Before the commencement of my summer attachment in a legal firm, I was invited personally by Mr Alex Chang Huey Wah to attend his lecture as one of the lecturers at the Bar Council Ethics classes exclusively tailored for the pupils in chamber. That was my first acquaintance in my ‘practical’ legal journey outside the university and I am glad to be given a rare opportunity like this as an eye-opener. Besides, I was impressed and amazed by the fact that my very own Master had contributed in writing the Malayan Law Journal (MLJ) Companies Winding Up Handbook and had conducted scores of winding up matters to establish himself as the renowned pioneer in this area of practice.
During the tenure of my attachment I was also assigned to work alongside a young competent legal assistant Miss Lim Soo Zee trained by Mr Alex Chang Huey Wah himself. A patient and dedicated lawyer like her put a smile on my face when I had to navigate the myriad of authorities and motivated me further in becoming a lawyer like her.
On the opportunity given to attachment students in Alex Chang & Co, I was invited to to go the Kuala Lumpur High Court, Seremban High Court, Penang High Court and the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya to acquaint myself with the process of filing and also to watch various hearings.
The dignified and solemn ambience of the court, the thrills during both of the counsel’s presentation, the feeling of the butterflies in the stomach before the judgment was pronounced and the sheer joy of accomplishment when the court rules in your favour are what I consider as invaluable insights.
In addition, I was also invited to participate in many conferences with the clients for the discussion of their legal matters. It was interesting listening to how they narrate their come about of the pleaded case, brainstorming for supporting grounds, and reckoning the chances of victory. Apart from exposures like this, I was assigned to read up authorities from scratch, align myself with both side of arguments, interpret and analyse the circumstances, prepare skeletal submissions based on the research, and finally assist counsel in the pruning of the submissions culminating to the brief 15-minute ‘air time’ allowed during open court arguments in the Appellate court.
Besides work we had much fun during the attachment with the colleagues in various social settings like karaoke at the Royal Lake Club, roadtrip to Penang, farewell dinners, not forgetting also the ‘celebratory’ dinners with the clients. It surely and definitely strengthened our friendship and heightened the togetherness in us, creating a happy community to work in.
Dealing with a learned Master like Mr Alex Chang could sometimes be rather arduous because you got be on the same wavelength in order to comprehend him and effectively carry out his instructions. Unlike in any other firms where your Master sees and treats you like one of the many attachment students, he regards us as one important member of the firm and trains you to think, act and behave like a lawyer. He holds high expectations of us and makes sure that we are all ‘up to par’. This is one of the many things that distinguished Alex Chang & Co from other firms.
Moreover, I also learnt to be humble. In the acquisition of knowledge the sky is the limit. If we are too preoccupied on what we think we know, then further learning will be halted. Hence, I take many trivial things like running to post offices, hopping onto the bus back from the Kuala Lumpur High Court, promoting a harmonised atmosphere as part of the learning process. I have mentioned this to Mr Alex Chang, the training made me an inch further from being a daddy’s girl and I am proud to be where I stand now.
It was indeed an exciting experience meeting different people with distinctive characters and consolidating my textbook legal knowledge and put it into practice in this short 2 months. This closing of this chapter of my life surely comprises bittersweet moments and last but not least, I would like to extend my heart felt gratitude to Mr Alex Chang and Miss Lim Soo Zee in making our summer attachment bountiful fruitful and meaningful.
University of Sheffield