Two prominent lawyers moving up the rungs

Mr Kwek (left) and Ms Chionh (above), who are currently Second SG and Third SG respectively, have figured prominently in the AGC. Mr Kwek has risen rapidly, having rejoined the legal service from the elite Administrative Service last year, while Ms C
Mr Kwek (above) and Ms Chionh, who are currently Second SG and Third SG respectively, have figured prominently in the AGC. Mr Kwek has risen rapidly, having rejoined the legal service from the elite Administrative Service last year, while Ms Chionh was appointed Third SG just four months ago.PHOTOS: PUBLIC SERVICE DIVISION, ST FILE
Mr Kwek (left) and Ms Chionh (above), who are currently Second SG and Third SG respectively, have figured prominently in the AGC. Mr Kwek has risen rapidly, having rejoined the legal service from the elite Administrative Service last year, while Ms C
Mr Kwek and Ms Chionh (above), who are currently Second SG and Third SG respectively, have figured prominently in the AGC. Mr Kwek has risen rapidly, having rejoined the legal service from the elite Administrative Service last year, while Ms Chionh was appointed Third SG just four months ago.PHOTOS: PUBLIC SERVICE DIVISION, ST FILE

Kwek Mean Luck will become Solicitor-General, while Mavis Chionh will take over as Second SG next month

Next month, law heavyweights Kwek Mean Luck and Mavis Chionh will move up the rungs to take on the roles of Solicitor-General (SG) and Second SG, respectively.

Currently Second SG and Third SG, respectively, both of them have figured prominently in the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), with Mr Kwek in October having successfully argued the high-profile appeal that led to the conviction and sentencing of a transgender woman to 10 years in jail for sexual abuse of a girl.

Senior Counsel (SC) Chionh, 47, burnished her already stellar credentials by recently stewarding the prosecution of founder Kong Hee and others from City Harvest Church. It was one of the longest-running trials in Singapore's legal history, spanning over 140 days and leading to the conviction of six accused persons last year. Parties are awaiting the outcome of the appeals by the accused and the prosecution.

Mr Kwek, 43, has risen rapidly, having rejoined the legal service from the elite Administrative Service last year after being persuaded by Attorney-General V.K. Rajah.

The Cambridge-educated Overseas Merit Scholarship holder and former district judge was made Second SG in July last year.

WELL DESERVED

They are well deserved and they also ensure continuity in the top leadership of the AGC. Both Mean Luck and Mavis are very capable and decent people.

LAW SOCIETY PRESIDENT THIO SHEN YI, welcoming the appointments.

GOOD CHOICES

Kwek Mean Luck is an outstanding choice for Solicitor-General. He is intellectually strong and has a good moral compass, both attributes which I think will see him serve well in an important position... Mavis Chionh has the perfect blend of temperament and experience for her new appointment, having served for more than 20 years as a judicial officer and then as a prosecutor.

DREW & NAPIER'S SENIOR COUNSEL CAVINDER BULL

Mr Rajah said yesterday: "I am glad that I had a meaningful role in persuading him to rejoin the legal service (and AGC).

"Mean Luck's skills, experience and track record make him more than well qualified to take on the responsibilities of the SG."

Mr Kwek once explained his philosophy, gleaned from volunteering with a charity, saying: "You walk with the poor rather than give to them… The moment you go in there thinking you are the one giving, the whole relationship is wrong - people never rise and you don't create the space for them to rise and succeed."

Mr Rajah said he has worked with and known both officers "over a substantial period of time", pointing out that Ms Chionh's latest appointment is a recognition of her contributions. She was appointed Third SG just four months ago.

He added that it was also an " affirmation" that the Oxford-educated Monetary Authority of Singapore scholarship holder "will play a significant role in leading AGC towards institutional excellence".

Law Society president and SC Thio Shen Yi welcomed the appointments, saying: "They are well deserved and they also ensure continuity in the top leadership of the AGC.

"Both Mean Luck and Mavis are very capable and decent people."

Drew & Napier's SC Cavinder Bull said: "Kwek Mean Luck is an outstanding choice for Solicitor-General. He is intellectually strong and has a good moral compass, both attributes which I think will see him serve well in an important position.

"Mavis Chionh has the perfect blend of temperament and experience for her new appointment, having served for more than 20 years as a judicial officer and then as a prosecutor."

The appointments will take effect on Jan 14, said the AGC. Mr Rajah, who will be succeeded as Attorney- General by top corporate lawyer Lucien Wong, 63, also on that day, said the appointments assure him he "will be leaving AGC with a very strong leadership team in place".

As a transitional arrangement, Mr Wong will be appointed Deputy Attorney-General with effect from Dec 19.  When he takes over as Attorney-General on Jan 14, Solicitor-General Mr Lionel Yee S.C. will be appointed a Deputy Attorney-General, in addition to Mr Tan Siong Thye S.C.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2016, with the headline 'Two prominent lawyers moving up the rungs'. Print Edition | Subscribe