On 26 January 2021, AmerBON’s Pupil-in-Chambers, Ms Chin Yuen Xin (Beatrice), was called to the Bar via conference call with the Kuala Lumpur High Court before YA Dato’ Ahmad Kamal bin Md Shahid. We thank Mr Fahri Azzat for moving Beatrice’s call.
Fahri’s speech is reproduced here:
Dengan izin Yang Arif, saya Fahri Azzat bagi pihak Pempetisyen.
Rakan bijaksana saya bagi pihak Peguam Negara Malaysia, Tuan Mohd Farid bin Mohd Mokhtar; rakan bijaksana saya bagi pihak Majlis Peguam Malaysia, Puan Marshita binti Anuar; dan rakan bijaksana saya bagi pihak Jawatankuasa Peguam Kuala Lumpur, En Shugan Raman; para hadirin hari ini.
Yang Arif, saya mohon unuk berterusan dalam Bahasa Inggeris.
My Lord, it is not an often thing said that the practice of law is not for everyone. It is not for those that look for quick, easy and plentiful money; it is not for those who do not know what they want to do in life; and it certainly is not for the timid, passive and disinterested.
The practice of law is reserved for those who want to abide by the law, to serve it and enable its use for and by the general public. It is therefore gratifying to inform your Lordship that I believe the Petitioner to be suited for the practice of law. I will submit that she has the requisite good character to be a fit and proper person to be called to the Bar. I will cite three of her qualities to assure My Lord of good character.
Firstly, the Petitioner is committed to her craft. Despite her initial ambivalence when she took up the study of law, she fell in love with the study of law in her final year. Of all things, it was medical law that fostered her love for the law.
I enjoyed topics, debates and the controversies within the area of subject. Without any hesitation soon after my graduation, I began planning for my career direction towards being an advocate and solicitor as I was sure this is something I would enjoy doing as a career.
After university she took up a paralegal position at Thomas Philip for eight months and then undertook another paralegal position with Messrs AmerBON in 2016. It was at AmerBON that the Petitioner says she found her calling in human rights and deepened her involvement in the law.
My Lord, that was an inevitability with anyone who pupils with AmerBON; they either develop a passion for human rights or criminal law. It is no surprise therefore that the Petitioner involved herself deeply in human rights work and issues and now holds several positions related to her passion: She was a programmes coordinator with SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia), is presently the Secretary of the Board of Governors in Amnesty International Malaysia, the treasurer in Liga Rakyat Demokratik and a member of the mobilisation team of the youth political party, MUDA.
I have learnt and gained experience from AmerBON tremendously in terms of the legal profession, firm’s culture, administrative, substantive drafting, and liaising with court personnel and clients.
Secondly, the Petitioner possesses a mature outlook. When I asked her what are the three important things she learned from her pupilage, I liked that she did not mention any law. Instead, she listed three qualities:
- Firstly, being friendly but also street smart with those that we encounter in the course of our work. She says this is important because “in the long run, this makes it easier for you to run your cases. This also helps you grow and be independent quicker.”
- Secondly, accepting criticism gracefully. This is important because an ability to accept criticism has “helped me be more open and receptive towards comments and feedback from my seniors/bosses. This has helped me in learning from my mistakes and performing better in my future work.”
- Thirdly, getting one’s priorities right. The Petitioner places importance on this because prioritising, which includes organising, “helps me work in a more efficient manner. This would evidently reduce late submission of my work and allow me to be more thorough in my drafting.”
Legal practice is not simply about hard law; much of legal practice relies on soft skills paired with a robust attitude. These qualities that the Petitioner lists, particularly the second – accepting criticism gracefully, are crucial to not simply being a knowledgeable lawyer, but a better lawyer.
Finally, the Petitioner is humble in her approach to learning and the law, and that need to give back to the community she flourished in. I liked what she said when I asked her about her future plans in the law. She replied as follows:
I wish to gain as much experience and knowledge from the people in my firm and take on as many cases without choosing any preference towards a certain area of practice. As a junior, I do not believe that juniors should narrow down their learning curve and limit their preference to a certain area of practice. You should have an open mind and experience as many different cases as possible. I also wish to take up as many pro bono cases in relation to human rights so that when I am more senior, I am able to help the marginalised groups in fighting for their rights and freedom.
My Lord, Amer Hamzah Arshad was the Petitioner’s Master. I have known Amer for a long time – since Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP). I know him to be an excellent advocate and a passionate instructor and have no doubt that the Petitioner’s apprenticeship with them was a fruitful one.
My Lord, in closing, the Petitioner would like to thank her mother Karen Leong, her brother Bernard Chin, her sister-in-law Michelle Wong, Edmund Bon and Amer Hamzah and all at Messrs AmerBON, and all her friends who have supported her throughout her journey to this morning.
I believe the cause papers are in order and my learned friends have no objection to the Petition.
I pray for the Petitioner to be admitted and enrolled as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya.