Young lawyers are making great strides in Malaysia’s legal industry as they work on various complex matters. ALB profiles six such lawyers from the Malaysian legal market who have made an impact in the industry.
Goh Chai Ling, 36, partner, Adnan Sundra & Low
Goh’s experience includes advising financial institutions and companies on conventional and Islamic banking and finance trans-actions including securities borrowing and lending, syndicated and bilateral financing, corporate bonds and sukuk, retail bonds, asset-backed securitisation, convertible securities issuances, perpetual securities issuances, project financing transactions, green bonds transactions and debt restructuring.
Having acted as transaction counsel in local and cross-border debt capital market issuances involving multi-currency Regulation S issuances and complex structures, Goh has played a major role in advising on pioneering and award-winning Malaysian Islamic capital markets transactions such as ASEAN Green SRI Sukuk and SRI Sukuk. She has also advised on M&A transactions, which include the drafting and negotiation of agreements for the acquisition of oceangoing drilling platform fabrication yards between large public-listed and government-owned entities.”
Goh commenced her legal career in Malaysia in 2008 with a different local law firm before joining Adnan Sundra & Low in 2011.
Jazzmine Khoo Wei Ching, 27, managing partner, Jazzmine Khoo & Associates
Khoo was a protégé of late Dato’ Dr. Arunan Selvaraj, the founder of Rusmah Arunan & Associates, and like him, she specialises in matrimony and family law. Following the passing of Dato’ Arunan, Khoo stepped up to lead the litigation team at the Kuala Lumpur branch of Rusmah Arunan. She eventually established her own law firm, which specialises in matrimonial and family law. Among her notable cases, Khoo represented a mother who wanted to protect her two young children born out of wedlock, aged one year and three months old, respectively, from their abusive father who was unwilling to support the family. Khoo successfully helped the mother gain sole guardianship, custody, care and control of her children. A client of hers says: “Amidst the apparent chaos and grapples of daily provides and living for the children in its entirety culminating from the lack of contribution of the other half, seeking the help of a lawyer becomes inevitable, something most of us will shy away from due to the fear of cost and sincerity. Jazzmine secured a paradigm shift in my scepticism of lawyers. She has commendably garnered my confidence, compatibility and most of all, trust.”
Lee Yong Cieh Edwin, 35, partner, Gan, Lee & Tan (GLT Law)
A corporate, commercial and technology specialist, Lee is a co-founder and the managing partner of GLT Law. He is also a co-founder of CanLaw Asia, a homegrown legal tech startup. Among his notable trans-actions, Lee has advised an airline in relation to a proposed decision issued by the Malaysian Competition Commission under the Competition Act 2010. Lee also advised various multi-national telecommunication companies and service providers on the regulatory and licensing requirements of the Malaysian telecommunications industry, including their respective applications for various licenses under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. He is a finalist for the Young Lawyer of the Year at the ALB Malaysia Law Awards 2020. “Edwin’s strong work ethics surpass any other lawyers of his standing that I have known, met and engaged with. In the interests of working commitment and perfection for his clients, he has had, in many instances, accommodated his weekends for them. That itself, is an enduring sacrifice which I believe will provide Edwin with a fast track of breadth experience in his career progression,” says a client.
Natalie Ooi Wan Qing, 32, partner, co-founder, Ooi & Ooi
Ooi is a partner and co-founder of Ooi & Ooi and specializes in dispute resolution. She is a finalist for Women Lawyer of the Year (Law Firm) and Young Lawyer of the Year (Law Firm) at the ALB Malaysia Law Awards 2020. Ooi says that she found that all young lawyers face the same challenges at the start of their career, although female lawyers are sometimes seen as objects rather than a subject. “So, for others to recognise me for who I am, I realised that I consciously needed to represent myself as a subject. After all, we are always treated in the way we treat others,” Ooi says. She adds that she has found that female lawyers have to be assertive without being aggressive. She says: “I believe that female lawyers are generally more collaborative and tend to find common ground instead of clashing head-on. In doing so, we are able to over-come pre-existing biases against female lawyers.” Earlier in her career, she worked at Skrine and Jeff Leong, Poon & Wong. “Her work ethic and ability to deliver different points of view represents the best of the next generation. I believe that her real and honest opinion gives our firm its added advantage,” says Nicholas Ooi, partner at Ooi & Ooi.
Sharizan Sarif, 39, partner, Azmi & Associates
With over 16 years of experience in the legal industry, Sharizan specialises in mergers and acquisitions, and corporate commercial matters. Among his notable deals, he has advised Selangor State Economic Development Corporation in a strategic collaboration for the development of integrated tourism and commercial area in Bernam Jaya with the estimated cost of 3.6 billion ringgit ($840 million). Other clients include Majlis Amanah Rakyat and Tenaga Nasional Berhad. “Sharizan is tenacious, driven and hugely passionate for each of the projects that he undertakes,” says the firm’s senior partner, Dato’ Azmi Mohd Ali. “He has a keen eye for details which makes sure that no aspect of the trans-action is left unturned. His strong analytical skills provide the clients with multiple negotiation options to ensure that the client always has the upper hand in negotiations. His discipline and strong work ethics aspires the team to continuously strive to meet the clients’ needs, as efficiently as possible, without compromising on quality. These qualities give great comfort to the clients, and make him a treasured asset to the firm.”
Dato’ Fion Wong Sook Ling, 34, managing partner, Shang & Co.
Wong focuses on matrimonial and family law. Having spent nearly a decade in the legal industry, she has co-authored a handbook on family law practice in Malaysia, including commentary, procedures and forms. In 2016, Wong was part of the team that won the Matrimonial and Family Law Firm of the Year award at the ALB Malaysia Law Awards. In 2019, she successfully submitted and argued on the court’s power in granting custody for children in which the court has the rights to only grant sole custody and not joint custody in accordance to the reading of s.88 of the Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976. In the earlier cases, the court had given joint custody, as it had relied on the Singapore cases which referred to the Women Charter Act. That Act gives judges the power to grant joint custody, while the Malaysian Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976 only allows sole custody. The distinction between Singapore’s Women Charter Act and Malaysia Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976 was ignored by the Malaysian judges in the High Court and Court of Appeal. With Wong’s argument, the previous landmark cases would not be able to stand.
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