Past Presidents' Messages (2016-2020)
Kathleen Teo, 2020/21
Before I begin, I would like to thank the previous Executive Committee consisting of Noel Low, Soh Yun Wen, Selene Tanne, Tan Xin Yi, Kimberley Ng, Carol Yin and Tan Yan Shen for helming UKSLSS this past year. Their efforts have culminated in a smooth handover of duties to the incoming Executive Committee, who is incredibly blessed to be taking over the Society in good stead amid the pandemic.
The current climate is imposing significant challenges by restricting our abilities to organise in-person events for the first half of the academic year. However, the incoming Executive Committee, consisting of myself, Lauren Goh, Chow Yun Kei, Andrew Young, Remus Joel Wong, Tan Jing Yan, and Phoenix Gay is incredibly determined to turn these challenges into opportunities to improve the work of UKSLSS through online means. Despite the trying times ahead, the Society will continue to represent and support your needs, regardless of which university you are in and which career path you choose. Our ultimate goal is to create a tight-knitted community of Singaporean law students in the UK who can support one another through their legal studies. To achieve these aims, the Executive Committee is planning several events to address these concerns.
Opportunities: Freshers’ Activities, University Representatives and Sub-Committees
We are kicking off our line-up of events with two Freshers’ Welcome Calls taking place on 3rd October 2020 and 10th October 2020. We hope that these calls will allow new members to gain an interest in our Society and that this will spur them on to serve as University Representatives. Concurrently, we will be inviting attendees and other members of the Society to be part of either the Marketing Sub-Committee or the Editorial Committee. Do keep a lookout for more details and announcements regarding these opportunities on our social media channels, including our Instagram page, which will be set up very soon!
Careers: Exclusive Sponsor Virtual Firm Recruitment Events, Webinars and More!
As we do every year, we are hosting the SYNC Vac Scheme Helpdesk virtually on 24th October 2020. The Helpdesk will feature a panel of UKSLSS alumni who are Trainee Solicitors working in the UK. The discussions will surround their reasons for choosing to work in the UK, application tips for vac schemes and what students can do now to prepare for applications. This event is a must-attend, regardless of whether you are applying to vac schemes this year or a fresher looking to learn what it is like to work in the UK!
We are also organising exclusive virtual recruitment events with our sponsors, such as Rajah & Tann. These will replace the recruitment teas they usually hold in London. Additionally, we are looking to increase the engagement of our sponsors via periodic webinars that provide you with practice area insights, case study workshops, and more!
The academic year will once again culminate in the 14th Singapore Legal Forum (“SLF”) on 21st August 2021. It is uncertain whether it will take place online or in-person. However, you can expect a more interactive forum consisting of debates, case study workshops and a lengthier career fair with industry veterans and our sponsors. Be sure to keep the date free!
The Editorial Committee
The Singapore Comparative Law Review (“SCLR”), our Society’s flagship student-run legal journal has once again achieved great recognition and success under the leadership of Yan Shen. We will build on the foundations he has laid and increase the standard of it by inviting esteemed judges and academics from both the UK and in Singapore to guest write. As such, the SCLR is a perfect opportunity for you to critically engage with legal issues both the UK and Singapore and hone academic writing ability either as an Associate Editor or Writer.
The SCLR aside, we have plans to increase both member and sponsor engagement by revamping the Editorial Arm of UKSLSS. We will be launching a news-blast that will be sent to our member’s emails every week. These news-blasts will contain short updates of legal developments in Singapore and the UK, upcoming Society events, as well as training contract and internship application deadlines. Please sign up to our mailing list to become a member and to receive these news-blasts: http://eepurl.com/c9-ACn.
Additionally, we will also be launching a quarterly newsletter that contains academic pieces, opinion pieces and interview transcripts from partners, associates, law graduates and undergraduates. This newsletter will be formally published on the UKSLSS website every four months. With these new plans comes new opportunities to get involved with our Society.
These new publications provide you with new opportunities to contribute to the Editorial, so keep an eye out for the recruitment of Associate Writers and Editors for all three publications in October!
While this list is non-exhaustive and excludes the ad-hoc events we may organise from time to time, we hope that it piques your interest and will encourage you to get involved with our Society! If you have any questions or suggestions in the meantime, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. On that note, I wish you all the very best in the new academic year and that you will stay safe and healthy wherever you are!
Kathleen Teo Kai Hui
Executive Committee 2020/21
United Kingdom Singapore Law Students’ Society
Kathleen Teo Kai Hui
Noel Low, 2019/20
It is my honour to introduce the executive committee of the 2019/20 Academic Year, consisting of: myself Noel Low (Oxford) as President, Soh Yun Wen (Bristol) as Vice President, Selene Tanne (KCL) as General Secretary, Tan Xin Yi (Durham) as Finance Director, Kimberley Ng (Bristol) as Marketing Director, Carol Yin (KCL) as PR & Sponsorships Director, as well as Tan Yan Shen (Oxford) as Editor-in-chief.
We take over the society at the conclusion of a very successful year. The previous Exco – which consists of Cheng Jun (President), Joshua (VP and Sponsorship), Valerie (Secretary), Annabelle (Finance Director), Si Wen (Marketing Director), and Edwin (Editor-in-Chief) have commendably reversed a declining trend for the society that started when the glut of lawyers in Singapore was announced a few years ago. Besides an increase in engagement for every UKSLSS event, sponsorship engagement has also increased last year under the charge of Joshua . Their team have put the society in a strong position and I am excited to see what we can achieve this year.
What you can look forward to
Now into its third decade, the aim of the UKSLSS is to support and represent the interests of Singaporean law students in the United Kingdom. This ranges from social networking and career-readiness, to keeping members engaged with the latest developments of the industry. To this end, the committee has planned a calendar of events for you.
The first term will kick off with the SYNC Vac Scheme Helpdesk on 2 November 2019 in London. Alumni and other Singaporeans working in the UK will be there to provide advice and answer your career-related questions. I encourage you to make use of this opportunity to learn more and make useful contacts.
Do also look out for exclusive recruitment events held by some of our Gold sponsors (Rajah & Tann and WongPartnership), who have plans to travel up to London to meet our members. Besides this, we will be organising various social hangouts through our university representatives.
The academic year will culminate in the 13th Singapore Legal Forum on 22nd August 2020, held in Singapore during the Summer Vacation. You can expect an exciting line-up of speakers consisting of industry veterans, international lawyers and those at the frontline of technological disruption. Our sponsors will also be present for an exclusive career recruitment fair. Keep the date free!
The Editorial Committee
Last year has also been exceptional for the editorial team, helmed by Edwin. The Singapore Comparative Law Review (SCLR) achieved unprecedented industry recognition, with practitioners and academics from both UK and Singapore contributing pieces in the student-run journal. The annual publication, which you can browse here, is now carried by HeinOnline and Lawnet. As a writer and editor myself, I can vouch that the SCLR is a superb opportunity for students to critically engage in legal issues of the day and hone academic writing ability. I recommend all members to get involved with the upcoming edition.
The SCLR aside, the society’s newsletters have also been very well-received. Members are kept updated on developments in the law and the industry, with news updates and interviews written by our student staff writers, as well as collaborations from the industry. Past editions can be found here. Editors and writers will be recruited from October — do keep an eye out for it!
Please get in touch if you have questions or suggestions. I wish you a fruitful academic year, and look forward to seeing you at our events.
Executive Committee 2019/20
United Kingdom Singaporean Law Students’ Society
Koh Cheng Jun, 2018/19
We live in uncertain times. While this is true of the wider world we live in today—for geopolitical reasons which I will not go into here, it also accurately reflects the legal profession. In his address to freshly-minted lawyers at the Mass Call 2018, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon emphasised the need for lawyers to remain relevant by adapting to changes, brought about primarily by new technologies that prompted the “disaggregation” and “commoditisation” of legal services.
The role of the United Kingdom Law Students’ Society (UKSLSS), throughout the past 20 years, has always been to support and serve the needs of our members through a number of ways—(i) providing updates on the latest legal developments, (ii) furnishing opportunities to adapt to these changes, (iii) bridging the gap with the stakeholders, and (iv) in the process forge valuable friendships. As the challenges we face evolve, we will assiduously look at relevant ways for our members to stay ahead of the curve.
I would first like to thank the previous Executive Committee, led by Adelle, for their hard work throughout the past year. The team, which also consisted of Ashwati, Jie Ying, Carmen, Yi Ching, Chiraag and Jean, raised the profile of UKSLSS and forged excellent relationships with stakeholders both within and outside of the society, allowing my team and I to ride on their coattails this year. The Editorial Committee, headed by Herman and Kelvin, also ensured that the UKSLSS’s flagship publication—the Singapore Comparative Law Review (SCLR), lived up to its billing as a showcase of the immense jurisprudential knowledge of Singapore law students educated in the United Kingdom, for the first time under its new name. On behalf of my team, I wish them all the very best in the new academic year. The incoming Executive Committee, namely, Joshua (VP and Sponsorship Director), Valerie (Secretary), Annabelle (Finance Director), Si Wen (Marketing Director), Edwin (Editor-in-Chief) and I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve. It is a privilege, one that we do not take lightly. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UKSLSS, we promise you that we will give our best, and while we may not always succeed in whatever we set out to do, it must not, and would not be for a lack of trying. I would now like to share with you our plans for the upcoming year:
Providing updates on the latest legal developments
We will be producing a monthly newsletter starting from the month of November 2018. Our Editor-in-Chief, Edwin, has formed a team of very able editors to contribute to this cause. The purpose of the newsletters is to provide you with short and timely updates on the Singapore legal scene and will include both past and new interviews conducted by the editors with various stakeholders. I commend the newsletter team in advance for their monumental effort in balancing this commitment with their studies. The team is constantly looking for contributions from all our members, including as resident writers. For our inaugural issue, we included an interview with Jerrold Soh, Co-Founder of Lex Quanta, a legal tech start-up which aims to build legally-sensitive data analytics. In the December issue, Shermaine Lim, one of our very own editors, brings to our attention the first Bitcoin Trial in Singapore.
2. Furnishing opportunities to adapt to these changes
We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities that will help our members adapt to the evolving challenges that confront the profession. For a start, we are planning to organise an Artificial Intelligence Workshop during the summer in 2019, which will be conducted by INTELLLEX—a Singapore legal tech start-up. We are arranging for a comprehensive programme that spans across 3-4 weekends in Singapore to get members to participate and engage with legal technology.
3. Bridging the gap with the stakeholders
On the 14th of November, we hosted Professor Walter Woon, Dean of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE) and former Attorney-General (2008-2010) at the High Commission of Singapore in London, in conjunction with the Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU). Professor Woon discussed the performance of students in the Part A Bar Exams, with particular emphasis on Criminal and Company Law, before providing tips on how to prepare for them in advance. We also discussed the recent developments in the legal profession both at home and abroad, including the proposed changes in 2023 to the training regime in Singapore.
On the 24th of November, we also successfully organised the VacScheme Helpdesk 2018—an event where we invite Singaporean lawyers working in London, many of whom are UKSLSS alumni, to be back as panellists to share their varied experiences at the different law firms. It was a great opportunity for our members, particularly for those who are preparing their applications for vacation schemes, but also for those in their first year to get an early idea on what working as an English lawyer in the UK entails. We invited both associates and trainees for the networking event, which was followed by a dinner session.
In January, we will be holding the Rajah & Tann Recruitment Tea in London, where the recruitment partners will be present to talk to members about applying for an internship or Training Contract back in Singapore.
4. Forging valuable friendships
We hope you will be able to meet new friends, including those from other universities, through the activities of UKSLSS. I would like to thank our University Representatives in advance, who have already planned/will be planning bonding activities for our members, especially the Year 1s who are embarking on their journey of legal education. We hope that you will look forward to meeting new people and making long-lasting friendships!
I hope that the UKSLSS will be able serve your needs, whatever they may be. I reckon the society as a marketplace—you come and find what is relevant for you, take what you need, and then perhaps you can also leave something behind as return, which you never know, may be immeasurably helpful for someone else. While the British playwright W. Somerset Maugham was remarkably insouciant in The Summing Up:
“We live in uncertain times and our all may yet be taken from us. With enough plain food to satisfy my small appetite, a room to myself, books from a public library, pens and paper, I should regret nothing,”
with camaraderie, hard work and the hunger to succeed, we could perhaps choose to put up a good fight first. I wish you all the very best in the new academic year of 2018/19.
Koh Cheng Jun
Executive Committee 2018/19
United Kingdom Singaporean Law Students’ Society
Adelle Yii, 2017/18
I would like to begin by thanking the previous Executive Committee, for the tremendous effort they have invested in leading the Society and serving its interests. I would like to express my gratitude to the previous Executive Committee – Brandon, Hasif, Nicole, Shu Wen, Le Win, Andria, Ji Yang, and Faye for their hard work and constant dedication to the Society. They have kept the interests of the Society in mind throughout the year, and have given the incoming Executive Committee a strong foundation to work from.
On behalf of the incoming committee, consisting of Ashwati, Jieying, Yiching, Chiraag, Carmen, Jean, and Herman, I would like to assure members that we will continue to put our utmost best into maintaining and improving the work of the UKSLSS. We would also like to thank the Board of Advisors for putting their trust in us and giving us the opportunity to serve the Society. The Board of Advisors consists of Mr Paul Tan, Ms Karin Lai, Mr Josephus Tan, and Ms Shobna Chandran. This year, the incoming Committee would like to increase the presence of the Board of Advisors in the Society’s activities.
As many of you would know, the oversupply of lawyers in Singapore and the cut in paid training contract seats, is a worry that will constantly be in the back of our minds. This is coupled with news of the increasing difficulty of the Singapore Bar Examinations. The delisting of several universities from the Scheduled Approved Universities may also be an area of concern for some of you. Despite the trying times ahead, the incoming Committee would like to assure all students, that the Society will continue to serve their needs, regardless of which university they are in. We will also endeavour to cater our events to address these concerns, which will be touched on in greater detail below.
The incoming Committee would like to forge a stronger community and continually provide support for our members, especially given the changes in Singapore’s legal market. We would like to tailor our events to address these issues and we believe that continuing to work with SYNC and our sponsor firms, will help us to achieve this aim. To further face the increasing difficulty in securing training contracts, the Committee intends to expand the areas of law covered during our events.
The incoming Committee has an exciting calendar filled for 2017-2018 and I would like to give you a brief outline of what to expect.
Diversifying areas of law during events
The Committee has recognised that majority of events offered by the UKSLSS are very much focused on the Corporate and Commercial aspect of law. This is something that we will continue to support, but given the high levels of competition in these areas, we believe it would be beneficial to venture into other sectors of law, such as Criminal and Family Law. This is especially relevant, considering the shortage of lawyers Singapore now faces in these areas. Therefore, we would like to provide a platform for students to better understand the works in these sectors, keeping their options open for future career plans.
In order to achieve this, the Committee intends to reach out to small and medium sized firms, to offer more events focusing on Criminal and Civil work. It is our plan to include both formal career and networking based events, as well as slightly more informal, small scale events, to allow students to speak to professionals in these areas and properly understand the realities of working in these sectors. We will also do our best to connect with lawyers in these fields, to contribute to the Society, either through our events or through the publication of articles.
The Committee would also like to diversify the areas of law touched on during the annual Singapore Legal Forum.
This year, the Legal Forum included concurrent sessions, where participants could indicate an interest in a specific area of law. We would like to continue with this, whilst contacting speakers from a wider range of practice areas, to give participants a broader view on potential career options.
Upcoming events for 2017-2018
The CJC-UKSLSS Court Friends Programme was proven to be popular and successful, having received many applicants last summer. Successful applicants went through a three-week rotation in the State Courts and Family Courts, giving them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with Court procedures. The incoming Committee intends to continue this partnership with the CJC and is looking at ways to improve on the structure of the programme, for the benefit of participants next year. This includes the possibility of extending the duration of the programme, allowing participants to spend more time in each department.
On the whole, we also intend to continue events which our members have indicated an interest in, or have found beneficial to them. The VacScheme Helpdesk, Rajah & Tann Tea session, Singapore Legal Forum and Law Ball are just some of the events which we intend to hold. The Committee is currently looking at how we can further enhance these events, as well as trying to increase the number of open days of Law Firms made available to our members this year.
Finally, I would like to assure members that the Committee will be accountable to you, ensuring that our actions and decisions are in the best interest of the Society. If you feel that the Committee is not serving your interests effectively, please do not hesitate to drop us an email as we would like to hear from you personally. We are more than willing to address your concerns via email. The Committee is also accountable to the Board of Advisors and we will ensure that they are consulted before any decisions affecting the Society are made.
Joining the UKSLSS Team
Over the next few days, we will be opening several opportunities for our members to join us in serving the Society. The first opening will be the call for University Representatives, who will be the bridge between the Committee and the students in the respective universities. This will also allow the Committee to get feedback from students, as well as listen to new initiatives and ideas.
Following this, we will be opening an opportunity for members to join our Editorial Committee. This will allow you to work on articles, which will contribute to the final edition of Lex Loci. This year’s edition saw many well-written and academic articles and it is our aim to continue this high standard of writing. We intend to call for applications earlier this year, in order to begin working on articles, which will facilitate the collation and production of the final publication. Please keep a look out for further information with regards to this!
Members will also be given the opportunity to step up and assist us during the Singapore Legal Forum. A number of roles will be made available, which members can sign up for, on a voluntary basis. These roles range from emceeing and ushering, to assisting us in administrative and logistic work. More information with regards to these opportunities will likely be made available after your summer examinations.
The Committee is constantly looking at ways we can improve the Society, or further tailor it to suit the changing needs of our members. As such, I would like to call upon our members to consider these opportunities, as it provides a platform for them to serve their fellow students, but also constantly provide feedback to the Committee. We are also open to suggestions throughout the year from any of our members and General Enquiries can be directed to myself, via email. Specific enquiries with regards to University Representatives and the Editorial Committee can be directed to Jieying (Secretary) and Herman (Editor-in-Chief).
It is my hope that this Society will be one that helps you forge lasting bonds and one that assists you in chasing your aspirations. I wish you all the absolute best in all that you do, be it academic or not, and I hope that you will continue to support the UKSLSS.
Executive Committee 2017-2018
United Kingdom Singaporean Law Students’ Society
Brandon Lim, 2016/17
It gives me great pleasure and honour to be penning the President’s Message for the academic year of 2016/2017. The incoming Committee is excited to be taking over the reins from the previous Executive Committee. I am immensely thankful to Aakash, Shang Hsuen, Clara, Yu Song, Kristin, Daniel, Danica and David, for whom the heartiest congratulations are in order for a job well done.
They have brought the Society to much greater heights over the course of the year, and laid a strong foundation for us, the incoming Committee to build upon. On behalf of the new Committee consisting of Hasif (Vice President), Nicole (General Secretary), Jiyang (Public Relations Director), Andria (Professional and Academic Services Director), Lewin (Marketing Director), Shuwen (Finance Director) and I, would like to affirm our commitment to continue this legacy of excellence and will endeavour to live up to the highest standards of professionalism and efficiency that the previous Executive Committee has set. We would also like to thank the Society’s Board of Advisors for their faith and trust in us. They consist of highly esteemed members of the profession, namely Mr Paul Tan, Ms Karin Lai and Mr Josephus Tan.
By virtue of tradition, the incoming President of the Society gives an overall view of the initiatives that the Executive Committee has in place for our members, but before that I would like to touch base with the underlying principle that ties our initiatives together. It is our sincere wish that we converge as a community this year and go beyond the career aspect of things. We believe building bonds within the society is very important to access the level of support we will all need when times get hard. These are the bonds we will carry for life and will be critical for longer-term career success.
The oversupply of lawyers within our legal profession back home will no doubt still be a ringing issue within our student body. The delisting of a great proportion of UK Universities from the Scheduled Approved Universities list has been in place for a few years now, and I think it moot to debate the merits or demerits of the move. As students and aspiring solicitors and advocates, we should all aim to place ourselves in the best possible footing to find our place within the profession. The Society will aim to help you in this. We will provide opportunities for you to get involved and meet members of the profession who can offer invaluable advice.
The academic year of 2016/2017 is an exciting one for the Society. Do allow me the opportunity to give you a glimpse into what we have planned.
Remaining Cognizant of Your Needs
I have pushed forth to my Executive Committee that at the end of the day, we are ourselves firstly members. To that end, we must think firstly from the shoes of you, our valued member, and seek constantly to be relevant and cognizant of your needs and aspirations.
It is also imperative that the UKSLSS remains relevant and committed to our valued Sponsors and Partners, and my committee will continue reaching out to them to ensure we serve the diverse needs of our members.
As previously iterated by Aakash, my predecessor, the UKSLSS remains committed and dedicated to the law, providing competent and proficient lawyers to the profession. In this regard, the Editorial Committee will continue to produce articles that are relevant to our members. We will be upgrading the look of the Society’s website, and our “Practice Area Insights” feature will continue to be updated with new insights from members of the profession to ensure you stay up to date with developments in practice areas you are interested in.
Opportunities Beyond Conventional Routes
The legal sector back home is constantly changing and evolving with time, and the Society is no different. We constantly seek to embrace these changes to be in tune with these developments and offer more to our members. The move by the Ministry of Law to open a third law school in SIM University (UniSIM) in the academic year of 2017 is aimed at filling shortages of practitioners within the areas of family and criminal law, and the Society would like to offer our members more opportunities in these areas.
We are considering engaging and reaching out towards small and medium sized firms practising in the fields of criminal and contentious work, to offer our members more opportunities to those who may be interested in these fields of practice. Do look out for our announcements about these upcoming initiatives throughout the course of the year.
This year will also see the return of the popular CJC-UKSLSS Court Friends programme. We had an outstanding turnout last year from the programme, and I believe this has generated significant interest towards the area of community law. We will be pushing forth this programme to our members at the soonest opportunity!
Getting Involved With The UKSLSS
As the society progresses forward, I humbly put out a call to all our members to consider stepping up to serve the UKSLSS. The next few weeks will see opportunities for you to get involved, be it on our Editorial Committee as a contributing editor, or as a University Representative to put forth the interests and views of your fellow peers in law school.
The members of the Committee have undertaken our roles to better serve the Society, and as the saying goes, to “be the change you wish to see in this world”. The legal community both in the UK as well as back home is a tight-knit one, and it is my sincere wish that the Society can help bridge you and the larger legal community. In the end, we all seek to find and make our place in this profession. I hope that you will lend us your support and participate in the Society’s initiatives that we have planned for this upcoming year. The Society is very much yours, as it is ours.
I begin my presidency with the knowledge of the past challenges that we have faced in the last few years, and move towards the future remaining confident that the Society will continue to be relevant and helpful to the needs of our members. It is my hope to make this Society as open and as receptive to the myriad of aspirations and needs of all our members and give you the opportunity to mould the Society into your own as well. The Executive Committee is also constantly open to any potential suggestions or ideas, so please feel free to personally get in touch with us should you have any.
I wish you the very best in the upcoming year ahead, in all that you do and all that you aspire to be. You are not alone in this journey, and together we will build a stronger UKSLSS community poised for the future.
Executive Committee 2016-2017
United Kingdom Singapore Law Students' Society