Call Speech for Michelle Lim Sok Yen

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Call Speech for Michelle Lim Sok Yen

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My Lord,

The Petitioner hails from Puchong of Selangor and initially had no legal ambition. That is not to say her ambitions were the illegal sort. Rather, the Petitioner in her early life was more comfortable in the realm of science and numbers instead words. She naturally thought her destiny was to be in business or worse, banking. But then Lord Denning, one of the most famous judges graduated First Class in Mathematics from Oxford University before graduating similarly in Law. And Maths and Law share a similar fulcrum – logic.

And there is a certain logical progression to how she has come to stand before Your Lordship today. Our starting point would be the Petitioner herself. She is a highly sociable, energetic, intelligent and motivated person. This will become clear when I list out her accomplishments though I do not propose to list them all out. That would take too long and put me to shame!

Her more notable ones are as follows: she was a Prefect at the Taman Petaling Girl’s High School. During her South Australian Matriculation (SAM) program at Taylor’s College, she was the secretary of the Student Council. When she commenced her law degree with the University of Reading in Taylor’s College she was awarded the University College Merit Scholarship 2004-2005. She was the President of the Law Society and Student Ambassador for Taylor’s College for 2 consecutive years. In 2006, during her university semester, she was selected to represent Malaysia at the Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation Conference by the School of Peace Studies and an NGO and Payap University in Thailand for 1 month. Needless to say, she was effortlessly acing all her examinations along the way.

Her Master, Madam Goh Siu Lin of Messrs. Shook Lin and Bok confirms those qualities I mentioned earlier. She is, ‘confident, cheerful, friendly and likeable …. She is also popular with her peers.

Allow me to dwell on her experience in Thailand for a moment. This trip was groundbreaking for the Petitioner. Before she agreed to attend the Conference, she never travelled overseas alone for long. She declared herself a ‘city girl all the way.’ As the youngest of three and the only girl in the family, she admitted to being ‘pampered but not spoiled‘. More troubling was the 1 month away from college. Her mother and teachers were not pleased about it, worrying whether she could cope when she returned.

During the Conference, she engaged delegates from around the world in discussions and seminars. She stayed in a remote aboriginal settlement for three days with no running water or electricity. She could not bathe during that time (although I hope she brushed her teeth). Her role was to engage the aboriginals about their plight regarding a land dispute and then report back to the Conference. That was difficult because of the completely different environment she was in, the wide language barrier (they had to go through at least 2 interpreters to have a conversation) and applying legal concepts and knowledge that she was just beginning to grasp. Of course, she pulled it off. After the Conference, she allayed her mother’s and teachers’ concerns by passing her 2nd-year exams.

This particular example demonstrates the Petitioner’s courage, resilience, adaptability, patience and uncommon intellectual fortitude. Her Master also says the Petitioner is empathetic, honest and responsible. This is true. Despite being a high achiever she readily admitted to her devastation when she eventually graduated in 2007. Why devastated you may ask? As someone accustomed to dictating her results, for the first time in her life she scored lower than she expected. She wrote this: ‘I felt like my world was crumbling down and I have failed my family and myself.’ The Petitioner was so down she felt unworthy of even a menial job. She scored a lower second division for her degree. We see here how she holds herself to painfully high standards.

After being reassured by her parents and friends, she took up the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) with renewed focus. She resolved to do her BVC at Leeds away from all her friends in London despite their protestations and persuasions. In 2008 she returned to her usual form and completed the BVC with a high grade of ‘Very Competent’. In her pupillage, she distinguished herself and found immediate employment with Messrs. Shook Lin & Bok. This is what she says about her future career:

Being in such a profession is truly a lifetime challenge, whereby many of my views and/or principles will be challenged. However, I believe that I will uphold my principles and be a competent lawyer (that means not being a ‘lawyer buruk’) and hopefully one day I could be creme de la creme.

I have no reason to doubt her.

The Petitioner would like to thank her parents and brothers for their unwavering support and dedication; her Master; all those at Messrs. Shook Lin & Bok who have guided her and made her experience a pleasant one; and all her friends for their company, cheer and support.

The only advice I wish to impart to the Petitioner is to not be too taken by examination results or by other people judging or criticizing us. It is more important to be true to ourselves and to trust in that.

My Lord, I believe I have alluded to enough facts to demonstrate the suitability of the Petitioner to our profession. I believe her papers are in order. I humbly pray for order in terms of the Petition.

Called on 21.8.2009

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