It is for me to sum up my attachment/internship experience in just a few paragraphs as I could barely believe that my two months’ attachment at Alex Chang & Co. has come to an end.
THE VERY FIRST DAY
I can still remembered the very first day I stepped into the office, I was like a kid full of excitement and curiosity with all kinds of imagination flashing through my head. In a flash, I have completed my mini pupillage/internship, what I took away from Alex Chang & Co. was a marvelous experience and much insight into the legal practice.
Since my enrolment in law school, I harboured a wish to have an opportunity to gain exposure in the day-to-day life of a lawyer. It is for a selfish purpose to determine if I would take the challenge as a litigation lawyer.
Although I did not know what to expect, my internship at Alex Chang & Co. taught me more than I could ask for.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?
Being attached to a small but busy firm has many perks, the opportunity to work directly with the lawyers enabled me to observe how to handle “tough” matter, to add icing to the cake, they taught me how to think and write systematically, critically and logically.
As an attachment student, we were always being thrown random questions by Mr Alex Chang. At times, I doubted my ability to respond to those questions, but most importantly, I learnt that one’s self confidence is important even if we should face a tough situation. Through self-reflection I realised that to be an all rounded lawyer, not only we must be familiar with legal knowledge but we must also devote ourselves to the pursuit of knowledge of various areas.
I was lucky enough to join the discussions with Mr Alex Chang and his two legal assistants with respect to on-going matters. The life of a lawyer is so hectic and pressuring as tonnes of legal research have to be done in order to secure a trump card in winning the case. Their confidence in their ideas and enormous efforts invested in their work taught and truly convinced me that there is nothing impossible. One is able to find quality solutions to an ostensibly hopeless situation.
I totally agreed with Mr Alex Chang’s proposition that we (interns) were there not to learn law (as we could learn it in law school) but to be exposed to the practical approach in legal practice.
During my internship, I was not only confined to the walls of the office but was exposed to events outside the office too, including Court hearings, talks and seminars, and some social interactions including lunches, festival and birthday celebrations, karaoke session etc.
This would definitely heighten my interpersonal skills in communicating with people from all walks of life. We were being introduced to other lawyers and people of other professions too. Furthermore, I developed an ability to work inside and outside the office. I became more independent to get work done by myself, including travelling to various places.
IN-HOUSE MOOTING COMPETITION
What made my attachment at Alex Chang & Co. an extraordinary one is that I also gain the opportunity to participate in the first ever in-house mooting competition held in the office.
Although mooting is a compulsory part of the syllabus in my law school and that I have already participated in several moot competitions, such as Oxford Price Media Moot Court Competition and Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot, I felt that this in-house training provided me a totally different insight. This is truly a challenge for me that goes beyond the expected.
All the attachment students in the firm were required to take part in this in-house moot competition. We were required to complete our written submissions within a limited time. My partner and I were tasked with an unfamiliar area of law. Nonetheless, the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction overwhelmed us when we tasted the fruit of our hard work and commitment. I am glad that we were given advance tutelage in Civil Procedure, which is a subject that will be taught in the final year of the LLB program.
Additionally what distinguished the in-house moot and the ordinary moot competition was that we were required to submit before a panel of Judges in accordance with the real practice in Court. The class in courtesies and mannerisms before the Judges is priceless.
The journey was was a self-discovery to bring out the best within. The preparation of the written and oral submissions will have a positive and significant impact in my legal career.
My attachment at Alex Chang & Co. is a diverse combination of learning and fun. The bond between all the members of the firm is very close, thus creating a pleasant and harmonious working environment. The quality time we spent together through regular meals and some informal gatherings is worth to be cherished all the time.
All in all, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Mr Alex Chang for giving me such a golden opportunity for me to learn and work with all the amazing people here. The life lessons he taught are invaluable. It propelled me to learn from my very own mistakes and to have strong faith in myself.
Moreover, I cannot thank Miss Lim Soo Zee and Mr Danien Soong enough who are always there for me. Also, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to my dear colleagues Ms Elaine, Ms Janice, Ms Chow, Jennifer Hiu, Jessy Wan, Sim Yin and Izzatie Zainol for all their help and kindness towards me. Again a big thank to Alex Chang & Co. for everything it has given to me. This has truly been a great learning experience leaving indelible memories.
Lai Carey Man Yee
University Sultan Zainal Abidin