Before I started my attachment at RWY, I was terrified as I didn’t have a clue as to what was going to happen. The only idea I had was that it was going to be different from my previous attachment at a different law firm. I recalled Richard telling me during my interview with him that I would be treated as a lawyer. With the little experience I had, the idea of being treated as a lawyer was extremely daunting. Yet, a little part of me was excited that I would finally get a glimpse of life as a lawyer.
My first day started off on a good note. I got to know others at the firm as well as how the firm worked. I spent my first day learning and doing general clerical tasks. At the risk of sounding like an ignorant person, I actually learnt to do things such as posting letters (i.e knowing what stamps to put, learning about the AR post etc.) I also had the opportunity to learn the clerical side of legal work from Kak Sal who was kind enough to sit me down and teach me the whole process of how a legal suit is initiated and what needs to be done (clerical wise) to file a suit. I remember her telling me, “They will never teach you this at law school”.
As time went on, I started taking on other tasks such as learning how to draft an opinion letter, writing formal letters to clients, and preparing statement of claims and also grounds of appeal for an employment case originating from the Jabatan Tenaga Buruh. I even had the opportunity of writing my own legal opinion to a client under the supervision of one of the legal associates, Ezhan. In addition to that, I also went to court several times. During my court visits, I was able to sit in for awhile to watch criminal proceedings in the magistrate courts, visit the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya (where I met and shook hands with several “star” lawyers such as Edmund Bon and Gobind Singh Deo and also saw Karpal Singh from a distance) as well as to watch a cross examination take place (which was actually quite dramatic). I also had the opportunity of observing how a case is dealt with in the Jabatan Tenaga Buruh.
During my attachment at RWY, I was also fortunate enough to have a glimpse of what conveyancing is like. I learnt about the various forms involved in conveyancing but more importantly, I realised how meticulous one has to be when it comes to conveyancing. I had the opportunity to work with Sarah where she took time off to teach me even the smallest things like formatting on Microsoft Word noting that even small matters such as formatting can have an impact on how you come across as a lawyer to others.
I was also roped in to help out in the Safer Malaysia project. During the planning of the candlelight vigil held by Safer Malaysia, I was able to join in the meetings with several influential people such as the OCPD of Petaling Jaya and Eugene Teh of PEMANDU. The experience of being part of the Safer Malaysia team is definitely an invaluable experience as it is not everyday where one has the opportunity of being involved in a community project of such a scale.
To cut the long story short, my experience at Richard Wee and Yip was definitely enriching. From knowing so little about what it is like to be a lawyer, I definitely have learnt that being a lawyer is not so much about the glitz and the glam like what we see on television but a lot of hard work and perhaps paper work. I also realised that I have so much more to learn not only in terms of legal knowledge but also in terms of character. Having sat in and observing how the lawyers at RWY worked, I realised that it is very important to pay close attention to every detail and to work hard to prepare as much as you can. More importantly, a lawyer must always be organised. Having completed my attachment programme at RWY I realised that what Kak Sal told me at the beginning of my attachment was true. They really don’t teach you all these at law school. To everyone at RWY, thank you so much for your patience and willingness to teach me.
Tan Sue Vern