It was not my first time working in a law firm. However, the experience was unlike any other. I believe these newly acquired experiences will prove beneficial for my career in the legal field in the near future.
Working remotely from home
Unfortunately, due to the implementation of Full Movement Control Order (FMCO), I was required to work remotely from home. I first had my doubts, as I thought working from home would limit my exposure to the real legal-related work. However, Mr Alex Chang, the managing partner of the firm, despite his busy schedule, introduced me to the members of the firm and constantly briefed me on the tasks which were assigned to me. Guiding me patiently so much so I never once felt lost or confused as to what my job scope was, even though I am working remotely from home.
Throughout my attachment, my tasks were mainly on conducting researches for the firm. The first few times of conducting research, I was unable to catch the real legal issues and merely came out with a brief and general results. However, Mr Chang and Ms Lim, the firm’s legal assistant, were patient and willing to guide me to better my research skills. Upon completion of my attachment programme, I am proud to say that I am now able to read cases in less time, identify accurately the legal issues of each case and present case laws in accordance to the issues of the case. Thanks to Mr Chang and Ms Lim I was able to witness and experience this tremendous improvement on my research skills, making me a more efficient researcher, of which I am definite will be beneficial for my future self.
Not only does Mr Chang have great passion for law, he also possesses deep knowledge and foundation in all areas of practice, particularly in Company Law and Debt Recovery. To top it all, I was (still am) truly impressed by the fact that Mr Chang had contributed in writing the Malayan Law Journal (MLJ) Companies Wingding Up Handbook.
Working with Mr Chang, every day was challenging to say the least. Despite his careful guidance, sometimes I found it difficult to comprehend the instructions given by him and thus struggle to answer them accurately. But I have come to understand that this is because he requires me to think critically on the issues, and look at things from a legal perspective. He also expects me to produce high quality work, unlike other firms that accept a relatively lower competence of work due to the fact that I am merely an attachment student.
In addition to that, my work was also acknowledged and appreciated by my mentor and the other lawyers in the firm. That is the material point of time when I felt that I am one step closer to becoming a lawyer. Despite never having met any of my colleagues in real life, I can’t help but feel a sense of belonging.
This opportunity also allowed me to understand the work ethics, employment demands and responsibilities of a practising lawyer, giving me some major insights as to what it takes to be a litigator. Although it is really unfortunate that I was not able to witness a trial at court due to the implementation of FMCO, I am grateful I still benefitted greatly from this attachment programme.
On a side note, I was also given the opportunity to participate in a moot trial during my attachment. I would like to express my gratitude towards Mr Chang for organising this moot trial despite his busy schedule, solely for the benefit of the attachment students. This gave me some insights as to what might go on during a court trial. Not to mention, the comments and feedbacks given by the guest judges were truly useful, especially when we are soon going to be practising lawyers in the near future.
Through this attachment, I was able to utilise and finally apply the knowledge I acquired from the university. It is an excellent learning curve for young graduates like me, while simultaneously meeting new people in the professional world. It also helped strengthen my interpersonal skills as well as multi-tasking skills, especially when I have to juggle between conducting researches whilst preparing for an In-house moot trial at the same time. In conclusion, this is a one-in-a-lifetime experience to me and I am really honoured to be given the opportunity to work with Mr Chang under this attachment programme.
Lee Xin Wei
University of Reading