Legal Eagle: Allen & Gledhill’s Lucien Wong Meets OS in London
Distinguished Business Leader,
Mr Lucien Wong
Some 180 Overseas Singaporeans (OS) turned up in full force to hear first-hand from Mr Lucien Wong, Managing Partner of Allen & Gledhill. Apart from the law students and practising lawyers, Mr Wong also drew a large attendance from Singaporean professionals and students beyond the legal field. The response to this 5th Distinguished Business Leaders Series (DBL) event in London was overwhelming and some OS who arrived a little late had no qualms standing at the side of the packed function room.
Mr Chiang Chie Foo (Permanent Secretary, PMO)
presenting token of appreciation to Mr Wong
Mr Wong related his pride in building a “Made in Singapore” firm, which has ridden on the success of Singapore and emerged as the largest law firm in Singapore today with a staff strength of almost 700.
Allen & Gledhill has gone on to establish a regional presence through strategic partnership.
(L-R) Mr Zainal Arif Mantaha, Dy High Commissioner, Mr Roy Quek (Adviser, National Population Secretariat), Mr Lucien Wong (Managing Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP), Mr Chiang Chie Foo (Permanent Secretary, PMO), Ms Quah Ley Hoon (Director, Overseas Singaporean Unit, PMO)
Huge turnout of Overseas Singaporeans
Mr Wong felt that there was a pressing need for a mindset change so that more Singapore law firms would also consider stepping out of their comfort zone and venturing beyond Singapore’s shores to tap on new opportunities.
The OS were eager to hear Mr Wong’s take on the upcoming liberalisation of the Singapore legal industry in 2009. Mr Wong was confident that this move would reinforce Singapore as a regional legal hub and international player as well as help support the growth of Singapore’s banking, financial and other key economic sectors. For Singapore law firms, liberalisation would translate into increased opportunities and expansion possibilities. Increased competition would also improve professional standards. The Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) status, to be awarded to several law firms next year, would also be good news for Singapore lawyers who would have more employment choices . Likewise, OS lawyers in foreign law firms with QFLP status would be able to return to Singapore and practise exactly what they had been doing when they were away from Singapore.
Mr Wong also shared his assessment of the current global financial crisis. He drew laughter from the audience when he shared findings from the Straits Times which listed the legal sector as one of the low-risk sectors in today’s uncertain economic climate.
The OS were also keen to engage Mr Wong during Q&A time. The questions included whether Singapore was becoming a more litigious society given our need for more lawyers, whether Singapore law firms were paying enough attention to on-going education for its lawyers and whether they were prepared to match the salaries given by foreign law firms.
Even after Mr Wong’s presentation, he engaged OS on their follow-up questions and listened to the stories they wanted to share – all while tucking into all time favourites like laksa, Hainanese chicken rice and sambal kangkong -- Singapore style.
Stay tuned for the next DBL event in the UK!
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