A young man is tricked into becoming a pawn for an insurance scam.
An intellectually disabled man finds himself in court after repeatedly calling the fire brigade each time he was stressed.
An alcoholic faces mandatory imprisonment after stealing alcohol from a shop.
A mentally ill man is charged with repeatedly breaking into flats, but stealing nothing.
A schizophrenic becomes violent after cutting back on his medication because it affected his work.
A 40 year old man with an IQ of 56 and social maturity of a 10 year old has an argument with a young boy in a playground, and finds himself arrested for robbery.
A well-behaved boy discovers he is adopted, and steals a motorcycle.
A repeat drug offender stops taking drugs, but is charged with heroin consumption because he mysteriously fails his urine test.
All these people have one thing in common: volunteer lawyers stepped forward to help them. Each of them found justice, because we, members of the legal profession, used our training, our time and our hearts, to help fellow human beings in need.
This month’s Law Gazette carries their stories. They inspire me to do better.
Let’s be frank. We have our practices to run, we must account for rent and salaries, we have our own personal commitments. Along the way, we also have to build our firms, train our juniors and serve our fee-paying clients.
So, it astounds me that so many of us continue to uphold the pro bono tradition of our Bar. Time and time again, we go above and beyond the call of duty to search out evidence and legal arguments to defend people, while we expect nothing in return except due process, equity and a just outcome. At the end of the day, if we help the system deliver a measure of fairness to our clients, we count that as a satisfying job well done.
The public may not know this. They may not hear all our stories. They do not see what we do, behind the scenes. But we, the members of the Bar, do.
Singapore lawyers make me proud.