I have always perceived working in a law firm to be tedious and mundane but every little piece of that misconception faded away as I started my internship/ mini-pupillage/ attachment with Alex Chang & Co. The common perception that people are stuck in is that a internship/ mini-pupillage/ attachment is all about punching holes, stapling and binding documents and photocopying; something better than that would be to do some research on some legal topics. This is, however, not the case in this firm.
I still have vivid memory of the first day of my internship. I was assigned to write two essays which were aimed to test my research skills. One of the questions was really interesting that it piqued my curiosity. Through this seemingly simple exercise, I have learnt to see things from different perspectives and angles which I reckon, is very important throughout one’s journey in the legal field.
There was a particularly interesting aspect of my internship, that was, the observation of trial proceedings. Mr Alex Chang’s brilliant questioning skills during cross examination and mind provoking arguments during trial and submission has motivated me to become a litigator and make use of my knowledge and skills to defend my clients’ rights.
My master, Mr. Alex Chang is often invited to give talks at the Bar Council. I really enjoyed observing him in his ethics class to more than a hundred pupil in chambers as his emphasis on the values of being a lawyer has inspired me to be a justice seeker with principle and integrity. A live mock trial presentation was also conducted by him, allowing the pupils in chambers to familiarise themselves with their roles as counsel in future.
I also had a rare privilege to interact with the soon-to-be lawyers after the said talk who provided me an insight of the challenges they have encountered in pursuing a legal career. Listening to them sharing their experience with me helped me to prepare myself mentally for the adversities that I will face in the future.
Being the Advisory Editor of the Companies Winding Up Handbook, Mr Alex Chang is again, being invited to write a brief guide on the soon-to-be passed Companies Bill 2013. I was given the opportunity to assist him in that project.
My visit to the Kuala Lumpur High Court was really a meaningful one. I was assigned to shadow Miss Lim Soo Zee, a pupil in chambers turned legal assistant of Mr Alex Chang. The formalities in court and professionalism exuded left me in awe.
The unaccustomed event during an attachment that I got to experience personally was the creditors’ meeting conducted by the assistant of the Official Receiver at the office of the Director General of Insolvency Office at Kuala Lumpur.
However, the most unaccustomed event, was the meeting over lunch with the prominent Tan Sri Soong Siew Hong who was one of the founders of the Rotary Club of Pudu 49 years ago. He also served as the Secretary General of the Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCIM). It was really an honour to have had a meal hosted by him.
Karaoke sessions, farewell dinners, to have lunch occasionally together with everyone in the firm, break-fasting dinner, 3-D movie screening are all the other social settings that I participated during my month-long attachment. Undeniably, these social events allowed us to be a step closer to each other, making us feel at home despite working in a stressful environment.
Throughout my attachment, I have received much guidance and support from everyone in the firm. Special thanks to my master, Mr Alex Chang; his legal assistant, Miss Lim Soo Zee; the two pupils in chambers, Miss Maizatul Suhaila Binti Zukifli and Miss Nor Arifa Binti A. Rahman; last but not least Ms Elaine, Ms Chow and Ms Wong. I would not have enjoyed myself so much in the absence of all of you. My gratitude goes out to one and all.
OOI Chia Rou
University of Sheffield