President.
Our C C Tan Award recipient this year is my friend, Mr Leo Cheng Suan.
We affectionately know him as “Leo”, and he lives up to his name as he is a lion in many respects. Leo graduated from the University of London in 1988 with a Bachelor of Laws Degree and a Master of Laws Degree in 1991. He became a Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln’s Inn) in 1989, and was admitted as an Advocate & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 1991, and has now been in practice for 27 years. He is currently Director and Head of Litigation at Infinitus Law Corporation.
If anyone wonders why Leo seems to be more mature in look after being in legal practice for “only” 27 years, it is not due to the stress of legal practice. The truth is that prior to legal practice, Leo was working in other industries such as aeronautical engineering and management and commerce. After 10 years of ignoring his calling, he finally saw the light and took up law and legal practice.
Leo served as an elected Member of the Council of the Law Society of Singapore from 1994 to 1997 and again from 2001 to 2012 – a total of 16 years. He was elected Vice-President of the Law Society for six years (2004/2005, 2010, 2012-2014).
Despite his busy schedule, Leo remembered his obligations to the Law Society – he served as a member of the then Ethics Committee, which is now known as the Advisory Committee, since 1998. He also served in the Law Society’s Professional Management Committee from 1998 to 2011. He chaired both the PrimeLaw Committee to implement Quality Award Standards and PrimeLaw certification for law firms in Singapore, as well as Project Schools to acquaint students with basic legal knowledge. He was conferred the PBM award by the President of the Republic of Singapore for his public service contribution.
For all of us who know Leo in practice, he was known to maintain a disciplined demeanor, plays fair and by the rules, has a strong work ethic and a strict, no-nonsense approach to practice. In his dealings with fellow members of the Bar, he is a perfect gentleman. He personifies the values celebrated by the C C Tan award.
His demeanor makes him an approachable man and he does not hesitate to render assistance when requested. Leo is always respectful to opponents, and his manner enables him to disarm even the most intimidating lawyer.
A member of this Council remarked that he had previously instructed Leo on a few occasions and said this, “I had seen him stand firm against a client who wanted to draw the opponent’s blood. Cheng Suan’s refusal to do so earned my respect.”
Leo Cheng Suan personifies the values celebrated by the C C Tan Award and is a fine model for younger lawyers to aspire to. Council is pleased to present Leo Cheng Suan with the C C Tan Award this year.