We recently sat down for a chat with Aye Cheng, founder of A C Shone & Co and sought her perspectives of the recent and future state of law.
Aye Cheng was called to the English Bar on 29 July 1993 admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore on 28 May 1994 and on 15 March 2002, admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales. Aye Cheng is also appointed by the Singapore Academy of Law as a Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public. She is an Accredited Mediator with the Singapore Mediation Centre (“SMC”), on the Family Law Panel of Mediators with the SMC and also a Collaborative Practice Lawyer and Parenting Coordinator.
What legal issue or area do you think will become more significant in the future?
I know for sure, that every area of law has its own different challenges. In the last 7 years we have seen a lot of lawyers move to family law from various specializations.
Hence in my opinion, the area of family law will grow. This is also partly due to the increase in transnational marriages/divorces we have seen. I have also recently attended the MiKK Cross-Border Family Mediator training in Berlin as a family mediator on cross border issues and see how that might be applicable here in Singapore’s context.
And while this area of law will become more significant in the future, it is important to know that compared to other areas of law, family law can be a whole new challenge. Being in family law means you have to deal with a lot of emotions that clients might have, it is also about being a good listener.
If you were to compare the legal landscape in the past versus the present, what do you think has changed the most?
Personally, I feel it is the way that we communicate with each other. Now with the advancement of technology meant that we can make everything instantaneous. Compared to some 15 years ago, now the client will not have to physically come to the office to amend documentation. This not only shortens the processing time and our clients don’t have to take leave.
I remember in the older days, my seniors would write, then the secretary would have to type it in and it is a long process to have edits on paper. Now all the changes can be tracked using software, I think that is one of the biggest change.
Despite this, I still believe that it is important to meet the clients to establish the connection.
What are your thoughts on legal technology and how will it change the way law is served?
I think personally that having a practice management system can really cut costs and save time for both parties. I think that law needs to be more accessible for all the stakeholders involved.
If we are more able and willing to accept and use technology I think that will change a lot of things moving forward.
Do you foresee changes in the career path for future lawyers? Will most of them stay in private practice?
I do feel that I see a trend of younger lawyers increasingly moving in house. And I do acknowledge that it is tough the first few years when you first start out.
You feel that you have so much to learn and there are so many things we don’t always learn in law school, for example how to deal with clients or people. I would like to think that if younger lawyers can stay and ‘tough it out’, they will definitely see the value in the experience.
What other skills do you think young lawyers need to stay relevant in the future?
Soft skills are quite important in this line, being patient with the clients’s emotions and having more empathy can go a long way in helping you fight your client’s case.
Communication is also key, not just with clients but with key stakeholders including other lawyers, judges and be ready to soak in a lot of on the job training. It can be very stressful sometimes and the key is to always manage expectations.
And always, always upgrade yourself. This holds true for all the various professions and more so for the law. There are constant updates that you would need to be in the know for. There are many courses available if you can make the time.
Can you share with us 3 fun facts about yourself?
I really enjoy travelling, in fact I had just came back from a trip to Sydney with my 16 year old son. It was great and relaxing, I definitely am looking to visit many different places in the new year.
I love reading travel books, and especially enjoy contemporary fiction. And I always try to find time to pursue reading because it relaxes me.
#3 Taking Pictures
I have picked up this rather recently, and I enjoy taking different kinds of photographs.
Here are some photos that Aye Cheng shared with us taken during her recent trip!
Any advice for younger lawyers?
“Remember to keep your wits about you and do your best to develop tenacity.”
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.