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Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Luncheon: A Taste of the Bar IV

On 17 May 2014, the KL Bar Pupils Welfare Committee (“KLPWC”) hosted the Luncheon; a meet and greet social event designed to give an opportunity for younger members of the Bar to share experiences and exchange views with and be inspired by senior members of the Bar over the course of a luncheon.

The Luncheon: A Taste of the Bar IV, was held at the grandiose President’s Room of the Royal Selangor Club at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. The Luncheon draws inspiration from the Inns of Courts' dining sessions.

The cosy atmosphere of the Royal Selangor Club perfectly fitted all 37 attendees of the Luncheon. 28 of the attendees comprised of pupils-in-chambers from various law firms. The Luncheon was very kindly graced by nine senior members of the Bar (“the Seniors”) from a very diverse range of practice. We had luminaries from the fields of dispute resolution, conveyancing, corporate & commercial, arbitration, IP, and criminal law. The Seniors who had taken time off their busy schedule to join us were Wong Lu Peen, Rajpal Singh, Ravi Nekoo, Chu Ai Li, Nad Segaram, Sivapakiam Krishnan, Bahari Yeow Tien Hong, Rajasundram Ponnusami and Shamsul Bahrin Bin Abdul Manaf.

The Luncheon began with the Reception at 12:00 noon. The Royal Selangor Club had set up space on the 1st floor, at the area outside of the President’s Room for the attendees to mingle and chat over drinks prior to lunch. The young and eager legal minds were in delight to congregate around the Seniors who were also keen on sharing their experiences and knowledge with the pupils. The young pupils inundated the Seniors with questions ranging from the peculiar to the legally philosophical. The Seniors were true to form and reputation, coursing through conversations with their charm and intelligence and welcoming glints in their eyes.

Quickly put at ease, entrapped by the exciting and illuminating tales shared by the Seniors, it took little effort from the KLPWC to facilitate the breaking of the ice and to create conversations.

At 1:00 pm, the attendees were invited to be seated at the tables. The pupils were given the opportunity to choose which senior lawyer they would like to be seated with. Each table had one senior lawyer seating with three young pupils.

Before the scrumptious meals were served, Alex Netto, a member of the KLPWC who was also the emcee for the Luncheon, gave an opening speech to officially welcome the attendees. After briefly introducing the Seniors in attendance, Alex introduced Ariffin Bin Haron, a pupil representing the KLPWC to give a speech on behalf of the pupils in line with the tradition at the Inns of Court in England.

In his speech, Ariffin explained the challenges faced by pupils today and felt that knowledge was an essential tool during his period of pupillage. He mentioned that he initially did not have an idea of what being “called to the Bar” meant. He then briefly explained that this phrase was derived from times when Barristers in England were called to Bar which literally referred to the wooden barrier in old courtrooms, which separated the often crowded public area at the rear from the space near the Judges reserved for those having business with the Court. After his speech, Ariffin then proclaimed lunch was served.

Royal Selangor Club did an amazing job by presenting the attendees with a delicious three-course lunch. After dessert, Alex Netto invited Ms Wong Lu Peen to give a speech on behalf of the Seniors. Ms Wong thanked the Seniors, the KLPWC as well as the KL Bar Committee (KLBC) for taking the time and effort to come and share their experiences. She commented that events such as The Luncheon, was a good initiative to bridge the gap between the seniors and the juniors and suggested that such events should be perpetuated in the coming years. She reminded pupils not to feel let down and give up if they think they were not up to par with the standards set by their seniors because the journey of being a successful lawyer is a long one and it would only get worse if they do not persevere.

Alex Netto then suggested to the attendees to propose another senior to give a speech. Mr Rajpal Singh, a senior criminal law practitioner, was proposed and he was invited to give a few words of advice. In his speech, Mr Rajpal commented on how some pupils could not see the purpose behind the work given to them. He gave a simple example of the task of taking down notes of proceedings. He said that the real purpose behind taking down notes during proceedings was not merely for the purpose of recording down the proceedings but it was also a way for pupils who are future lawyers to analyse why lawyers asked certain questions during cross examinations of witnesses. He encouraged pupils to be more inquisitive and not be afraid of asking their seniors questions about their cases. He added that the profession of a lawyer should not be all about money. He urged pupils to avoid thinking about the monetary benefits at this early stage of the profession as it is essential for pupils to gather as much knowledge as they can about the law first.

Although the Luncheon was scheduled to end at about 3:00 pm, many of the attendees lost track of time, being deeply engaged in their respective conversations. Before the Luncheon ended, Lim Soo Wen, a pupil gave the closing speech. In her closing speech, she thanked everyone for attending as well as the speakers for giving the pupils valuable insights and advice. The Luncheon eventually ended at about 4:00 pm.

The KLPWC would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Seniors and pupils who attended the Luncheon and hoped that the Luncheon has made the Bar a stronger and closer fraternity.

The KLPWC further records its sincere thanks to the KLBC for their support and the Royal Selangor Club for their simply outstanding and professional service throughout the Luncheon.

The KLPWC hopes that the Luncheon had met everyone’s high expectations and that it would remain as a mainstay event in the KL Bar’s annual calendar!

Contributed by Chen Yu Zen

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