Senior counsel success for pair of women commercial disputes lawyers in Singapore
Appointment of Marina Chin and Swee Yen Koh alongside Tan Puay Boon bring total SC tally to 94
Three new senior counsel have been appointed at 2022's Opening of the Legal Year ceremony in Singapore - Marina Chin, Swee Yen Koh and Tan Puay Boon.
The title of senior counsel was given by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) in recognition for the trio’s excellence in advocacy and legal knowledge and their professional integrity.
Two of those appointed were female commercial disputes lawyers. Chin is the joint managing partner of Tan Kok Quan Partnership and co-head of the firm's dispute resolution practice, while Koh is a disputes and arbitration partner at WongPartnership.
Tan Puay Boon, meanwhile, received the award honoris causa for his work for the Singapore Legal Service, having served in a variety of roles within Singapore's state and supreme courts. He is currently the chair of the Competition Appeal Board, only the fifth such honorary appointment to date.
The appointments were awarded by a committee led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and announced by the SAL. In his speech, Menon recognised the new silks as he marked Singapore's new legal year.
The awards bring the total number of senior counsels to 94, including those on the Singapore bench such as former Dentons global vice chair Philip Jeyaretnam, appointed as a Supreme Court judge last November.
An experienced commercial litigator, Chin's appointment brings her firm's total number of senior counsel to three. She primarily acts in the Singapore courts including the Singapore International Commercial Court, which announced a series of procedural reforms to enhance its business recently.
Koh, the youngest of the three, previously served as a clerk to Chief Justice Yong Pung How before joining WongPartnership in 2006. She has a broad disputes practice spanning commercial litigation, competition law and international arbitration.
Koh is also the former vice-chair of the International Bar Association's arbitration committee and has been active with Young SIAC and the IBA40 group of young arbitration lawyers.
Her firm now has four senior counsels, bringing it alongside firms like Drew & Napier and Allen & Gledhill in terms of their bench strength and advocacy experience.
Outside their extensive commercial work, Koh has been on the Supreme Court's Young Amicus Curiae scheme, while Chin has assisted counsel under the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences.
Koh’s appointment showcased WongPartnership’s ability to nurture outstanding talent amongst its younger lawyers, said managing partner Ng Wai King.
“We are extremely proud of Swee Yen's appointment as senior counsel. At a personal level, the appointment is a testament to her commitment to excellence and her outstanding legal abilities," he added.
Swee Yen said she was “truly honoured to receive this appointment. I am immensely grateful for the continued support from my family, colleagues, clients and friends over all these years,” and thanked her team members for their dedication and commitment;
Swee Yen said the practice of law was a calling, adding it was "a privilege to be able to practice as a lawyer and one must be devoted to doing this to the best of one's ability."