Monday, February 20, 2017

GOH SIU LIN - Candidate for Kuala Lumpur Bar Chairperson 23rd February, 2017

Profile & Experience

I have been in active practice for the past 20 years focusing on banking and general litigation, contentious probate and family litigation. I am currently the Deputy Head of the Probate, Family & Trusts Department of Messrs Shook Lin & Bok.


Honorary Secretary of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee (2015-2017).
Chairperson (Professional Development) (2015-2017).
Chairperson (Practitioners’ Affairs) (2012-2014)
President of the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) (2015-2017)
Member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board
Examiner – Professional Standards & Ethics Programme of the Malaysian Bar.
Member of the Bar Council’s Family Law Committee
Member of the Bar Council’s Child Rights Committee.
Trainer for Ethical Representation of Children under the auspices of the Bar Council and in collaboration with UNICEF Malaysia and the Canadian Bar Association.
Contributor (Malaysia) of the Family Law Newsletter of the International Bar Association
Contributing Editor of the Malaysian Civil Procedure 2013 (Sweet & Maxwell Asia).
Malaysia’s representative at the South East Asian Roundtable on “Women as Justice-
Makers” organised by the Thailand Institute of Justice, October, 2016.

Outside the Bar

My work within AWL has focused on the areas of law reform, (e.g. the Child Act), engagement with the government, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and parliamentarians, advocacy and outreach to the law colleges and the public. AWL also provides watching brief support for several public interest cases such such as custodial battles consequent upon unilateral conversions (Indira Gandhi & S. Deepa), citizenship for stateless children (M. Navin), domestic violence murder trial (Nurhidayah) and a child sexual abuse trial.

My values and work for KLBC

I believe in maintaining integrity and combining legal practice with purpose and professionalism.

In the current lacklustre economic climate, clients are now more discerning and equipped with savvy technology and internet skills. As Chair of the Professional Development Committee (PDC), I am very mindful of such challenges and have strived to support the Bar Council’s PDC programme by organising diverse talks/seminars in order to assist lawyers in “raising their game”. Last year, we invited Will Fung, Senior Foreign Counsel of Grandall Law Firm China to speak on his Beijing practice, providing an insight into the professional lives of Malaysians practising abroad. Most recently, in December, 2016 to meet the needs of smaller practices, a senior practitioner spoke on “Partners and Sole Proprietors - Your Firm's Financials”

Apart from the above, the PDC has introduced talks/seminars with an activist slant with the aim of educating members, demolishing prejudices and taboos. This led to the conceptualisation of the KLBC-AWL Activists’ Series which has covered topics such as human-trafficking, Gender & Sexuality Rights, Refugee Law and UNHCR Process in Malaysia for Lawyers.

In 2013, as Chair of the Practitioners’ Affairs Committee (PAC), I drew on my personal experiences of being a young mother transitioning back to practice. I lamented the inconvenience of the lack of a private and hygienic room in the court’s premises for lactating lawyers. This led to the establishment of the Lactation Room in the KL Duta Court complex on 5.2.2013.

The Future

In a multi-racial and multi-religious  community like ours, it is important that we keep race and religion out of the Bar. There are certain quarters who intend to radicalise and politicise the Bar along racial and religious lines. We must nip this in the bud and stamp out racism and polarisation. 

My leadership will be based on the universal principles of justice and equality.  Towards this end, I have given careful thought to ensure that my committee would comprise members of both genders, is multi-racial, multi-religious and represents a spectrum of lawyers of varying seniority in practice. 

It should also be highlighted that the qualities that are relevant for leadership at the Bar include being committed to serving the Bar without seeking glory, being a team-player to ensure that the services provided is to serve all the different needs of our members, being an effective listener to encourage feedback and interaction amongst members. 

As Chair, I plan to continue strengthening the PDC programme and to organise topics on business & knowledge development, technological aids for legal practice, writing skills, oral advocacy and addressing implicit bias. I will organise forums/panel discussions for young lawyers to speak about the difficulties they face in practice. We will also invite senior members of the Bar to provide their views and responses to such issues. I look forward to strengthening the capacity of the KLBC in serving its members at all stages of their career.

Amongst my plans are the formation of a new “Gender, Equity & Diversity” committee as currently, the needs of women, indigenous and disabled lawyers are not specifically addressed. For example, women lawyers form 51% of the Kuala Lumpur Bar and the Baseline Survey commissioned in 2014 by the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) provides empirical data on the challenges faced by Klang valley lawyers. It is my aim for this new committee to develop programmes to create awareness, empowerment programmes to improve representation at all levels. 

I also intend to bring back the “Practitioners’ Affairs” committee to address concerns of young and not-so-young practitioners. For example, this committee will work with the Information Technology Committee to create more programmes to encourage innovation and integration of technology into legal practice. The hot emerging topics appear to centre around the expected impact of “artificial intelligence” on the legal profession. We need to educate members so as to keep abreast with other jurisdictions in order to remain competitive. Other areas of concern would include mental health, impairment, depression, constant stress as well as issues faced by members of our greying bar.

The lack of adequate parking at the KL Courts is also a perennial concern. As Chair, I will follow up on on this and in fact, have requested the courts to allocate designated priority parking spaces for lawyers with health issues, physical disabilities and pregnant lawyers.

The KLBC though the Pupils/YLC/Social/Sports committees will increase outreach to various professional and student organisations and universities to promote social and professional networking opportunities and to foster camaraderie amongst members.

Finally, it is my hope that during these times, we bridge our differences and work towards a more inclusive and humanitarian Bar. 

I ask for your support to be granted the privilege of representing you as the Chairperson of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee.

Thank you,
Siu Lin

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