Law students honoured for pro bono work

16 April 2018 | EducationCommunity
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NUS Law student winners at the 3rd NUS Law Pro Bono Awards Ceremony

A total of 11 NUS Law undergraduates were recognised for their leadership and contributions to pro bono work at the Faculty’s annual Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, held on 12 April at the NUS Bukit Timah Campus. Into its third year, this year’s ceremony also awarded grants to support six deserving pro bono projects. 

The Pro Bono Leadership Award, which recognises sustained contributions towards pro bono work and outstanding leadership that has led to significant developments in pro bono opportunities for law students, was awarded to eight recipients. Among them were students who worked on raising legal awareness and knowledge among youths, as well as those who assisted voluntary welfare organisations in working with litigants to make court applications to be legal representatives of mentally incapacitated children.

The students recognised tonight reflect the very best qualities we hope to cultivate: outstanding minds complemented by caring hearts.

Two recipients Siew Jowen and Loh Yaxin led a pioneering project — the CDC-NUS Lasting Power of Attorney Community Outreach Project, a joint collaboration between the Community Development Councils, People’s Association and the NUS Law Centre for Pro Bono & Clinical Legal Education. Jowen and Yaxin recruited NUS Law students, as well as those from other faculties such as NUS Science and NUS Arts and Social Sciences, to give talks and assistance on Lasting Powers of Attorney, targeted at lower income families. Under the guidance of NUS Law Associate Professor Lim Lei Theng, a pilot run was held between May and June 2017 in Woodlands, Pasir Ris and Eunos, benefitting more than 300 members of the public. Plans are underway to bring the project to nursing homes and eldercare institutions.

The full list of 2018 Pro Bono Leadership Award recipients is:

  • Chong Renjie, Yale-NUS College ’19 (Military Justice Project)
  • Loh Yaxin, Law ’19 (CDC-NUS Lasting Power of Attorney Community Outreach Project)
  • Joelle Loy, Law ’20 (NUS Law Criminal Justice Club, Criminal Legal Aid Scheme)
  • Siew Jowen, Law ’19 (CDC-NUS Lasting Power of Attorney Community Outreach Project) 
  • Tan Kah Wai, Law ’19 (NUS Pro Bono Office In-Person Deputyship Scheme) 
  • Teo Ang Siang, Law ’18 (LEAP, NUS Law Criminal Justice Club) 
  • Teo Tze She, Law ’19 (NUS-Rajah & Tann PDPA Compliance Assistance Scheme)
  • Zhu Yujia, Law ’19 (NUS-Rajah & Tann PDPA Compliance Assistance Scheme)

Three students were conferred the Special Recognition Award, for demonstrating commitment and passion for pro bono work, often going beyond the demands of their office to lead and inspire. 

The 2018 recipients of the Special Recognition Award are:

  • Shawn Callen Kwa Shao, Law ’19 (NUS Pro Bono Office In-Person Deputyship Scheme)
  • Liang Liwen, Law ’20 (NUS Pro Bono Office Legal Awareness Talks)
  • Janna Wong Qian Ern, Law ’18 (The Necessary Good)

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Yaxin (left) and Yowen led a pioneering project that saw trained NUS students give legal awareness talks on Lasting Powers of Attorney to members of the public

Among the initiatives awarded grants at the ceremony was The Witness Orientation Project, which was awarded the RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Subhas Anandan Pro Bono Award. The award, initiated in 2016, is a tribute to the legacy of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s late Senior Partner Mr Subhas Anandan, who was a prominent criminal lawyer and champion of pro bono work. 

The NUS Law Class of 1992 Pro Bono Award was given to the Military Justice Project, which serves as a bridge between the Singapore Armed Forces, lawyers and law students to provide accused servicemen access to pro bono legal support; the Mental Capacity Act Deputyship Guidebook Project, to produce a guide book for Litigants in Person with their Deputyship applications; and the NUS Law Criminal Justice Club, a student-led club doing pro bono work in the area of criminal law. 

Finally, the NUS Law Class of 2017 Pro Bono Award was given to the Legal Education and Awareness Programme to bring legal awareness to youths-at-risk, and The Necessary Good, a social enterprise helping underprivileged individuals develop craft skills.

“Pro bono work is now part of the culture at NUS Law. We encourage all our students to see law not only as a profession, but as a vocation. The students recognised tonight reflect the very best qualities we hope to cultivate: outstanding minds complemented by caring hearts. I congratulate all the award winners —- as well as the many students not receiving prizes, who gave their time and their energy to support the disadvantaged in our community,” said Professor Simon Chesterman, NUS Law Dean.

See press release.