What I Did Not Expect in Legal Attachment Tang Esther Swee Ying

Esther Tang Swee Ying
Esther Tang Swee Ying

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The  short period of attachment/ mini-pupillage at Alex Chang & Co  taught me a lot, allowed me to discover my weaknesses and assisted me in completing my Pupillage  with  ease and lots of appreciation.  All in all, the experience was invaluable and   contributed much advancement in my life totally not what I expected!

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share”
W. Clement Stone

A brief summary of what I learnt:
1)     Stay focused and listen carefully when people are talking to you especially when an instruction is given. If you didn’t catch that, don’t be too shy to ask the speaker to repeat it again and when they do, pay extra attention! It’s better than making a mistake later.

Always ask before you do anything and/or obtain a definitive confirmation from the right person. Don’t simply assume that everyone you asked is the right person and/or it is alright to do anything, no matter how trivial the matter seems.

2)    Be responsive to the messages sent by people, especially the one from your boss!  There is never too much ‘ok’ for you to send otherwise people won’t know for sure that you have indeed received the instructions.

3)    Always keep a white blouse, black jacket  and black shoes in your car otherwise wear or bring those every day to work as you never know when will you be sent to court for an urgent matter.

4)    Improve, improve and improve! Never cease to improve in particular your language skills since it is one of the most important skills we need in this profession. It’s a skill you need not only to communicate but to impress your bosses, clients, opponents, Judges as well as the public. Mr Alex Chang tipped me  in  both my Chinese and English pronunciation need improvement and I have never stopped polishing them to date.

5)    Acquire general knowledge.. I remember I was asked by Mr. Alex Chang during a car ride to the Federal Court about which country has a particular    tri-colour flag. Of course, I gave him the wrong answer as I didn’t know the answer. At that moment, I realized how limited my general knowledge was. It was very unimpressive.

6)    When translating an article or a court document, translate it word for  word and not based on your own understanding of the meaning, otherwise, why would it be called a ‘translation’?

7)    Be meticulous in everything you do. Follow the instructions precisely. Being careless could easily be a death sentence for a matter in court.  It matters not whether you think something is necessary or not, it matters only that the instruction says so.

Mr Alex Chang is a kind man indeed.  As a senior counsel with limited time to spare, he constantly stays in touch with me via whatsapp even though I was merely a passerby in his firm. I was even invited  to join his company dinner  10 months after I left,  but alas, I couldn’t attend because of work, otherwise, it would be a nice catch-up session with Mr. Alex Chang  his helpful  staff and many students and pupils. He is also a wise and humble senior in this legal profession who wouldn’t hesitate to lend a hand if he could.

Tang Esther Swee Ying

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