September 11, 2017

External counselling services are accessible to lawyers to cope with the stress of the legal profession, shares Deputy Managing Partner Azman Jaafar with The Sunday Times

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Managing Partner Azman Jaafar shares with The Sunday Times that external counselling services are accessible to lawyers to cope with the stress of the legal profession. The article was first published in The Sunday Times on 10 September 2017. Law and accounting firms taking steps to tackle stress Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd Date: 10 September 2017 Author: Ng Huiwen The hours can be long but there must be a purpose to their work, say young lawyers. Mr Lee Yi Liang, 28, who practised for about a year before becoming an in-house counsel, said that young lawyers like him were made to feel like they were just moneymakers for the firm. "It is not about the hours (you put in). It must be fulfilling too, otherwise there's no impetus to continue," he said. And it is not just in the legal profession. Young accountants are also feeling the heat, and leaving the industry for the same reasons. Law and accounting firms contacted by The Sunday Times said they are aware of the stress and work-life challenges impacting the young professionals, and have processes to help them. Law firm Withers KhattarWong, for instance, has an informal "buddy system" that allows junior lawyers to consult their seniors when faced with issues, said partner Sharon Lin. The firm has 88 lawyers, of which about 30 per cent have less than five years of experience. Some of its international offices have tie-ups with independent healthcare consultants to run a confidential helpline, and this could be extended here too, she said. Employees at Big Four accounting firm PwC Singapore have access to one-on-one counselling with certified psychologists to help with work and personal problems. These sessions, which can be carried out face to face or over the phone, are free and confidential, said human capital leader Trillion So. Similarly, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing deputy managing partner Azman Jaafar stressed that lawyers have access to external counselling services. "As senior lawyers, we understand that lawyers can feel overworked and under-appreciated at times," he said. Accounting firms Ernst & Young and Deloitte Singapore have focused on creating social and sporting activities, while at mid-sized firm Straits Law Practice, ad hoc lunches and drinks allow lawyers to interact in an informal setting. And at Fortis Law Corporation, founder Patrick Tan said young lawyers, who make up about half of the firm's strength of 29, are not made to do just the "grunt work". "Our motivation is simple: If the young lawyers enjoy legal practice, acquire new skills and feel involved in the business, they will probably stay longer in the firm and in the profession," he said. Mr Z.K. Lim, who previously worked for a large local law firm, said he did have help when he was practising for a year. "I was quite lucky to have partners who would be around to guide me and help manage the stress. But much of it also came from wanting to do our best for our clients," he said. But that meant being on his toes all the time. He said: "After a year or so in practice, I was tired of not being able to 'switch off' even when I was not at work."
September 8, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is proud to be Gold Sponsor of the launch of Action Community for Entrepreneurship International Centre, aim to help local start-ups expand overseas and international entrepreneurs find opportunities in Singapore

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the launch of Action Community for Entrepreneurship International Centre (ACEIC). The launch marks the inauguration of the first one-stop centre within the Singapore Start-up Ecosystem to facilitate start-ups’ access to global markets and allow overseas start-ups and multipliers to network as well as collaborate with the start-ups in Singapore. Head of Intellectual Property & Technology, Jonathan Kok, represented the Firm at the launch. The sponsorship is part of the Firm’s ongoing commitment towards supporting the entrepreneurship landscape through facilitating the growth of local and overseas companies into the Asian region by tapping on its international capabilities. The launch on 6 September 2017 was held at the heart of the nation’s evolving start-up ecosystem, the JTC LaunchPad @ One-North and is supported by SPRING Singapore, International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) and JTC Corporation (JTC). It brought together representatives from trade associations and chambers, embassies, government agencies, innovation hubs and Singapore government agencies to advance towards establishing reciprocal exchanges with start-ups in Singapore.  Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade & Industry and Ministry of National Development, Dr Koh Poh Koon was the Guest-of-Honour. In his officiating speech, Dr Koh said, “The establishment of the ACEIC is therefore timely, to enhance global connections for our entrepreneurs and provide a platform for start-ups to expand into regional markets.”
September 8, 2017

Life Sciences and Healthcare Partner (Foreign Lawyer) Erwan Barre invited as a moderator for the MedTech SME Workshop organised by the Asia Pacific Medical Technology Association

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Life Sciences & Healthcare Partner (Foreign Lawyer) Erwan Barre was invited as a moderator for a MedTech and Digital Health panel discussion at the MedTech SME Workshop 2017, organised by the Asia-Pacific Medical Technology Association (APACMed). The 3rd edition of this event featured an information-packed programme tailored to the needs of medical device and IVD start-ups, digital health ventures, mid-sized MedTech R&D and manufacturing businesses, as well as research institutes, investors and service providers. Participants were given guidance and deep insights into the opportunities and challenges presented in the medical technology industry. Erwan moderated a panel discussion on the topic “Investment into MedTech & Digital Health in Asia” and shared his expert knowledge on the mergers and acquisition scene. The panellists comprised: Philip Kowalczyk, Senior Director of New Business Development Asia Pacific at Johnson & Johnson Medical CJ Chen, Head of Strategic Initiatives for Emerging Asia at Baxter Ong Jeong Shing, Investment Director for Venturecraft Colin Tan, Chief Operating Officer of EndoMaster The one-day workshop was attended by over 100 C-Suites, directors and business development professionals from start-ups, SMEs and major organisations including Abbot and the Health Sciences Authority.
September 6, 2017

“A common misconception is that women are automatically entitled to spousal maintenance”, shares Family and Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth in her article written for theAsianparent

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth contributed an article published in theAsianparent titled “Post-divorce formalities in Singapore: What you should know about spousal support”. The article was first published on theAsianparent on 6 September 2017. Post-divorce formalities in Singapore: What you should know about spousal support Source: Copyright © theAsianparent 2017 Date: 6 September August 2017 Post-divorce formalities in Singapore: Understanding one's rights and obligations when a marriage breaks down... Once a decision has been made to dissolve a marriage, it is normal for both parties to experience uncertainty, denial, grief, and oftentimes anger. Parties wonder what went wrong. However, once the maelstrom of emotions subside, considerations such as spousal or child support, the division of matrimonial assets and child care arrangements surface. Though divorce is not a decision to be taken lightly, it need not be a painful protracted process for the separating couple. Understanding one’s rights and obligations when a marriage breaks down can help transition parties during the divorce process. Making sense of spousal maintenance A common misconception is that women are automatically entitled to spousal maintenance. This is not the case. Both men and women can apply for maintenance and the court looks at certain factors to determine whether the party seeking maintenance has such a need and if so, then the quantum of a maintenance award. Factors the court takes into consideration include the age of the couple, how long have they been married, their lifestyle, contributions made by each party to the family and the financial needs and responsibilities of both parties in the future. As the adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Enter into these considerations fully prepared. List expenses in detail and support why you have these claims. For example, if you have a medical condition or you are on long-term or ongoing medication and need financial support to assist, I recommend submitting a medical report specifying what the condition is, the medication needed, and the cost of such medication each month. Another query I typically get is whether spousal maintenance lasts forever. It does not. Spousal support ceases when the wife or husband receiving maintenance remarries, or when either party passes away. Dealing with maintenance defaults and what can be done For many, non-payment of maintenance is a real problem which persists. Common reasons are that the payor is in financial difficulty, or that the divorce was simply bitter and contentious. In cases where there is a default on maintenance payments, the onus is on the receiving party to file a complaint for the recovery of maintenance arrears. That process has recently been made easier with the introduction of Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS) since July 2017. It allows claimants to file their maintenance applications online at their own convenience.   Restructuring your family No one enters a marriage expecting to part ways down the road, but breakdowns in relationships and marriages do happen. Although issues like spousal or child maintenance can strain the relationship between ex-spouses, my advice for both parties is to appreciate that they both have needs and interests. It is worthwhile remembering that the couple is still a family unit if children are involved. The main focus for the couple going forward would be how they can restructure their family to ensure that they do what is best for their children.