Article and photography contributed by: Jezer Goh (Law 1)

“People talk about law being hard and stressful. Law is fun. People just don’t talk about it enough.”

Many of us will probably not concur with this opinion, but to Mr Thiru, the vicarious living of life through the experiences of others, experiencing their problems and worries, solving those same problems with your life experiences, makes it not only fun, but also worthwhile.

Full attendance at the talk

Mr Thiru was speaking as the speaker at the inaugural Alumni Career Pathways Lunchtime Talk organized by the NUS Career Centre. Expressedly, the talk, the first among a series, aimed to offer current NUS students insights into the career opportunities available to them upon graduation and, should one choose, ascension to the Singapore Bar.

Having had extensive experience in both civil and criminal cases and as Legal Counsel at a US conglomerate, Tyco International, after being called to the Bar in 1999, Mr Thiru formed Thiru & Co on 3 March 2008. Most significantly, and the subject of his talk today, he represented and successfully obtained acquittal against the death penalty in the case of Ismil Bin Kadar, among another, after fighting the case pro bono for a lengthy period of six years.

As advice for young lawyers, Mr Thiru made the observation that criminal law is a good area of practice to begin with because of the focus on the facts, though financially it might not pay as well. The skills garnered through the practice of criminal law builds a very logical train of thought, he says, that are applicable throughout the various branches of law. He also noted in response to a question that it was funny how the institution that used to make criminal law almost unwelcoming to new lawyers is now pushing for more lawyers to take up criminal law as a practice, possibly to pre-empt a potential dearth in time to come.

When asked how he stood out from other lawyers, Mr Thiru attributes it firstly to the excellent instruction he obtained here at NUS LAW and then to his criminal background, saying it really made a difference in the courtroom with regards to thinking on one’s feet and trial experience, especially considering that civil and company cases tended not to make it to the courtroom.

All eyes on Mr Thiru as he passes on infinite words of wisdom.. 🙂

Something worth sharing from the delightful Q&A session:

Q: Share with us some of the other ‘stuff’ (word changed) that you did in law school?

A: Well, I was on the ‘dean’s list’ for lack of attendance. There was a time when I was almost kicked out of law school because I was missing so many lessons, but thankfully I was allowed to stay on and graduate. Also, two weeks before the Final Year Examinations, in 1998, it was the period during the Indonesian riots. At that time I had raised the idea for the ‘Future for Forests’ project to help areas in Indonesia in which there had been substantial deforestation. I had hooked up with the World Wildlife Fund and had been advised that I should not pursue this cause at this time, but I went anyway and made all of the necessary arrangements. It was all for naught though when the president then got deposed; that sort of ended the whole thing. The point though is to always be idealistic and stubborn. It’s a lonely journey as a lawyer at times (and that helps).

It was indeed a fruitful sharing session, and all are highly encouraged to come down for the next Lunchtime Talk Series (good food!) to gain fresh new insight with legal professionals.

Article and photography contributed by: Jezer Goh (Law 1)

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