On 23 September 2021, the Programme organized “A Fireside Chat with the Masters – The Honourable Mr. Justice Au, JA and Mr. Richard Khaw, SC”, the third event in the Series.
During the event, The Honourable, Mr. Justice Thomas Au, JA shared his journey of pursuing legal study at law school while practicing as a physiotherapist, highlighting how his professional training as a physiotherapist had actually helped him with his legal study and practice. He offered students advice on practising law, reminding students to possess “[a] high standard of integrity and intellectual honesty” and to “never lose sight of commitment to the profession”. With his candid sharing, Mr. Justice Au, JA also helped students understand the work and life of a judge and what essential qualities, such as a sense of mission, are required of a lawyer to become a judge and encouraged students to envision taking the bench.
Mr. Justice Au, JA also reminded students not to be complacent because the law is constantly changing. His insightful and genuine sharing naturally overflowed with a strong sense of mission to uphold justice and fairness. Through his impactful sharing, students were left in awe at his professionalism and dedication as a judge.
The sharing by Mr. Richard Khaw, SC had enriched students’ understanding of the work and life of a successful barrister as he introduced his arbitration practice and his four-time experiences of being a Deputy Judge at the Court of First Instance and what he had learnt from such experiences. When asked to give one piece of advice to students, he encouraged students to set short-term “micro-ambitions” for themselves and constantly engage in multi-dimensional thinking:
“Integrity and hard work aside, my advice is that you don't need to have any, say, long-term plans...I think short-term goals are good enough because life is too unpredictable for you to have any long term plans..... Your next goal will be to decide whether you want to join the profession because some students may not eventually become lawyers and you will do something else. That's perfectly alright because different people have different interests to pursue.”
In the subsequent small group session, both guests shared further insights with aspiring barristers-to-be, including practical tips on how to perform well during mini-pupillages and how to better prepare pupillage applications. Students also had the precious opportunity to meet and interact with barristers from Temple Chambers and Sir Oswald Cheung’s Chambers in small groups.