The start of the new decade will be a memorable one for Mr Murali Pillai (Rajah & Tann), Mr Jason Chan (Allen & Gledhill) and Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir (Attorney-General’s Chambers). That’s because the trio are taking the silk* this year, joining the 85 other legal luminaries who have been appointed Senior Counsel over the years.
They warmly greeted one another when they met at the Singapore Academy of Law’s office this morning. Noting that they were all well-acquainted with each other, Mr Murali said that the honour was one that each richly deserved. For him, the appointment is both a recognition and motivator. “It has encouraged me to practise with renewed vigour,” shared the 52-year-old, who has been in litigation practice for about 24 years. “Law and community service are my twin passions — in fact, the law has allowed me to become a community leader through my pro bono work.”
The three appointees have taken vastly different career paths: although he read law, Mr Murali’s started his career in the Singapore Police Force, where he served as an Assistant Superintendent. Mr Faizal, 39, has served in the Supreme Court and the Singapore Medical Council, although most of his career has been spent in various divisions of the AGC. Likewise, Mr Chan’s career kicked off with stints at the AGC and the Supreme Court, before he joined Allen & Gledhill in 2010.
This wealth of experience has exposed each appointee to a variety of mentors, whom they credit their success to. “I’ve been lucky enough to be mentored by various Senior Counsel…I’ve seen their example of how to practice and what it means to be a Senior Counsel,” said Mr Chan, 42. “This is from across the board [both in the public and private sectors], as well as my own father [Mr Jeffrey Chan, SC].” Added Mr Faizal, “The teams we worked with also made a difference. All of us have been blessed with wonderful colleagues, whom we also call friends. I also have to thank my parents who have sacrificed so much to support my professional and educational aspirations.”
Spurred by their appointment as Senior Counsel, the three pledge to continue providing similar mentorship and guidance to the next generation of lawyers. For instance, Mr Murali is eager to further develop younger lawyers to be the best they can be, while Mr Faizal is keen to remind younger ones to keep the profession rooted in values. “You may be dealing with a multi-million dollar case that spans several jurisdictions; but at the end of the day, you have to remember that the law is not a business. It’s a profession of values.” Added Mr Chan, “I think we will now focus even more on what we can do for others — like grooming the next generation of leaders and Senior Counsel.”
Once a year, the Singapore Academy of Law’s Senior Counsel Selection Committee, chaired by the Chief Justice of Singapore, evaluates applications and appoints persons deserving of the distinction.