My job as a Legal Counsel

If you do not already know, I’m currently working as a Legal Counsel(sometimes known as In-house Lawyers/Legal Advisors/Legal Consultants/Commercial/Corporate Lawyers) in 1 of Singapore’s public listed and established co.
Many friends have been inquiring on the job scope as a Legal Counsel, so for the benefit of the doubt of all, I shall pen them here today.

First and foremost, no, I didn’t plan this route, neither did I foresee myself  taking on this career 10 years down the road during my younger days and no, I didn’t plan to read Law back in Uni as well.

But I believe everything happens for a reason and initially, I read Law with the intention to sign on as a Police Officer. Yes, no joke. (Psst, I’m a rusty Black Belt Taekwondo Holder as well and used to work as a PT Tkd instructor before entering Uni).

But as time goes by, characters and mentalities change and mould you into a different person. What you wanted few years back might not be what you are still yearning for and more so, might not be what you are now.

The main role of a Legal Counsel is to advise the Company on legal matters especially vetting, reviewing and advising on contracts, which must mean that your legal knowledge must be at your fingertips. The responsibility of getting your company in the best legal position in any transactions or negotiations is shouldered upon you. Huge responsibility I must say.

But I won’t and can’t say that I do have everything at the back of my head yet since I was employed as a fresh graduate when I started as a Legal Counsel and so, have myriads to learn! Even my boss humbly told me once that she’s actually still learning as she goes along…

A common misconception is that all law graduates/lawyers/legal counsels are well-equipped with all kinds of laws, but little do they know the several different types of laws that exist. We don’t learn every single law back in law school, you know? The same goes for medicine graduates/doctors, most of them will be able to treat and advise on general illnesses but once specialisation kicks in, they might not be in a favourable position to do so.

Plus, I read English law, not Singapore law… As such I still have to read up on Singapore law too. Apart from that, since globalisation is at its prime, every now and then I’ve to read up on some international law as well.

I can’t say for sure that I foresee myself stuck at the same co, same job and same life 5 to 10 years down the road… Reading, reading and more reading of contracts/agreements do bore me out…! My eyesight and dark circles have also aggravated as a result. Reading off from the laptop tires out your eyes but reading hard copies is nowhere better too.

I’ve to say that this job might not be easy, but I am thankful for great colleagues and boss! I count myself really really lucky to have been handpicked by my boss who interviewed me during the job interview… And well, the $ is comfortably acceptable too. That is not to say that I had sucky colleagues before, I still did meet lots of great people out there when I was intern-ing and working as a Legal Executive (before graduation while waiting for results) before joining this current company.

Sometimes it’s not so much about the job that is difficult, it’s the people that are making life difficult for you. 

Sorry, just felt like babbling today and I know I ain’t that coherent today due to the lack of slp… :p

Oh yes, don’t forget to check out my new beauty article on My Fat Pocket on ‘Korean Celebrities’ Most Wanted Facial Features‘ ! 🙂



Lifestyle – Speak Up! – Chinese man sues wife for being ‘ugly’

You’ve heard about it. You’ve seen this piece of news on the front page of My Fat Pocket a few days back or perhaps chanced upon it on Yahoo! News etc.

When I first got to know about this absurdity, lots of flash thoughts flooded in and I took great interest in it.

The first question that got to my mind was, on what grounds on divorce did Jian Feng (ex-husband/plaintiff/petitioner) file his petition?

Having to have studied English Law (Family Law was my favourite subject!) back in law school and had few months of internship experience with Singapore’s Family Law,  it’s no surprise that I started to dig up more info…

Perhaps the word ‘Divorce’ was loosely used because being ugly amounts to no grounds to file for a divorce. The right term would be an annulled marriage. Now, what’s the difference between an annulled marriage and a divorce? Read it here (Singapore Law) and here (English Law).

So technically speaking, based on the grounds for a voidable marriage under English Law and Singapore Law, ‘being ugly’ could be catgorised under the the ground that ‘either of you did not validly consent to it, whether in consequence of duress, mistake, unsoundness of mind or otherwise’.

Mistake as to the identity of the party that is.

Following English Law,  a mistake as to the identity of the other party is generally sufficient to make a marriage voidable, but a mistake as to his attributes, or as to the effect of the marriage, is not.

The word ‘attributes’ would surely cover appearance unless the petitioner mistook the other party as someone else, for example, Lin Chi-ling or Zhang Ziyi.

Taking great interest and adopting a holistic overview, I took the liberty to research on PRC Family Law.

Chapter 4 of the Marriage Law of PRC Article 32 states :

Article 32:  Where either the husband or wife applies to get divorced, the departments concerned may make mediations, or he or she may file a suit at the peoples court for divorce. The peoples court shall make mediations in the process of hearing a divorce suit; divorce shall be granted if mediation fails because mutual affection no longer exists. Divorce shall be granted if any of the following circumstances occurs and mediation fails: a) either party is a bigamist or a person who has a spouse but co-habits with another person; b) there is family violence or maltreatment or desertion of any family member; c) either party is indulged in gambling, drug-abuse or has other vicious habits and refuses to mend his or her ways despite of repeated admonition; d) both parties have lived separately due to lack of mutual affection for up to two years; e) other circumstances that have led to the nonexistence of mutual affection as husband and wife. If either party has been declared by court as to be missing and the other party applies to be divorced, divorce shall be granted.

I know the gazillion words are boring you out and the topic might not be of any interest to you, but technically speaking, pursuant to Art 32 stated above, false pretences by the wife can’t possibly fall under any of the categories (a) to (e). But to squeeze the law dry, perhaps (e) is the most probable, but it does state ‘mutual’ affection. The husband certainly did not feel any affection towards his ex-wife and most probably resent towards her right now…

Plus, under ‘Voidable’ marriage, in Chapter 2 Article 11, it does not state on what grounds can a marriage be annulled but merely stated ‘intimidated marriage’. Whatever definitions provided for by PRC Law, surely ‘being ugly’ could not have intimidated the husband right? 😉

So, the judge allowed the divorce based on ‘False Pretense’ (Extracted from Yahoo! News and My Fat Pocket) which does not belong to any of the grounds for a voidable marriage nor for a divorce petition.

And apart from filing a divorce and being granted his wish, the ex-husband went on to sue the ex-wife as well. Perhaps under Contract Law – under Misrepresentation, but surely it does not make sense, albeit a marriage is a contract? Offer, Acceptance, Consideration and Intention to create legal relations are the elements of a formation of a valid contract. And because the ex-husband sued her, he was awarded a whooping sum of $120k in total. By a male judge of course.

A marriage contract should not be seen as just a contract, what more a commercial contract.

All that ‘sanctity of marriage’ lovey-dovey is all crap.

And apart from that, women in China can still be said to face sex discrimination and anti-feminism is still being drowned under waters. Read here for another similar interesting article.

 “Law is the highest reason implanted in Nature, which commands what ought to be done and forbids the opposite.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 B.C.) 

Is this then really true? In all honesty, it’s really the people who create and command..