Is an Attachment in Legal Firms a Waste of Time?
Self discipline is a learned behavior. Working at Alex Chang & Co has improved my self discipline since I am working in a firm unlike in college days. Some might tell you that an attachment student would be doing stapling, photocopying and it is therefore a waste of time. On the other hand, in my opinion, being part of this friendly firm means you are not only learning new things (for sure you have to do some of those mundane chores), but you will also have lots of great memories and learning experiences.
On the first day, I was given the opportunity to submit a submission to the learned Deputy Registrar and to obtain an acknowledgment. Since I have never been to court it was a daunting experience. Although I have made some careless mistakes, I learnt to be more observant and meticulous when taking instructions.
Since Alex Chang & Co specialises in debt recovery, winding up and liquidation the I was then assigned to, inter alia, prepare submissions, draft the Defendant’s cross examination, write several articles after conducting research, translation of Affidavits and also to conduct a search for charges registered at the Companies Commission of Malaysia.
Through these I developed my legal skills in expressing coherent arguments. As I am studying the UK syllabus, I initially thought it might be a little tough for me to research on Malaysian authorities. However, throughout my internship I learned that one should never be afraid to ask a lot of questions and be prepared to deal with deadlines. By asking all the questions I got answers from all the legal assistants and some of the fellow attachment students.
Besides, I was also invited by Mr Alex Chang to participate in many conferences with the clients for the discussion of their legal matters. After the meetings with the clients I realised that there are many factors which will affect whether Alex CHANG & Co accept a particular brief, amongst them, confidence in the clients’ cause, and the clients’ ultimate satisfaction are some essential elements.
I had a wonderful time observing Mr Chang’s ethics class conducted at the Bar Council. The said talk reminded me inter alia about the duty of candour in not seeking to win litigation to all costs but to assist the court in reaching the correct result and the formal language that we should use in Court. It had opened my eyes and I learned a lot of things that I cannot get from the classroom. Besides I was also invited to attend a seminar conducted by Mr Chang for the members of the Malaysian Institute of Associates (MIA) in Penang.
Bonding opportunities among the colleagues occurred when we had a 2-day-1-night road trip to Penang which was 2 days 1 night. There was a small incident on the road which taught me to act counter-intuitively and to always be well prepared for possible changes in your circumstances. It was not about the the networks and connections that I had built but the memories that were created.
We had a very jolly good time enjoying the local food like Penang char kueh tiao, seafood and indulging in durian (red heart). Of all these, I find the bacon breakfast by the sea at the Penang Club most memorable.
All the quality time that I had spend together with all the fellow colleagues in the Firm were precious. We had lunch together, we laughed at all the ‘hilarious’ jokes celebrated Dragon Boat Festival with rice dumplings and tea… All these little gatherings made me feel like home away from home. Despite all the stress , everyone in Alex CHANG & Co was friendly and approachable creating a happy working environment.
Last but not least, my gratitude goes out to Mr Chang for his invaluable guidance and advice. Miss Lim Soo Zee, Mr Danien Soong, Ms Janice and Ms Chow by helping me through the ups and downs.
My humble conclusion is that my legal attachment/ internship experience is not a waste of time but I have utilised my 4 weeks of summer vacation to the fullest.
Lydia Leong Yin Qin
University of Northumbria