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The Singapore Law Gazette

Welcome from YLC Chairperson

Good day my newly-called Learned Friends!

On behalf of the Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) of the Law Society of Singapore (LSS), congratulations on being called to the Bar! Having heard the term “Learned Friends” countless times, you are now one of us.

I am excited that you have joined us. Before the significance of this moment is lost, I invite each and every of you to pause to savour this significant milestone.

To help kickstart your journey, I wish to share are some A-to-G tips which I found helpful in my own journey:

  1. Ask – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We have been (and still are) in the same boat. There are plenty of friendly seniors who are happy to provide guidance. If you are feeling confident, speak up and ask for more opportunities.
  2. Be confident but humble – Have confidence in yourself but stay grounded and focused. Be open to constructive feedback. You do not need to win every battle.
  3. Consider your journey – Remember why you chose law or what you hoped to achieve. These motivations or goals will help you through difficult times.
  4. Development – Legal practice is a marathon with various skill sets to master. Do each assigned work with an open mind. It is okay if you are unsure of your destination or if you stumble. We are bound to make mistakes; but it is more important to learn from them and improve. Remember that development includes learning how to manage personal and professional relationships.
  5. Enjoy – Plan your breaks, and take control at a semblance of a decent work-life balance! It’s untrue that young lawyers have no breaks. Start each year thinking about your breaks/holidays, and schedule (at least try) your work around it. This gives you periodic breaks and rewards to look forward to.
  6. Friends, not enemies – Make friends with your colleagues and opposing counsel. If your colleagues need help, offer it. The “every man for himself” mentality does more harm than good. Opposing counsels are also not your personal enemies. Thinking back, I made plenty of good friends with my opposing counsels after having bonded through “suffering”. We now even collaborate with, or seek help/advice, from each other!
  7. Give – Find purpose by giving back to the community, e.g. volunteering, mentoring juniors or even something as simple as treating your interns/trainees to a meal/drink. Just as how we wished for a mentor, always remember that there will be juniors who hope for the same. As young lawyers, we are the future of the profession and have the power to shape the culture we wish to see.

The reality is that practice is tough. It will test your character, perseverance and mental resilience. We cannot run away from putting in the hours and hard work; but looking back on my five-year journey thus far, I am glad to share that you can survive. In fact, you will be amazed at what you can achieve through sheer determination. So please do not throw in the towel!

That being said, if you encounter any difficulties or have any suggestions, please feel free to reach out to us. We, as YLC, are here for you!

By way of background, YLC is focused on organising programmes, activities and events for the benefit and welfare of young lawyers. Our core goals can be classified as the 3 C’s: Community, Competence and Contribution. As a special event this year, having heard feedback of how the Covid-19 pandemic has reduced face-to-face time with fellow lawyers, YLC will be organising our inaugural mass call party to facilitate the building of the camaraderie between us young ones. Details will be released via an eblast, so please do keep a lookout!

Besides YLC, I am glad to share that the LSS has a range of support schemes which can be found on LSS’s website. Some of these were specially designed for young lawyers. Please do not shy away from asking for help if you need it.

Once again, congratulations on your admission. I look forward to meeting you at YLC’s inaugural mass call party!

Chia Wong Chambers LLC
Chairperson, Young Lawyers Committee 2023