When I started my three-month legal attachment program in Messrs. Richard Wee & Yip on 20th February 2012, I didn’t know what to expect. To be honest, all I knew was that I had to complete this program by hook or by crook, and I had to do my best, as it would ultimately benefit me and make it easier for me to understand the subjects that I would be taking in my final degree year in Multimedia University.
(Well, that, and also that if I didn’t pass this program, I would not be able to graduate on time… But that’s a different matter.)
On my first day of attachment, Mr. Richard gave me an organizer (two, actually) and an exercise book, making it very clear that in order to be a good lawyer, you must be organized. I was also given a reference book on conveyancing procedures to study and understand the subject better.
Thereafter, I spent my first week in the firm mainly focusing on general/clerical tasks. I have also helped out in the Conveyancing department by doing some basic tasks such as filling in CKHT forms and preparing letters for presentation of documents to the Income Tax department. Puan Sarah had also given me a closed file to study in order for me to understand the general procedures of sub-sale of properties. Although I did not manage to participate in every procedure for a sub-sale, Puan Sarah would nevertheless try to help me develop a better understanding of the process by explaining to me via various “Conveyancing 101” sessions. Miss Penny had also given me opportunities to compile relevant documents for presentation to the land office, call clients, and prepare letters for presentation.
Apart from that, I was also given the opportunity of helping out with the litigation files. This experience is truly an eye-opening one, and it made me realize that being a lawyer really isn’t as easy or glamorous as per the impression I had after watching one too many reruns of Ally McBeal when I was younger.
For instance, a lawyer must be very meticulous in his work. Both Partners of the firm are truly my inspiration as they would pay attention to every single detail of the work that they’re dealing with. This is very important as every mistake could lead to an unwanted result. The legal associates of the firm, Mr. Ezhan and freshly called to bar Mr. Ng also followed in the Partners’ footsteps and the firm treats every client’s case with extra care and attention.
I have also learned that it is very important to be organized and disciplined in our work. An unorganized lawyer would attend to his case in court unprepared, and justice cannot wait for a lawyer’s endless flipping of documents in court.
Of course, being a legal attachment student didn’t mean that I would be treated like a normal student. Both Mr. Richard and Mr. Yip had given me a taste of what it’s like to be a real lawyer by allowing me to handle some files on my own (under their strict supervision). It was a risk that they chose to take, and I am grateful for being given the chance to do so.
Moreover, I have also learned to do a lot of things, such as: doing legal researches on various areas of law; drafting Letter of Demand; (an attempt at) drafting a Submission after Trial; attending full hearings in court (and recording the Notes of Proceedings); attending an arbitration matter in KLRCA; participating in the preparation for an Injunction matter and more.
One thing that I appreciated most about attaching in RWY was that it has allowed me to grow from my mistakes. Granted, I still make a fair share of mistakes today… But what I have learned from RWY is that to err is human; what matters most is for you to find out how to remedy the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to never repeat the same mistake again. I have also learned that it is okay to ask whenever you don’t understand the task at hand, and all members of the firm would never hesitate to lend a helping hand.
That being said, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for all the careless mistakes I’ve made during my time in the firm, and thank you so much for never giving up on me.
So thank you, RWY, for your patience and kind guidance; for treating me like a part of the amazing family; and for giving me a chance to observe, make mistakes, and learn for the past three months. I am forever indebted.
Wong Jyh Ling