As mentioned in my earlier post, I served LHAG for 7 years.
I started off as a chambering student in the Intellectual Property (IP) Department in December 2004 and was eventually retained in the department after 4 month.
My first few months was quite dull as I was assigned with menial work but I was fortunate to have Yvonne, a Senior Legal Assistant of the department, teaching me the traits of IP work. She was also instrumental to my early retention. My interaction with my pupil master and Head of IP Department, Mr Tai, at that time was quite rare.
Yvonne, me and Mr Tai
One of the first projects that I did as a student was preparing a report of incoming files from Messrs Allen & Gledhill during the LH and A&G merger in 2005. There were few hundred files and I had to prepare a list of the files and the status of all the files. It took me a week and it left me with bad sinus (from the dust) and backache (from carrying the files).
Yvonne left the firm immediately after I got called to the Bar.
With Y.A Wan Afrah during my admission to the Bar.
From there onwards, I worked under my pupil master as an associate. There was another senior but she too left after a while. At one point, it was just me and Mr. Tai holding the fort.
My first office room. Small but cozy.
Soon, we were joined by Bahari and he managed many of the litigation portfolios. I assisted the both of them in some of their matters. Eunice joined us after that.
My chambering mates and I were very close. Such support system is very important. We watched each other’s back and helped each other during times of need.
They made my time there very enjoyable. Many have moved out from the firm and now only 2 remained in the firm.
Many lawyers say that their first three years is the toughest. I must say that this is true. Research and drafting were the ordeal of the day.
My biggest challenge came when Mr Tai left the firm with his other partners. It was a time when 7 partners left our firm. Bahari, Eunice and I were left with a headless department. Even our department chief clerk left us. She was in charge of keeping track of all the deadline and formalities.
The three of us took on the challenge and shortly managed to stabilized the department. It also gave us a lot of new opportunity. Bahari was made head of department. Eunice and I were given the chance to attend international conferences to expand our exposure and network.
But there were downsides. Mr Tai used to guide me in every process from sending internal emails to drafting of documents. He will read and approve all my work. And the good thing about him is that he never scold or raise his voice for any mistakes that I’ve done. Without him, I was all alone. It took me a while to do things on my own.
The other downside is the sudden stoppage of new work. In the past, Mr Tai used to bring the work in but without him, I had no work. There were times which I spent the whole day surfing the net in the office without any work.
My 3rd room.
Messy table as usual.
Our senior partner gave me a very good advice. He knows that I’m into Internet and technology stuff and he advised me to focus on it.
In 2009, I joined the Kuala Lumpur Bar Information Technology Committee as a committee member which was headed by Richard Wee at that time. I did my first presentation there with member of parliament, Jeff Ooi and fellow lawyer, Nizam Bashir on Blogging and Law. From there, speaking arrangements started pouring in although I’m a terrible speaker. My dad blames himself for letting me jumble up my words when I speak during my younger days -_-
Marketing then became an important part of my practice. I began writing articles, giving presentations and attending all sorts of networking events. Work started pouring in.
I realise that legal practice is not all about doing work, it’s also about getting to know the right people and selling your expertise the right way. There is no point being so good with your work if nobody knows about it.
LHAG had always been very supportive of me. They pay me very well (bonus from 3 to 6 1/2 months). Unfortunately, taxes ate a huge chunk of it. I don’t mind paying taxes so long the Government doesn’t use it to buy condominiums.
I read an article on how Google used to instill entrepreneurship on their employee. Junior employees are given chance to come out with their own products for Google. In LHAG, I took the initiative to develop a new practice area namely the data protection and privacy practice. It all started when I was featured in The Star newspaper on the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA). The feature was arranged by LHAG.
I also wrote an article on the PDPA for our firm’s newsletter. With this piece of endorsement, I approached many our of clients for free speaking arrangements. It bore fruit within few months. Work started coming in a form of written opinion and compliance exercise. It kept me and my junior Lyssa busy for the past year.
After 7 years in LHAG, it was time to move out from my comfort zone for a new challenge.
So far it has been very smooth sailing. I was fortunate to have some clients who followed me. Friends have been referring work to me almost on a daily basis.
I must thank LHAG for all the good times and support. It’s been a pleasure serving them.