To Be The Best You Got To Learn From The Best
This was one of the main reasons for me to apply to Alex Chang & Co when I was aware of a vacancy in the firm for pupilage from the Malaysian Bar website for job vacancies.
The good credentials that Mr Chang possess to establish himself as a pioneer in the area of Companies Winding Up and debt recovery was never in doubt for me based on the good reviews I got from my learned friends who had previously worked under him.
Also, Mr Chang is the Advisory Editor of the “Companies Winding Up Handbook” which was frequently referred to by judges and cited in their judgments, and he is also the contributor to the Malaysian Court Forms, Companies Winding Up section Vol.6.
Litigator’s Assessed Mini Pupillage
Following the advice of Mr Chang during my interview with him, I was to first undergo a two weeks Attachment Mini Pupilage to understand the workings and culture of the firm before I proceed on with my pupilage in the firm.
Although the attachment was for a short tenure of two weeks, it was rather fruitful and remarkable for me as it gave me a preview of what lies ahead in my journey to be a lawyer, specifically as a litigator.
An All Rounded Experience
Throughout my attachment, I was assigned with a variety of tasks, from the basics such as photostating and scanning documents, to substantial legal work such as doing research for authorities to substantiate the arguments for the actual cases we have at hand, to draft statement of claims and letters to the court to request Grounds of Judgement and to other firms regarding matters related to the matters. I was also assigned with the task of going through the cross-examination transcript of a matter conducted which involved watching the video recordings in court of the cross examination of the witnesses to detect any discrepancies from the transcript, in which I got to see how a cross examination was conducted.
Atmosphere in Court
The experiences gained during my attachment was not only limited to tasks in the firm. As an attachment student in ACC, I was given the opportunity to attend court hearings with Mr Chang including an in chambers hearing, with leave from the Honourable Judge. The atmosphere during the hearings were overwhelming, thus emphasising the need for a counsel to be proficient with his case at hand, which would require a lot of preparation before that so that he/she is well versed with his case.
From my attachment of two weeks, I managed to pick up various legal skills and values which would be useful in my life. As a lawyer of certain standing, it became inevitable that the quality of the work that comes from the firm to be of a high standard. Therefore, being part of the firm, we had to also up our own standards to match Mr Chang’s.
Stressful but Fruitful
It is conceeded that the work as a litigator is stressful especially when the expectation required of you is high. However, I also do believe that a right amount of stress is required so that one will constantly up his/her own standards. This is important as what differentiates you from other lawyers is the quality of the work that comes from you.
Time is of the Essence Efficiency is Key
At ACC, I learned that time is of the essence and efficiency is key. As such, Mr Chang always emphasises the importance of accurate communication to ensure that every task runs smoothly. To achieve this, one has to listen carefully and focus on the instruction being given. Also, it is pertinent to ask the speaker to repeat if you couldn’t catch what was instructed to you, rather than to make mistakes and waste time doing irrelevant things. Always ask if you have doubts and obtain a definitive confirmation, as this would ensure you are doing the right thing.
Furthermore, be responsive to messages sent by others especially those sent by the boss, otherwise people wouldn’t know that you have received the proper instructions.
As the nature of the work as a litigator requires one to pay attention to the slightest details, this emphasises the need to be meticulous in everything you do. Therefore, one should never assume whether something is necessary or not, it matters only that the instructions have been followed precisely.
On Work Off Work
Off work, Mr Chang is a very warm person. Not only is he concerned with whether we can cope up with our work and whether we get to learn new things and benefit from it, he also cares about us as individuals and outside work, we can talk like friends.
Last but not least, I extend my gratitude to the guidance and advice given by Mr Chang himself, and also to Mrs Chang, Ms Chow, Ms Janice, and also Ms Suzanne for making my tenure of attachment an interesting and a fruitful one.