Trio join the ranks of senior counsel

(From left) Mr Edmund Leow Hock Meng, Mr Kwek Mean Luck and Mr Francis Ng Yong Kiat were appointed senior counsel yesterday.
(From left) Mr Edmund Leow Hock Meng, Mr Kwek Mean Luck and Mr Francis Ng Yong Kiat were appointed senior counsel yesterday.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Three senior counsel were appointed yesterday for the new legal year: A veteran tax lawyer and two legal eagles in the Attorney- General's Chambers.

They are Mr Edmund Leow Hock Meng, 54, Mr Kwek Mean Luck, 43, and Mr Francis Ng Yong Kiat, 41. They join 77 others in the top ranks of Singapore's lawyers.

Their appointments were announced by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon yesterday at the opening of the Legal Year 2017.

The accolade - Singapore's equivalent to Britain's Queen's Counsel - is given to outstanding lawyers with extensive knowledge of the law and the highest professional standing. The scheme started in 1997.

"It is indeed a great honour... As litigators, we do not go to court alone; we go as a team. So this is really a reflection of the calibre of the officers in the Attorney- General's Chambers (AGC)," said Mr Kwek, who will be Solicitor- General of the AGC from Saturday.

 
 
 

Currently Second SolicitorGeneral, Mr Kwek began his career in Singapore's legal service and moved up the rungs.

He served as a justices' law clerk at the Supreme Court and then became district judge in the Subordinate Courts (now the State Courts) and senior assistant registrar in the Supreme Court. He has also held various appointments in the Administrative Service.

Mr Kwek, who is married with four children aged between three and 17, credited his success to strong family support.

An example was when his seven- year-old son once asked what his job entailed, to which he replied: "I try to help people." His son was quiet for a while, before quipping: "In that case, you should work harder!"

Mr Kwek added: "This honour will also give me great impetus and a keener edge to develop the next generation of litigators."

Mr Leow joined law firm Dentons Rodyk as senior partner on Jan 1 to head its tax practice, after three years as a judicial commissioner. He is among the two senior counsel at the firm. "I am humbled and it means a lot to be receiving the recognition from the Bench as well as my fellow lawyers," said Mr Leow, who has nearly three decades of legal experience.

He has two children, aged 20 and 24, who are both in law school.

Mr Ng, who is the deputy chief prosecutor of the AGC, previously headed the Legal Policy Division at the Ministry of Law.

Outside of work, the former national kayaker is also the vice-president of the Singapore Canoe Federation. He is also the commanding officer of an infantry battalion.

"The appointment of senior counsel is something that young, aspiring litigators should look towards," said Mr Ng, who is married with four children aged two to 11.

"With hard work and dedicated practice, it is something within the realms of what they can achieve."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'Trio join the ranks of senior counsel'. Print Edition | Subscribe