See Tow Soo Ling
Partner, CNPLaw, Singapore
Why did you want to be a lawyer?
My decision to pursue a career in law came while I was university – it was something I believed I could make a successful career in.
I am now a litigation lawyer, and while there have been many highlights, it is the really complex cases where I am most proud of my achievements. One case that stands out was helping an elderly lady to obtain a declaration that she was the lawful wife of her deceased husband. In Singapore, prior to 1961, polygamy was not frowned upon and customary marriages were recognized in order to give legal status to wives.
Our client was the third wife who survived the husband. Unfortunately, the children of the husband’s first two wives did not recognize our client as a lawful wife because such a status has legal consequences as to intestate inheritance. We were successful in proving she was the lawful wife – a real career highlight for me.
This is one of many cases that has highlighted a key piece of career advice for me - as a litigation lawyer, while there are two versions to a dispute - and maybe sometimes a third possibility - there is only one outcome.
One of the great parts of my job now is training junior lawyers. As such, I would like to spend more time mentoring and developing the next generation of lawyers.
I am often asked what my best piece of advice would be to anyone wanting a legal career. My answer? Maintain integrity. It is important that you earn the trust of your clients and fellow practitioners.