June 28, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and Taylor Wessing Go Global With Digital Data Protection Tool

International law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, in conjunction with Taylor Wessing, launched its inaugural Global Data Protection Guide (GDPG) - spanning more than 60 countries - to capitalise on market demand for readily accessible information on data protection laws. This innovative online map examines national data protection laws in multiple jurisdictions across the globe, for the benefit of all businesses across all sectors, who need to navigate the complexities of the global data privacy landscape. The GDPG addresses, amongst many others, the following questions:  Is there a national data protection law in place? Are data processing notification requirements enforced by a regulator? Are there rules on data transfers? What are the guidelines for employee monitoring? In addition, the tool allows the user to compare up to 5 countries at a time spanning data protection regimes across Europe, the US, South America, parts of Asia and Africa. The GDPG will be regularly updated so that it fully encompasses all significant changes relating to global data protection, including the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will occur in May 2018. The GDPR is a regulation by which the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission intend to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). The primary objectives of the GDPR are to give control back to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international businesses by unifying the regulation within the EU. While Singapore has its own data protection laws in the form of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), Singapore businesses are increasingly recognising the need to comply with the GDPR as well. Singapore is the EU’s largest commercial partner in ASEAN and local companies that do business with customers from the EU risk incurring hefty fines if they do not comply with the GDPR. Rizwi Wun, Partner in the Intellectual Property & Technology practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing noted, “As data emerges as the new currency in the digital economy, the protection of data will be one key component of this new era. The GDPG will provide easy access to a useful database of data protection laws in many countries, and will prove to be a tool that companies will no doubt find very useful as a valuable resource.” Vin Bange, Partner in the International Data Protection practice at Taylor Wessing commented, “With data protection compliance becoming headline news and following on from direct client feedback, the GDPG is incredibly timely. Data Protection laws impact all businesses, across all sectors, worldwide which means companies are now sitting up and taking note of what this actually means. Put simply, no business can escape from these laws. The idea, therefore, behind GDPG is to address the issues worrying firms head on and help everyone prepare for the market changes ahead." The new launch follows other recent innovations by Taylor Wessing, including the TW: Cyber Response app and builds on the wealth of international industry-focused thought leadership content available on the Global Data Hub, which provides expert insight and analysis on data protection issues and Download, which offers guidance on key developments in the media and technology sectors. View the Global Data Protection Guide here.
June 19, 2017

Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat shares with The Business Times the different schemes RHTLaw Taylor Wessing adopts in taking in practice trainees following the glut of law graduates in Singapore

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat was quoted in The Business Times article titled “More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay”. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 19 June 2017. More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 19 June 2017 Author: Claudia Chong FOLLOWING the glut of law graduates in Singapore, more local law firms are taking in practice trainees who are unable to secure placements elsewhere - on the condition that they do not receive an honorarium during their stint. Both foreign and local law graduates are required to complete a six-month practice training contract at a Singapore law practice before being called to the Bar. Senior partner Tan Chong Huat told The Business Times that his firm, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, typically has different schemes for the practice trainees that it takes in. Trainees in the first scheme are those that the firm intends to retain - "mature students" or those with a "very good track record". Trainees in the second scheme have their pay varied and have not been identified for retention. The last scheme comprises trainees who were unable to find a place at other law firms to complete their training. "They come around and say, 'Can you offer us a place here?' Mostly these will be business associates' referrals," said Mr Tan. "So we take them on and they might just have no pay." Honorariums for training contracts can range from S$800 to S$1,600 a month, according to a listing on the Law Society of Singapore website. Another senior partner practising at a large local law firm said that for the past two years, his firm has taken in one or two such trainees per year. But these arrangements are kept private between the trainee and the management to avoid stigmatisation, and the trainees perform the standard rotation work and are exposed to the same kinds of cases as ordinary trainees, he said. These unpaid trainees are often graduates who read law overseas; returning overseas graduates might face difficulties securing a training contract if they had not previously interned at law firms here. "How we, as a firm, hire trainees nowadays is nearly always through (structured) internships. We very seldom hire trainees through direct applications," said the senior partner, who spoke to BT on condition of anonymity. Students reading law at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore Management University (SMU) are encouraged to pursue internships during semester breaks. While NUS Law does not make internships mandatory for students, SMU requires undergraduates undergoing its bachelor of laws programme to complete 10 weeks of internship with either a law firm or a legal department, or a combination of both. The issue of the glut of lawyers here has become a hotly debated topic in recent years. While the number of students accepted yearly by NUS and SMU's law schools has remained fairly constant, the annual number of returning overseas law graduates rose from around 210 in 2011 to around 310 in 2015, said the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) in response to queries from BT. The increase in students reading law overseas prompted MinLaw in 2015 to axe eight UK universities from the list of foreign universities approved for graduate admission to the Singapore Bar. The move was implemented from Academic Year 2016/17 onwards; there are now 11 UK universities on the list. In the meantime, it appears that returning graduates will continue to struggle to get a training contract placement. Statistics from MinLaw show that from 2011 to 2015, around 70 per cent of overseas-trained graduates secured training contracts, compared to around 90 per cent of local graduates. In response, the Singapore Institute of Legal Education in December 2015 made changes to the number of practice trainees that a senior practitioner can supervise, easing the quota from two to four. "There has been an influx of law graduates in the past few years and not enough training places to absorb them all," said Stefanie Yuen Thio, joint managing director of TSMP Law Corporation. "Firms that previously did not take in trainees have started doing so, partly to do their bit for law graduates who cannot otherwise get contracts." Small-sized firm Exodus Law Corporation typically has two to four trainees working with it at any given time, though the firm's managing director Daniel Xu said that it does not need more than two trainees. The firm gives its trainees an allowance of S$300 to S$500 a month to cover their basic expenses, depending on the applicant's previous work experience. "I am not paying the best allowance in town. I am one of the lowest among the rest, but I can't afford more," said Mr Xu. "As far as I'm concerned . . . I'm doing a form of National Service - providing these graduates with an opportunity to complete their training so that they can go on and become lawyers in the near future."
June 19, 2017

Family and Matrimonial Law Partner Michelle Woodworth wrote an article published in AsiaOne titled “Dads, here’s how to survive Father’s Day post-divorce”

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Family and Matrimonial Law Partner Michelle Woodworth wrote an article published in AsiaOne titled “Dads, here's how to survive Father's Day post-divorce”. The article was first published in the 19 June 2017 edition of AsiaOne. Dads, here's how to survive Father's Day post-divorce Source: AsiaOne Date: 19 June 2017 Author: Michelle Woodworth Celebrating special occasions post-divorce may no longer be the same, not just for ex-spouses but for the children caught in between as well. In the immediate years following a divorce, Mother's and Father's Day can be emotionally charged seasons. Such occasions can also be confusing and pressurising for children as they adjust to not celebrating the occasion together with both parents. For Mother's Day a month ago, I shared how divorced mothers can and should still celebrate their motherhood. On the back of Father's Day this weekend, my hope is for ex-partners to embrace their lives post-divorce or separation. In these times, dads are no longer just breadwinners for the family. They are actively involved in their children's lives and do make the time to bond with them. My experience has revealed that divorced dads can be plagued with feelings of inadequacy for not always being there for their children. This is a real concern post-divorce if they become the non-residential parent. It is still possible to nurture a loving relationship with children post-divorce. Here are some suggested strategies to make fathering forever: Don't be a 'Disney Dad' Some dads feel a need to "make it up" to their children by trying to plan every visit as a fun-filled one. From taking the children to amusement parks or buying them the latest toys or gadgets, there may be an internalised perception that indulgence is the best way to show love. While children may respond well to gift-giving, it is suggested that the load of routine and daily parenting, such as helping children with homework or getting them to help out with household chores, form part of time spent together. Sharing consistent boundaries While you may not be living with your children, it may go a long way to participate in the dos and don'ts in a consistent manner with your co-parent. Where possible, develop an approach that is enforced in both homes. Composing such a list as co-parents, for example, a set bedtime on school nights, displays a commitment to parenting children as a team, putting personal differences aside. Treat your ex with respect and civility It may be challenging for ex-partners to maintain a cordial relationship all the time. Yet, continued hostility and conflict between parents hurt children. Avoid directing feelings of resentment or anger about the demised relationship to your children. Rather, reinforce to the children that both parents love them, no matter what. Be emotionally present Your divorce, separation or breakdown in relationship may have taken a toll on you emotionally, but do try not to emotionally detach from your children. Children thrive on love, affection and affirmation. Always let your children know you are available and willing to talk or listen, even if you may not physically be with them. Parenting is forever, even if a relationship has ended. Involved fatherhood post such an event can be a reality. This Father's Day, a big shout-out to all dads. A very happy Father's Day! To the giants in my life, my loving father and husband, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." (Isaac Newton in 1676). Michelle Woodworth is a Partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, Court-appointed Child Representative, Senior Mediator under the Law Society Mediation Scheme, and an IMI and SIMI certified Mediator.
June 16, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing ranked as Leading Family & Divorce Law Firm in Doyles’ Guide 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing has been recognised as a Leading Family & Divorce Law Firm in Doyles’ Guide 2017. Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth is also ranked as a Leading Family & Divorce Lawyer in the guide. The 2017 listing of leading Singapore Family & Divorce Law Firms details firms practising within the areas of family, divorce and matrimonial law matters in the Singapore legal market who have been identified by their peers for their expertise and abilities in these areas. Similarly, leading lawyers’ ranking were based on lawyers who met such criteria.