Pro Bono By-Elections

In light of the growth of our group, the NUS Pro Bono Group By-Elections was conducted from 16 to 18 September 2011. The Returning Officer, Ng Boon Gan, released the results to all our members on Monday, 19 September 2011.

Through a simple majority of the valid votes, we welcome

Thiam Jia Min as Liaison Officer in charge of RELAC (Liaison), and

Heidi Tan as RELAC Co-Head in charge of RELAC (Northlight).

We thank all members for participating in the voting process.

A Look Back At Welcome Tea 2011

On 19 August 2011, the NUS Law Pro Bono Group warmly welcomed the incoming batch of freshmen into the Pro Bono Group. In accordance with our catchphrase “It feels good to do good”, the freshmen were introduced to the various projects under the Pro Bono umbrella and the many ways in which the projects leave a lasting and positive impact upon all participants.

The welcome session started off with an opening address by our President, Chan Yi Cheng, where an overview of the Group was provided. The freshmen were introduced to the various milestones of the Group as well as the current members of the Executive Committee. Next, the project Heads took the stand and briefed the freshmen on the requirements of their respective projects and shared their myriad experiences while on the job.

After the talks, the freshmen mingled with the seniors over a spread of delicious food and drinks contributing to a lively atmosphere in the room. Lines formed as the freshmen queued to sign up for the various projects in which they were interested in.

In all, 150 students signed up across 6 projects as well as to be part of the Events and Publicity committees. It was a good start to the academic year of 2011/2012.


[Erratum: We previously posted that 79 students signed up for the projects. The correct figure is 150 students.]

NUS Pro Bono Seminar Series 2011 – All About Doing Good

We’re pleased to announce our Seminar Series – All About Doing Good.

All About Doing Good Seminar Series

This Seminar Series is an initiative to gather both young and experienced lawyers together to discuss various issues concerning the local pro bono scene. At the heart of providing pro bono services lies in making justice accessible to all, and thus ensuring that the legal system does not become a rich man’s game.

All law students are invited to sign up at and join us in a pre-seminar discussion on the Seminar Facebook page.

There are 2 seminars in this series:

Seminar 1 –  DOING GOOD While DOING WELL

7 September 2011

1 – 3pm


What does it mean to ‘do good’ while ‘doing well’ in practice? We will be focusing on 2 key issues:

1.The challenges faced by lawyers in juggling practice and pro bono work, from the perspectives of young and experienced lawyers and from law firms ranging from small, medium to large-sized firms.

2.Whether doing good while doing well should be a compulsory part of each and every lawyer’s work-life balance.
I.e. Should pro bono work be mandatory?


Mr. Lim Tanguy, Director of the Law Society Pro Bono Services Office (Moderator)

Lim Tanguy is the Director of the Law Society Pro Bono Services Office which administers all of the Law Society of Singapore’s free legal assistance schemes for individuals and non profit organizations. Its mandate is also to promote a vibrant and dynamic culture of volunteering among lawyers in Singapore. Prior to joining the Law Society, Tanguy was a practising lawyer for 12 years. He currently serves on the policy committee of “The Light”, Singapore’s cross sector non profit leadership network.

Mr. N. Sreenivasan, Managing Director, Straits Law Practice LLC

Sreeni is presently a member of the Pro Bono and Learning Services Management Committee of the Law Society and its Pro Bono Ambassador for 2011. He has piously served as Chairman of the Law Awareness Committee and the Law Help Committee. Sreeni is also a past Treasurer, ExCo member and Council member of the Law Society.

Sreeni is a litigation lawyer with and managing director of Straits Law Practice LLC. He claims no area of special knowledge and enjoys learning, from case to case.

Mr. Chan Hian Young, Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP

Hian Young graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1986. Prior to joining Allen & Gledhill in 1993 and practising as a litigation lawyer, he was in the Singapore Legal Service.
He is in charge of A&G’s pro bono programme, which was formally launched in January 2008.

The focus of A&G’s pro bono programme is charities. Most of the pro bono initiatives in Singapore are targeted at helping individuals. The firm believes that there is a need for pro bono assistance and support for charities and that one way to help individuals is to help charities that help them. It is an area in which the firm has the expertise to advise and assist. A&G has one equity partner (Hian Young) and one associate working full-time on the firm’s pro bono programme and they are supported by volunteers whenever needed. Charities have been in the limelight recently and A&G advises them on governance, fundraising regulations and other matters. Further, the firm helps international charities to set up a presence in Singapore in response to the Singapore government’s plans to make Singapore a philanthropic hub. In addition to helping charities, A&G also helps individuals through existing pro bono initiatives: the firm’s lawyers volunteer at the Law Society’s Community Legal Clinics (advising individuals who may not otherwise be able to afford legal advice) and the Subordinate Courts’ HELP Centre (helping litigants-in-persons); the firm’s lawyers also take on criminal cases through the Law Society’s Criminal Legal Aid Scheme and civil cases involving points of law or complex facts from the Legal Aid Bureau, charging only disbursements.

In his role as the partner in charge of A&G’s pro bono programme, Hian Young oversees the administration and undertakes the legal work as well. The purpose of having a full-time pro bono partner is to provide continuity and depth whereas the volunteers provide breadth of participation.

Ms. June Lim, Associate, Eldan Law LLP

June is currently an Associate at Eldan Law LLP, and a member of the Law Society’s Law Awareness and CLAS Committees. She is also a former President of the NUS Pro Bono Group and spent the best years of her law school life being involved in various pro bono initiatives. June now juggles practice, pro bono work, sleep and a social life all at the same time, and can only claim to do two out of four well at any one time.

Seminar 2 – Doing Good Well

14 September 2011



What does it mean to do pro bono work with high service standards, professionalism and passion?
Distinguished lawyers are invited to discuss the challenges faced by lawyers in each area of law (eg family law, criminal law etc) and how each lawyer overcomes these challenges to serve with pride and dignity.


Mr. Thio Shen Yi  SC, TSMP Law Corporation

Shen Yi is the Joint Managing Director and Head Dispute Resolution at TSMP Law Corporation, a medium sized commercial law practice. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1991 and was called to the Singapore Bar in 1993. His areas of practice include corporate and commercial disputes, financial and securities litigation, construction and engineering law, restructuring and insolvency, and disputes involving Information Technology projects. He was appointed Senior Counsel in 2008. He is active in Law Society, Singapore Academy of Law and Singapore Institute of Legal Education committees; and served as a Council member of the Law Society for 4 years.
TSMP believes that giving back to the community contributes to the foundation of a responsible and ethically driven practice. The focus of TSMP’s community efforts are Community Outreach programmes for children, the sick and the old; Pro Bono programmes; and charitable giving. To this end, a certain percentage of shareholder profits are irrevocably earmarked every year to support these initiatives or to be donated to charities supported by TSMP. In respect of Pro Bono work, TSMP supports the Law Society’s initiatives and is an anchor participant in the Law Society’s legal clinics. TSMP also supports the work done by Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) and Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), and provides migrant workers such as domestic helpers and foreign construction workers with legal advice and representation. The philosophy behind this is that Singapore owes much to these foreigners, who shoulder many of the burdens that Singaporeans choose not to undertake. However, without the provision of pro bono assistance, they have effectively no access to legal representation; no protection against a cynical employer, or no voice against the machinery of the state. On the basis of facilitating access to justice, TSMP works to redress the balance so that cases are fully and fairly heard.

Mr Gregory Vijayendran, Equity Partner, Rajah & Tann LLP

Gregory Vijayendran is a partner in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group in Rajah & Tann. His practice, for more than 18 years, encompasses a wide range of areas including banking, company and shareholder disputes, charities governance, corporate and personal insolvency, tenancy and land law disputes, employment law, defamation, negligence, contentious probate and other tort claims.

Gregory was the inaugural pro bono ambassador of the Law Society in 2010. He co-facilitates Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in his firm. He is also actively involved in community-based legal clinics, as facilitator and volunteer. He is on the Panel of the Legal Aid Bureau and Office of Public Guardian. In addition to access to justice, he has had a long-standing direct involvement as a volunteer in various children’s charities for close to two decades including presently serving as President of Club Rainbow (Singapore) as well as serving on the Board of the Centre for Enabled Living Ltd. He also gives pro bono advice in appropriate matters relating to various Voluntary Welfare Organizations and charities (including religious bodies) on different aspects of contentious and non-contentious charities’ governance.

Ms. Malathi Das, Partner, Joyce A Tan & Partners

Malathi Das is a commercial litigation lawyer and heads the litigation and dispute resolution department of boutique firm, Joyce A Tan & Partners. Malathi Das is no stranger to the pro bono scene. She is currently President-elect of International law organsiation LAWASIA and will be its first woman and Singaporean President when she takes office in October 2011. She is also a member of the Singapore Academy of Law and Singapore’s representative on the Bar Issues Committee on Pro Bono and Access to Justice at the International Bar Association (IBA). She is a member of the Law Society of Singapore’s Publications and Family Practices Committees and its representative on the Ministry of Law’s Steering Committee on Pro Bono Services.

In the field of community work, Malathi Das speaks and writes extensively on legal ethics, gender, women, children and elder issues and pro bono. She also conducts training and gives free legal awarenss talks to voluntary organizations (VWOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Mr Cyril Chua, Partner, ATMD Bird and Bird LLP

Cyril is a partner of ATMD Bird and Bird LLP and has been practising in the area of intellectual property for more than 10 years. He has consistently been recognised for his expertise in Intellectual Property In AsiaLaw Leading Lawyers and serves as a member of the Asian Patent Attorneys Association. He has conducted many seminars on intellectual property enforcement and has appeared in Channel NewsAsia and CNBC on IP protection.

Cyril’s involvement in the charity sector is extensive: he is currently the Vice-President of the National Council of Social Services, the Chairman of Ang Mo Kio Family Services Centres and Family Services Centre Advisory Council, a director of the Special Needs Trust Company and Chairman of the Project Law Help Committee.

Mr Sheik Mustafa Abu Hassan, Senior Assistant Director of Legal Aid, Legal Aid Bureau, Ministry of Law

As the Senior Assistant Director of Legal Aid, Mr Sheik represents impecunious persons in court proceedings and manages some cases which are assigned to volunteer private lawyers. His former appointments were in private practice (KhattarWong & Partners, Mas & Partners), in the AGC as a Deputy Public Prosecutor and as a Registrar in the Syariah Court.

Asst. Prof. Helena Whalen-Bridge, Faculty Advisor to Pro Bono Group, NUS Faculty of Law (Moderator)

Helena Whalen-Bridge is an Assistant Professor with the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law. She teaches upper level and graduate skills courses and convenes courses in Legal Ethics and the Common Law Legal System of Singapore. Her research interests include legal ethics and pro bono. She is an invited speaker in the area of pro bono and has published articles on non-profit pro bono (Legal Ethics 2010) and the connection between ethics and legal narrative (Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors 2010). She is a founding member of the Law Society of Singapore’s Project Law Help, and is the Faculty Advisor the Law Faculty’s student Pro Bono Group.

Check back for further updates!

[bios and moderators updated]