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Past Presidents' Messages (2005-2010)

Victor Siek, 2009/10

The aim of the UKSLSS is to support Singaporean law students in the United Kingdom, and maintain their professional links with the Singaporean community both in the United Kingdom and back home. To this end, the committee has planned a programme of talks, seminars and forums with you in mind. In particular, the UKSLSS looks forward to welcoming the Attorney-General of Singapore, Professor Walter Woon SC, who will be speaking to our members in early November. We also look forward to furthering our success of previous years with the Singapore


Legal Forum 2010, which promises to be the landmark legal event and career fair of the year for all Singaporean law students. Details and invitation for these, and other events, will be sent to you closer to the respective dates. We look forward to seeing you.

As your contact point with the legal industry in Singapore, the UKSLSS will continue to keep you abreast of any major changes and will be happy to answer any queries you might have, or put you in touch with the people who can.


The committee is pleased to receive any feedback or suggestions, and are keen to get to know you if you are interested in helping out with the society.

It remains for me to wish everyone a fruitful academic year. We'll be in touch.

Victor Siek


Executive Committee 2009-2010
United Kingdom Singapore Law Students' Society

Debra Lam, 2008/09

As a society that functions to serve law students studying abroad, the UKSLSS continually endeavors to bridge the gap between the Singapore-UK law student community and the Singapore legal profession. One of the most successful ways of achieving this is through our inaugural Singapore Legal Forum.


This year SLF 2009 promises a greater turnout than our previous forum and there could not be a more appropriate time to organise an event of this scale. The legal sector in Singapore looks set to experience radical changes over the next few years fuelled by the recommendations made by Justice V K Rajah and his committee in their 2007 review of the legal services sector. In particular, under the Qualifying Foreign Law Practice Scheme, six internationally recognized foreign firms have been granted licenses to practice Singapore law. Does such an entry bode ill for local firms reeling from the global recession?

Closer to the hearts of our members are the reforms made to the requirements for admission to the Singapore Bar and the possible move towards restructuring the pupilage programme into a training contract programme similar to that of the UK. How this and the setting up of a formal Institute of Legal Education in the near future will affects us remains to be seen.


As such, SLF 2009 will adopt the theme, ‘Our Legal Landscape’. The Forum will be held at the iconic Supreme Court and will feature a keynote address by the Honourable Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, a panel discussion led by a panel of Singapore’s illustrious legal elite including Davinder Singh SC of Drew & Napier, Lucien Wong, Managing Partner of Allen & Gledhill and Michael Furmston, Dean of the SMU Law Faculty as well as an exhibition moot and career fair.


The committee looks forward to meeting you there regardless of whether you are a law student, practitioner or just scouting to see what the legal arena is like.


Wishing you the very best in your academic endeavors.

Debra Lam


Executive Committee 2008-2009
United Kingdom Singapore Law Students' Society

Zhuang Hui Wu, 2007/08

In the Exciting Times Ahead


There has never been a time more exciting than this. From our humble beginnings organising recruitment tea sessions with a handful of law firms, our Society has truly come a long way.


Over summer, with the support of our colleagues from the NUS Law School, we had successfully organised the inaugural Singapore Legal Forum at the Supreme Court of Singapore. The Forum featured a keynote address by the Honourable the Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, a dialogue session chaired by then President of the Law Society Philip Jeyaratnam SC, an exhibition moot judged by Judge of Appeal Justice VK Rajah, Dean of the NUS Law School Tan Cheng Han SC, and Partner of Rajah & Tann Francis Xavier, as well as a Law Fair by Allen & Gledhill, Drew & Napier, Rajah & Tann, Wong Partnership, Rodyk & Davidson, Stamford Law Corporation, Khattar Wong, Shook Lin & Bok, Ince & Co, and the Singapore Legal Service, among others. In only its first year, the Forum was attended by over 500 participants, was featured prominently in the media, especially on Channel NewsAsia, and was highly regarded by the entire legal fraternity.


We have subsequently had our Annual General Meeting at the Law Society of Singapore, at which then President of the Law Society Philip Jeyaratnam SC delivered the closing address. For the second year running, we have jointly organised a welcome tea session in London with Contact Singapore, inviting alumni of the Society to share their views on career choices in law with many of our members. Our annual publication Lex Loci continues to feature a wide range of articles from recruitment, work experience, lifestyle and interviews, and is circulated among our members, UK universities, law firms and government bodies. We hope to continue to hold social drinks in London and in Singapore, vacation recruitment tea sessions with law firms, a tea session with the Singapore Law Society or the Singapore Academy of Law, as well as to continue the success of the Singapore Legal Forum, working together with the Law Schools of NUS and even SMU this year.


In many ways, we have silenced the sceptics among us who have said from the beginning that none of this was possible. Nothing happens unless first a dream. I am heartened by our success, yet am reminded from time to time that if we have seen farther, it is by ‘standing on the shoulders’ of our predecessors. Most recently, the Singapore Government has accepted key recommendations of Justice VK Rajah’s committee on the comprehensive review of the legal services sector. As a graduating law student, I am moved to know that our initiatives as an independent student body have been met with nothing less than overwhelming support and encouragement by the practitioners – the very same people in our positions not so many years ago; the very same people we will become not so many years later.


I am grateful for the support you have given us in the past years, and hope to continue to have your support in the exciting times ahead.

Zhuang Hui Wu


Executive Committee 2007-2008
United Kingdom Singapore Law Students' Society

Josephus Tan, 2006/07

Laying the First Brick


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.” - Henry D. Thoreau (1817 – 1862)


UKSLSS in the year 2007, shared a crisis similar to the 1965 newly-independent Singapore - one of survivorship. With limited resources but one vision (that of bridging the gap between our members and the Singapore legal fraternity laid in place by our immediate predecessors), this Exco sets off with a mission to ensure the continual relevance of the Society.


In the UK, we co-hosted a drinks reception with Contact Singapore where our members were able to touch base with Singapore officials. We also assisted the Overseas Singaporean Unit in their Distinguished Business Leaders Series which featured Mr Davinder Singh, SC. In Singapore, we participated in the annual British Council Pre-Departure Fair and organised the inaugural Singapore Legal Forum which featured many prominent practitioners and members of the judiciary. In the midst of these projects, we have also not forgotten the importance of image and created an official coat-of-arms, business cards, and a professional website to give formality. Our magazine Lex Loci has also undergone a massive revamp in terms of contents and design, not to mention a substantial increase in page numbers.


While progress is good, as the Chinese saying goes, "to start a business is hard work but to maintain it is harder." So we need more than just groundbreaking initiatives, we need able successors too. With this in mind, the Exco unanimously infused a meritocratic scheme into our election last year where nominees had to go through a panel interview made up of members of the legal fraternity. It is only through this scheme that we are able to secure the best talents for the job and maintain a certain level of standard in an essentially student-run society.


Prior to our AGM, we were also fortunate to have been invited by The Law Society of Singapore to participate in their annual Law Awareness Week where our members were given an opportunity to experience pro bono work in the legal clinics. Through this project, we hope we have instilled in our members the values of the law, one that comprises not just technical competence, knowledge and judgment but also compassion, service and humility. As we move forward, I urge us all to remember why we chose the most honoured and prestigious profession; and in so remembering that we may endeavour to study and practise the law in the most distinguished way possible.


In closing, I thank you for supporting the UKSLSS in her most crucial and trying year. We made it through the rain but like Singapore, we did not just survive, we flourished. Looking back now, I am glad we dreamt big and laid the first brick.


I wish you the very best for your future studies with the law - and beyond the law.

Josephus Tan


Executive Committee 2006-2007
United Kingdom Singapore Law Students' Society

Gary Loh, 2005/06

The Challenges Ahead after World Cup 2006


The year 2006 has been a good one for the UKSLSS. Quite apart from the chance of greatly indulging and experiencing the World Cup fever, we have been enjoying very fruitful results from building upon the strong foundations laid by our predecessors in the Society.


With that, the UKSLSS has made contact with over 300 Singaporean law students studying in 19 approved UK universities. This represents more than 95% of the total Singapore-UK law student cohort. We are heartened to see many of them expressing their interest and desire to share our vision of bridging the gap between the Singapore-UK law student community and the Singapore legal profession.


The recent recommendations on the supply of lawyers, announced by the Minister of Law, Professor S Jayakumar, are a timely welcome to the student legal community. Indeed, the relaxation of rules on the requirements for foreign law graduates to enter the Singapore legal profession, will pave the way for more students who are aspiring lawyers but who remain intimidated by the stringent requirements.


The Singapore legal landscape is evolving at a breakneck speed. We are already one of the top arbitration centres in the world and now foreign lawyers can look forward to practising locally alongside their Singaporean counterparts in the areas of banking and finance and corporate regional work in the future. How would the industry react to the idea of allowing foreign talent into the legal profession? Would the future of local lawyers be undermined by the influx of foreign legal talent?


As a Society that serves the interests of the law student community, we encourage all of you to be forward-thinking, to remain competitive and be a part of this challenge of positioning Singapore as the leading hub for legal services in Asia within the next five to ten years. Needless to say, it will be an exciting time for you and me.


I wish all of you the very best in your academic endeavours.

Gary Loh


Executive Committee 2005-2006
United Kingdom Singapore Law Students' Society

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