Organisation of in-house lawyers confers honorary membership for first time

The Singapore Corporate Counsel Association gave honorary memberships to (from left) Justice Chua Lee Ming, Mr Patrick Tay and Mr Willie Cheng on Nov 2, 2018.
The Singapore Corporate Counsel Association gave honorary memberships to (from left) Justice Chua Lee Ming, Mr Patrick Tay and Mr Willie Cheng on Nov 2, 2018.PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO, ST FILE, UOB GROUP

SINGAPORE - The community of in-house lawyers here has recognised the exceptional contributions of three individuals to the sector.

The Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA) gave honorary memberships to Justice Chua Lee Ming, Mr Patrick Tay and Mr Willie Cheng at its annual black-tie dinner on Friday (Nov 2) at Capella Singapore.

It was the first time in the organisation's 16-year history that honorary memberships were given out.

The SCCA is the national organisation for in-house lawyers in Singapore, and promotes professional standards and developmental opportunities for those in the sector.

Justice Chua was the general counsel of GIC and vice-president of SCCA before he became a High Court judge on Jan 31 this year.

During his tenure as SCCA vice-president, he represented the in-house legal community in many law reform initiatives, including the amendment of the Evidence Act that enshrined legal privilege for in-house lawyers.

Justice Chua said: "I am truly humbled and the SCCA will always be special to me. The in-house profession has an extremely important role in the administration of justice, and in-house counsel are in the privileged position of being closer to the business than practising lawyers."

Mr Tay is assistant secretary-general of National Trades Union Congress and director of its legal services department, as well as MP for West Coast GRC. He has strongly supported efforts to professionalise the in-house legal community, including the SCCA competency framework launched in December last year.

Mr Cheng, chairman of the Singapore Institute of Directors and member of the SCCA advisory board, spent many years leading non-profit organisations before joining the board in 2013.

The SCCA also launched its Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Pledge at the event.

The pledge has so far been signed by 23 organisations and 65 individuals, committing to diversity and inclusion in the delivery of legal services and in the practice of law.

SCCA vice-president Dharmendra Yadav said: "More chief legal officers and their legal teams are being tasked with leading or handling diversity and inclusion within their respective corporations. We believe this is happening because directors and senior management regard diversity and inclusion as a sensitive matter that needs to be compliant with applicable law and managed responsibly."

"The corporate counsel is best placed in an organisation to achieve these objectives... The launch of our D&I Pledge is thus compatible with SCCA's belief that better counsel lead to better corporations and, in turn, better corporations will create better communities."