My Life in LHAG

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 -_-

Forum on Blogging & Defamation Laws

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.

Good Bye LHAG! Hello FCL & Co!

After working 7 years in one of the most reputable firms in Malaysia, I gathered enough courage (and savings) to resign from LHAG and to establish my own law firm. Although partnership in LHAG is just a step away (in fact, less than 6 months), I declined and moved on. I will be joined by another colleague, Dymphna, who is an Industrial Relation specialist, as a partner. My focus will be on intellectual property, information technology, franchise, social media, data privacy and the likes.

Both of us will work from home until we get our cash flow stable. Paying for renovation and office is just too much burden for a start. We will probably move into an office next year or when we have a fixed set of partners. We currently use the services of a virtual office that accepts documents and letters and also take calls for us.

Humble beginnings..

Frankly, the aim of the firm is fairly ambitious. I would like to grow the firm into a middle sized firm with various specialists under one roof.

I foresee that the liberalisation of the Malaysian legal industry will happen sooner or later. Foreign firms will step into our shores and provide their expertise to Malaysians. This will be a great opportunity for our firm to work with foreign international firms to improve our skills, services and competitiveness. By that time, I hope I still have enough energy to bring the legal industry to a new height.

It’s easier said than done. I’ll read this blogpost again 20 years later to see whether we will achieve this goal.

Till then, wish us luck and hope we can make it!

Being called to the Malaysian Bar

My childhood ambition has been fulfilled. After years of support, guidance and encouragement from my parents, I am finally called to the Malaysian Bar. Hence now, I am a fully fledged Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya.

There were some minor obstacles prior to my call. The judge who was supposed to hear my petition was on MC. I was only told of it yesterday.

I received the shocking phone call yesterday afternoon. It was a lady from the Court and she said, “Encik xes, long call awak akan dibatalkan esok…” (your long call will be cancelled tomorrow)
I freaked out! But..

tapi akan dibawa kepada 230 petang pada hari yang sama”. (but will be brought forward to 230PM on the same day)

My petition to be admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya was then transferred to be heard by Yang Arif Dato’ Wan Afrah.

Here’s a brief explanation on the ‘long call’ process (final procedure to be admitted to the Bar) by my Learned friend Lee Shih

All the Call ceremonies are held at the High Court, at the Appellate and Special Powers Division. (We know it as RKKK – Rayuan dan Kuasa-Kuasa Khas).

A judge will grant the Order admitting a person as an Advocate and Solicitor. Prior to the granting of the Order, a “mover”, being a lawyer of at least 7 years standing and not being from the same firm, will read a short speech introducing the Petitioner (that’s me). The speech is normally an opportunity to briefly elaborate on the education and family of the Petitioner, and most importantly I feel, to thank the Petitioner’s parents, master or other special individuals.
After the grant of the Order, you would normally get your pupil-master to then robe you.

Unfortunately, many of my friends couldn’t make it due to the sudden change of time. My parents didn’t attend as well. Dad’s in Bangkok, Mum didn’t want to attend cause she said she didn’t have anything nice to wear. WTF

But fortunately, due to the change of time, my master, Mr. Tai was able to attend. Big Boss No.2 Yvonne and my colleague Sheryl attended as well. Further, old friends, Linn, Cynthia Chan, Chuo Ming and Siew Lee managed to spare their time. Thank you very much!

Big Boss No.2 Me & Big Boss

Chuo Ming & I

Alan Teoh, me & Anuska

Cynthia & I

I was number 9 on the list, which was also the last person. It was pretty stressful to be the last as many things came into my mind i.e. someone objects to my call.

Former Sheffield University classmate Alan Teoh and former colleague Kay Mi were called on the same day as well. Kay Mi’s speech was quite funny as her mover kept on calling her “KAI MI”.


My mover, Mr Eow of Messrs Skrine moved my call. Many thanks to him as well.

Right after Mr. Eow finishes my speech, representatives from Attorney General Chambers, Bar Council and KL Bar each stood up to say, “Tiada bantahan” (no objection to my admission as an Advocate and Solicitor)

Yang Arif Dato’ Wan Afrah, then immediately said, “Dengan Kuasa yang diberikan kepada saya, saya dengan ini memerintah bahawa Encik xes dimasukkan, disenaraikan dan dimeteraikan sebagai Peguamcara and Peguambela Mahkamah Tinggi Malaya”.

I bowed with relieved in my heart. Finally, after so many years, an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya”

What do I want to be when I grow up.
Peguam = Lawyer

Mr Eow then invited Mr. Tai to robe me. As Mr. Tai puts on my robe on me, he patted my shoulders and we both bowed towards Yang Arif Wan Afrah.

Yang Arif then gave a short note of advice to the new Advocate and Solicitors. It was basically telling us that we are officers of the Court and should assist the judge when making decision.

We bowed as she leaves the court room.

We hurried with the final procedures before heading to the judge’s room for photo session. The rest of the day was spent on taking photos. Thank you Cynthia for being the photographer of the day.

A new chapter of my life has begun!