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Litigation in Textbook and in Practice – A Comparison

By Lee Yiap Shi Jessie

 

Lee Yiap Shi Jessie

Lee Yiap Shi Jessie

After I  have  completed  my journey  in the  university,  I  was given an opportunity to undergo  a short  attachment/ internship/ mini-pupillage at  Alex Chang & Co   to experience    litigation  in a  commercial litigation firm.   During the tenure of my internship, I was tasked to review   some files  to have a  better insight of  litigation practice.    Now  I understand  that there is huge disparity between litigation in textbook and  in practice.

The first file I read was a ‘trial’ file.   What I understand  from the Civil Procedure course was that trial  proceedings are governed by Writs  under Order 5 rule 2 of the Rules of Court 2012.

However,  this is the first time for me to  read a   litigation  file,   I was not given the same opportunity in the other internship.  I was in awe by the sheer  thickness of the bundles  and the number of documents.

Before I started my read,   Mr. Alex Chang gave me some tips and a short briefing.  I found out that one should   always start reading the pleadings   to have better understanding of the background facts and the plea of the parties.    I  made an interesting discovery which I would never have found in the text books…   Every bundle  in  the Record of Appeal   shall start with five blank papers, there are  bundling and indexing regulations.

The next challenge  I encountered was the  language used   in court, it is a special language, from the word ‘go’ right till the end of the proceedings…  Everything has a special word from ‘If it please…’ to ‘Much obliged’.

Mr. Alex Chang taught me  to think critically,   read, understand  and scrutinise  all  evidence,  pleadings, submissions and relevant case authorities in order to tender flawless oral  and written submissions.   It dawned on me that when it comes to submission less is more.   Precision is the key.

Mooting and litigation is heaven and earth.

When I reading another file on the  assessment of damages file, a matter which started life in the High Court and ended in the Apex Court, I made another discovery, in Malaysia, we also have instructing solicitors and counsel will be instructed based on their   skills and experiences.

Some seniors told me that they study law as they do not like Mathematics.  I found out the hard truth, if  you do not have a  good mathematical sense  to calculate costs, damages and compensation, you cannot  handle commercial litigation.    In that  file,   I fascinated to see how Mr Chang reduced a RM74 million in damages to NOTHING…

Advocacy was taught in the University,  that was as good as watching the TV Series…

Again I found out, in the movies, the beautiful speeches were  scripted.   In practice we do not have such luxuries.   I  was very impressed by the advocacy skills of the counsel in the extraction of   testimony that we need from the ‘unwilling’ witnesses.  I  felt butterflies  in my stomach during  the cross examination from the comfort of gallery.

It  was  such  a pleasure for me to be part of the members in Alex Chang & Co as  I have learnt much during that time.   Mr  Alex Chang Huey Wah  and  Miss Lim Soo Zee inculcated  in  me the qualities to be  meticulous, hardworking and  fast reacting.

I would like to express my appreciation to my colleagues for their assistance and patience in helping me completed the tasks given.  Last but not least, I would like to express my  gratitude towards Mr Alex Chang for his care,  advice, light moments with the other colleagues   and guidance; especially for  forgiving my    mistakes.    It was  really an  eye-opening ‘stint’  to undergo a mini-pupillage/ internship  at  Alex Chang & Co.

Lee Yiap Shi, Jessie
Multimedia University

Alex Chang & Co

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