Archive for the ‘Chambering’ Category

Sometimes Your Choices Are More Important Than You Working Hard

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

career growth

(This article is written by Eddie Law, the recruitment director of eLawyer Recruitment and was published in RE:LEX Malacca Bar Magazine Feb 2015 issue)

Growing up in an Asian culture means that our parents or elders always told (or tell, depending on how adamant they are) us that working hard is the key to success Yes,  in many ways, hard work does pay for success. No one should ever be taught to be lazy. The degree of hard work is also likely to affect the speed with which you achieve your goal . However, have you ever thought that making the right choices is as important, if not more important than merely working hard

Everyone has that friend in school – the one who did not seem to work as hard as you did but achieved more than you ever did? Why?

Allow me to illustrate this concept with the following analogy:

A person who wants to succeed is determined to get from where he is to where he wants to be, that is, from Point A to Point B. A few options are available for this person. He may choose to RUN. He may work very hard on it, and get closer to his destination with each painful step, perhaps at 5 kilometers an hour.

Alternatively, he may choose to DRIVE to Point B at 100 kilometers an hour. Finally, he may choose to fly at 1000 kilometers an hour.

Which which mode of transportation would you choose to reach your destination? When put this way, is the answer not obvious

Choosing the right platform or means to your goal not only helps you reach your destination in a shorter time, it also allows you the liberty of spending quality time with your love one during the journey.

The old school of thought was that the one who seems to be putting in the most effort is to be lauded (for example, the one who chooses to run would definitely sweat more and seem to be working very hard), and the one who does not seem to be putting in as much effort is frowned upon (for example, the one who takes the plan seems more comfortable). However, in today’s competitive world, perhaps a paradigm shift is due.

Applying this to your legal career, you have probably worked very hard to get through law school. Upon your graduation, there is myriad of options and possibilities for your legal career. For instance, you can venture into private practice or work as an in-house lawyer, serve the government, become an academician, or do something totally unrelated to law.

The choice you make matters! If you choose the right job, the right area of practice, the right firm, the right employer, the right career path or even the right partner and clients, these right choices will make a significant impact in sending you off to the road of success more quickly and smoothly. Choosing the right platform will save you some unnecessary hard work However, if you make the wrong choice, no matter how hard you work and how much effort you put in, you will still be shying away from where you want to be. Working hard per se is insufficient if you do not choose the right direction or platform.

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FIRST STEP TO LAUNCHING YOUR LEGAL CAREER- Legal Career Talk

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Following a successful initiation of  Building Your Legal Career Series last year, the Series is back again this year to provide more support for fresh law graduates, law students and young lawyers.

At the beginning of a journey, we all have questions. It is no different at the beginning of your legal career path. Making the right choices there becomes important.

The most significant question is: How do we decide on these choices?

‘FIRST STEP TO LAUNCHING YOUR LEGAL CAREER’

answers that!!

What would you gain from this seminar??

1. Knowledge and insight to the landscape of legal career market in Malaysia.
2. Understanding the career options for lawyers / law graduates.
3. Guidance on how to build your legal career path.
4. Guidance on how to choose a law firm for pupillage.
5. Useful interview tips to succeed at interviews.
6. The awareness of your own personality and the ability to match it with a suitable area of practice.

 

The details of the seminar are as follows:

Date: 13 October, 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 2:00pm – 3.30pm
Venue: eLawyer Training Room,
12B (2nd floor), Jalan Kenari 5
Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong
Fees: RM40(including a personality test)

 

Our Speaker Mr. Eddie Law, is the founder of  eLawyer.com.my, the leading recruitment portal in Malaysia. Prior to starting eLawyer, Eddie was a private practitioner with a reputable law firm in KL, thereafter he was working as an in-house legal counsel in an IT company. His practice and in-house experience provided Eddie with valuable insight on and understanding of what law firms and corporations look for when recruiting legal personnel. Drawing on his experience and knowledge, Eddie has successfully placed lawyers with different level of seniority and expertise with law firms and corporations in Malaysia.

Eddie’s clients range from small to large law firms, PLC, MNC, financial institutions, regulatory organizations, oil & gas company and international companies.

 For more information about this seminar please click here to download the flyer.

To RSVP please email your Name, Contact Number, Position, Organisation to Sarah at sarah@elawyer.com.my and direct bank in to our Public Bank Account: 3153189919 (Payee: Joined Web Solutions) BEFORE 9th October, 2012. Thereafter, bring the bank-in-slip to exchange for entry ticket on that day.

 

                                                                                                   

Malaysia Multimedia University Law Graduates are Exempted from CLP Exam

Friday, May 15th, 2009

On May 6, we were told by one of our readers that the law graduates of Malaysia Multimedia University (MMU) is now exempted from the Certificate of Legal Practise (CLP) Exam. In fact, the reader came to know about this from a student’s blog .

After doing some preliminary verification, we immediately posted a thread at eLawyer Facebook announcing this “gospel”. To our surprise, in less than 2 days we received a total of 22 comments on the thread which consist of mixture feedback (some welcome, some disappointed, some happy about it and some were upset comments).

On 14 May, based on a reliable unofficial source, MMU have in fact received the exemption letter from the Legal Profession Qualifying Board few weeks ago. They have communicated this information to the existing students. However, till today there is yet any official announcement on this matter. We believe this is due to the fact that such exemption is only effective and valid after the same have been gazetted per Section 3 of the Legal Profession Act, like what happen in UUM case.  

We were further told that such exemption will be reviewed by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board every 2 years.

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UUM Law Graduates are exempted from CLP Exam

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

If you still remember there was a big cry foul over CLP ruling by the UUM law graduates in September 2008. After we have reported it, we have received an open letter written by an annonymous reader (believing to be one of the UUM law graduate) highlighting his/her plight pending the completion of the recognisation process of UUM law degree by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB).

This morning, we have again received a comment posted by one of our reader, Ani Munirah, about the recognisation of the UUM law degree by the LPQB.

We reproduce the press statement below (together with the English translation version):

KENYATAAN AKHBAR PADA 23/4/2009

Adalah dimaklumkan bahawa pengiktirafan program Ijazah Sarjana Muda Undang-undang (Kepujian), oleh Lembaga Kelayakan Profesion Undang-undang, Malaysia telah pun diwartakan pada 16 April 2009 dalam warta kerajaan P.U.(B)119 berkenaan pemberitahuan di bawah Seksyen 3 Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976 [Akta 166].

Notifikasi ini melayakkan pelajar Undang-undang yang telah tamat pengajian Ijazah Sarjana Muda Undang-undang (Kepujian), Universiti Utara Malaysia untuk menjalani latihan guaman mereka (chambering) bermula pada tarikh tersebut.

Universiti Utara Malaysia mengucapkan ribuan terima kasih kepada semua pihak yang telah memberikan kerjasama dan sokongan dalam usaha untuk mendapat pengiktirafan profesional ini.

Daripada:
Prof. Madya Dr Asmah Laili Hj Yeon
Penolong Naib Canselor
Kolej Undang-undang, Kerajaan dan Pengajian Antarabangsa
Universiti Utara Malaysia

PRESS STATEMENT on 23 April 2009 (English transalation)

This is to inform that the recognition of Law Degree (Honours) programme by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board Malaysia have been gazetted on 16 April 2009 in government gazette P. U. (B)119 pertaining to notification under Section 3 of the Legal Profession Act 1976 [Act 166].

This notification qualifies law student who has completed from the Law Degree (Honours) from University Utara Malaysia to undergo pupilage in chamber starting from the date mentioned herein.

University Utara Malaysia express thousands gratitude for those who have rendered cooperation and support in the effort of obtaining this professional recognition.

From:
Associates Professor Dr. Asmah Laili Hj Yeon
Assistant Vice-Chancellor
College of Law, Government and International Studies
Universiti Utara Malaysia

We have further made a call to UUM and have spoken to one of the officer who verified that the press statement was indeed true and we were informed that the same was also reported by 2 local Malay newspaper Kosmo on 18 April and Sinar Harian on 19 April 2009.

You may also read more about this news in the PROUUM Online.

Under section 10 of the Legal Professiona Act:
” The High Court may at its discretion and subject to the Act admits as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court – (a) any qualified person; and (b) any articled clerk who has complied with section 25…”

Section 3 of the Act defines the “qualified person” as any person who-
“(a) has pass the final examination leading to the degreee of Bachelor of Laws of the University Malaya, the University of Malaya in Singapore, the Univeristy of Singapore or the National University of Singapore;

(b) is a barrister-at-law of England;

(c) is in possession of such other qualification as may by notification in the Gazette be declared by the Board to be sufficient to make a person a qualified person for the purpose of this Act”

As such, this case is likely to fall under section 3 (c) of the Act and the relevant UUM law graduates may need to wait for the LPQB to declare them as qualified person before they can proceed to undergoing pupilage in chamber.

Based on our understanding, there were 3 batches of law graduates from UUM thus far. Is this meant that all the previous and future UUM law graduates with honours degree are now qualified to undergoing pupilage in chamber without the need to pass the CLP Exam? or it only applies to the law students who graduate after the gezzatted date?

Common Bar Exam

Friday, April 10th, 2009

(Reproduced with permission of the KL Bar Publications Committee. This article first appeared in Relevan Issue No. 0208)

There has been much discourse lately on whether there should be a common examination for all law graduates before they enter the legal profession. The President of the Malaysian Bar, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevesan, was quoted by the New Sunday Times (April 6, 2006) as saying that there was a need for “…… a common examination for all law graduates entering the legal profession, irrespective of where they had pursued their undergraduate degrees.”

The former Minister of Law in the Prime Minister’s Department is reported to have said (in the New Straits Times, May 15, 2006) that “…… the government was looking into introducing a Bar Vocational Course and whether such a model, practiced in the United Kingdom, could be implemented locally.” Relevan speaks to Steven Thiru, Chairman of the Professional Standards and Development Committee of the Bar Council and a member of the Bar Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Common Bar Course, for his views on these developments :-

Q: Do we need a Common Bar Course (“CBC”) as a single entry point into the legal profession in Malaysia?
A: Yes. It would be an important step in our efforts to improve quality at the Bar. It would enable us to deal with the source of the problem, viz, the general deterioration in legal education. A uniform training scheme, in the form of the CBC, would certainly contribute towards enhancing standards.

Q: Is the Bar Council in favour of the CBC, particularly as a replacement of the Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP) and if so, what steps have the Bar Council taken?
A: The Bar Council has advocated for the CBC since the mid 1980’s. We have consistently taken the stand that the CBC should be the ultimate filter for entry into the legal profession. In May this year the Bar Council set up the Ad-Hoc Committee on the CBC. The Committee consist of experienced practitioners1, a senior academician (and formerly a senior practitioner)2 and the senior manager (standards) of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency3.

Q: Can you tell us about the work of the Bar Council’s Ad-Hoc Committee on the CBC?
A: The Committee’s primary task was to craft the syllabus and course content for the proposed CBC. In this regard, we were required to also consider and implement, where possible, the position taken by the Bar Council in the various working papers on the CBC. These were prepared between 1989 to 2003 and include the Morrison Report (1989), Seeking Quality : Bar Council’s Memorandum on Legal Education Reform And Qualifications For Entry Into The Legal Profession (1993), Report on the Review of the CLP (2002) and Bar Council Memorandum On Legal Education Reform (2003).

Q: Has the Committee completed its work?
A: Yes, we have. We have prepared a draft CBC framework which takes into account the Bar Council’s views over the past two decades. We have also made a number fresh proposals which we believe will revolutionise legal training and put us on par with other modern schemes the world-over. The draft CBC proposal is, however, still work-in-progress as it is pending approval by the Bar Council. It is to be tabled for debate at our next Council meeting on October 11, 2008.

Q: Can you tell us the approach adopted by the Committee?
A: As a starting point, the Committee considered the prevailing post-graduate professional training programmes (ie. for advocates and solicitors/barristers and solicitors) in other commonwealth jurisdictions, namely the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada. The experiences of these other jurisdictions were useful as a guideline. However, the Committee did not lose sight of the fact that the profession in Malaysia is fused. Thus, the draft CBC proposal is not a wholesale reproduction of any one of these other jurisdictions (eg. the Bar Vocational Programme in the United Kingdom). The Committee has nevertheless adopted certain critical aspects of these programmes and inculcated them into the draft CBC proposal.

Q: But, will the CBC be just another CLP with a new label?
A: It would not be. We were conscious of the weaknesses in the CLP. We found it to be outdated and it certainly does not, in our view, serve the requirements of the modern legal profession. Also, a survey of the developments in the other jurisdictions show that there has been a demonstrable shift in focus to practical training based on experiential learning and practical/vocational training. The CLP is, regrettably, still largely mired in the old school academic/black-letter law approach sans practical training.

Q: What is the underlying principle for the proposed CBC?
A: The main principle is that it will serve as a single entry point into the legal profession in Malaysia regardless of where the undergraduate qualification is obtained (locally or from foreign universities/colleges of law). There may of course be a list of recognized universities/colleges of law (local and international) which would be determined by the Legal Qualifying Board. This is consistent with the Bar Council’s stand that “…… the check on quality will not be at the undergraduate level ie. entry into law schools but at the professional entry level ie. professional qualifications for entry into the Bar. Thus the final check would be at the entry level into the legal profession.” (see the Bar Council’s Memorandum On Legal Education Reform of 3.1.2003)

Q: Has the Committee also drawn up the objectives of the proposed CBC?
A: Yes. There are broadly six primary objectives and they are as follows :-
(1) The focus of the CBC should be on skills/practical training (as opposed to testing on legal knowledge) to equip the “student-at-law” for legal practice in Malaysia.
(2) The vocational nature of the training will be complimented with academic (substantive law) elements, only where necessary. Thus, the CBC will not deal with substantive law, which should remain the domain of the universities/law colleges.
(3) The CBC must combine the modern experience of other commonwealth jurisdictions and our peculiar requirements (in a fused profession, with the inherent weaknesses).
(4) The CBC should prepare the “student-at-law” for the first two years of practice.
(5) The CBC should also enable the “student-at-law” to choose (if they so desire) to become either an advocate (litigation) or a solicitor (non-litigation). This is achieved by giving the student-at-law the option to fashion their training to cater for their choice.
(6) The CBC must deal with some of the shortcomings in pupillage and enhance the training during pupillage.

Q: What would be the course structure for the CBC?
A: We have proposed that the CBC be conducted in five semesters over a period of twenty months (inclusive of pupillage). In this regard, the first three semesters will entail full time study whilst the remaining two semesters will be conducted part-time together with pupillage. Further, Semester 1, 2 and 3 will consists of compulsory subjects. In semesters 4 and 5 (where the “students-at-law” would be undergoing pupillage), there would be a mixture of compulsory subjects and electives. As noted earlier, by their choice of the electives, the “student-at-law” (now pupil) can start tailoring their training to suit their preferred choice of practice (litigation or non litigation).

Q: Will the CBC be the death knell for pupillage?
A: The Committee is of the view that pupillage should be retained albeit with a reduction in its duration. In this regard, the Committee has proposed that CBC should run partly parallel with pupillage. As stated above, the student-at-law will undertake the CBC on a full-time basis in the first three semesters. They will then begin their pupillage and continue with semesters four and five of the CBC on a part-time basis. The incorporation of pupillage into the CBC will hopefully deal with some of the shortcomings in the training of our pupils. It will allow pupils to easily compare the level of training that they are receiving from their masters with their peers. Moreover, if there are weaknesses, the dual effect of “peer-learning” and participation in the part-time CBC programme would provide a safety net.

Q: How would the CBC deal with the crescendo of complaints that we hear about the legal profession today?
A: It is a matter that we considered carefully. Thus, the first three semesters essentially deal with aptitude, ethical values, basic legal skills and core areas of practice. These are the bedrock of legal practice in Malaysia and are intended to ensure that those coming into the Bar have the requisite qualities. In this regard, it is envisaged that there should be a stringent assessment system that would sieve out those who do not possess these fundamental requirements. In other words, it is not a given that all “students-at-law” would make the grade and complete the CBC.

Q: What are subjects that the CBC will cover?
A: We have put together an array of subjects that we feel will meet the objectives that I spoke of earlier. In this regard, some of the main subjects that we have proposed are : Practical Aspects of Malaysian Law, Legal Interpretation Skills (Constitution, Statutes and Case Law) and Practice Management Skills (in Semester 1), Legal Language (English and Bahasa Malaysia for law) and Communication Skills (including IT skills), Lawyering Skills (eg. Techniques of analysis) and Practical Legal Research, Legal Ethics and Professionalism, Business and Solicitors Accounts, Interviewing and Client Counselling Skills, Opinion Writing (in Semester 2) and core subjects such as Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Drafting Skills, Evidence, Real Property Practice, Commercial and Corporate Practice, Introduction to Advocacy, Negotiation Skills, Alternative Dispute Resolution-Mediation and Arbitration (in Semesters 3 and 4)4. Finally, in Semester 5 we have proposed Remedies and Enforcement/Execution Proceedings as well as a host of other electives5.

Q: How do you expect the CBC to be delivered?
A: The Committee has also considered the mode of delivery and the assessment system. We have discovered that most jurisdictions have moved away from the traditional lecture-seminar/tutorial as the mode/s of delivery of the CBC. Thus, the modern approach (as part of experiential learning) is to have a mixture of lecture-seminar/tutorials, on-line learning, DVD’s, practical and industrial training. This should result in cost savings and it would also impact on the logistical requirements for the CBC.

Q: What about the teaching staff and infrastructure to support the CBC?
A: It is envisaged that the teaching staff will consist of qualified members of the Bar, judges (sitting and retired) and qualified academics from the various law faculties/private colleges. There should also be provision for foreign teaching staff, whether on an ad-hoc or permanent basis. Further, in connection with finances, the Bar Council has decided that the CBC should be run on a non-profit basis. Thus, public funding from the government would be required to set up the necessary infrastructure and to cover administration costs.

Q: When do you expect the CBC come into place?
A: We anticipate it will take between 4 to 6 years for the CBC to be implemented. This is because, inter-alia, there is a requirement for dedicated course materials, which are presently unavailable. We must also develop a training programme for those who are to be engaged to teach the CBC. As for logistics, in the interim we would need to use the available facilities in the law faculties in our public universities in the Klang Valley. However, we must look at a purpose built college (eg. the College of Law, Sydney) to cater for the CBC in the future.

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1 Hendon Mohamed, Prasad Abraham, Sheila De Costa, G.K. Ganesan, Ken St. James, Mariette Peters, Murad Ali, Roger Tan, Dato’ Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Nahendran Navaratnam and S.S. Muker
2 Adjunct Professor R. Rajeswaran of UiTM
3 Dr. Rozlini Mary Fernandez Chung
4 Some of the other proposed electives in Semester 4 are Advanced Evidence, Advanced Civil Procedure, Advanced Criminal Procedure, Advanced Real Property Practice, Advanced Corporate and Commercial Practice, Wills and Probate Practice, Insolvency Practice and Family Law Practice.
5 Some of the proposed electives in Semester 5 are Administrative Law Practice, Advocacy in Criminal Law, Industrial Law Practice, Intellectual Property Law Practice, Human Rights Litigation and Introduction to Islamic Banking and Finance.

A meditation on the Mover’s role at the call to the Bar.

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

By Fahri Azzat

The call to the Bar is one of the most momentous occasions of a lawyer’s life. For it is on that day that he or she is registered on the Rolls of the High Court and has an ‘exclusive right to appear and plead in all Courts of Justice in Malaysia according to the law in force in those Courts’: see section 35 of the Legal Profession Act, 1976 (’the Act’). Anybody who appears in court to represent a client would be an ‘unauthorised person’ under the Act: see section 37 of the Act. The manner in which the call to the Bar is to be carried out is not provided for in the Act.

The tradition as I understand it here is that after a chambering pupil has completed his chambering period of 9 months, he will then file his long call papers to be admitted to the Bar. He then has to obtain a Mover to move his petition on the hearing date. Though it is not provided for anywhere, the practise is that it is the Master’s responsibility to procure a suitable ‘Mover’ for the chambering pupil. I think this is an excellent convention and would go further and say that it is the duty of the Master to find the Mover. This would also promote better camaraderie and relations at the Bar too.

A Mover is someone who would ‘move’ the chambering pupil’s petition before the presiding High Court Judge on the day of his call. Who qualifies as a Mover? This again is not provided for anywhere. The practise here is that it has to be someone ’senior’ and I agree with it. One does not send a junior for such a momentous and important occasion just as one would only want to send the best lawyers for an important matter. How senior does the Mover have to be? I would argue that he must have completed 7 years in active practise. This is because it is only after 7 years can one take a chambering pupil: see section 13(1) of the Act. If one is senior enough to take a chambering pupil, it follows that one should be senior enough to move another chambering pupil’s petition. The Bar Council also appears to endorse such a position.

One may ask, why doesn’t the Master himself move the chambering pupil’s call? The reason is simply to avoid a conflict of interest. After all, the chambering pupil is tutored by the Master. What is more the Master also affirms a supporting affidavit for the chambering pupil’s petition, so he would not be ‘objective’ and has a stake in the success of the petition (although it is wholly about reputation and not pecuniary). One may argue that it is usually an uncontentious matter, so one need not be too technical about these things. However, there is nothing technical about propriety or ethics which should not be waived for the sake of convenience. Furthermore, it could turn into a contentious matter if either the Bar Council, Attorney General Chambers or the State Bar Committee representatives raise an objection.

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No Quota Imposed on CLP Exam

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008


Following the hot issue of complaint by UUM law graduates recently, the result of Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) exam this year is released yesterday.

The CLP exam’s director, K. Muniandy told the local newspaper, The Star that CLP exam candidates “are judged solely on their knowledge and merit and not on any quota system”, he further said that the “paper setters and markers did not know the candidates’ names as only their index numbers appeared on the answer scripts.”

He emphasised that there is no racial quota imposed on the exam system. Most students failed were because they did not answer the question in a practical manner, sometimes they just regurgitated the information that they memorised or were giving answer which were totally not related to the legal issues.

Muniandy also said that he has reduced the risk of leakage of exam questions by minimising the staffs involved in preparing the exam papers.

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The Present Pupillage System – Are Pupils Being Trained Adequately? (By Lee Shih)

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Part A. Brief description

Malaysia’s pupilage system is slightly unique compared to other jurisdictions as the law students entering pupilage do not undergo some form of common graduate course. New pupils can be divided into 3 main groups: those that graduated with a local 4-year law degree, students who went through the CLP and finally students who have been called to the English Bar.

Therefore, the pupilage period is the only common period where you can ensure that a law graduate is sufficiently trained with a core set of skills necessary for them to be an advocate and solicitor. Pupilage is the last link in the chain prior to admission and hence it takes a particularly important role in ensuring that pupils are equipped with core set of skills to prepare them for legal practice.

Therefore, the pupilage period is the only common period where you can ensure that a law graduate is sufficiently trained with a core set of skills necessary for them to be an advocate and solicitor.

Part B. Strengths of the Present System

There are 2 aspects of pupilage that does ensure pupils are being trained: firstly, the ethics programme and secondly, I would argue, the fact that every pupil has to complete legal aid.

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