Dato' Lawrence Chiong Sheng Fan
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I am married with 2 kids, one girl and one boy, aged 9 and 7 respectively.
I was called to the Malaysian Bar in year 2002 and have actively practised law since then. I am currently the Managing Partner of my founded firm, Messrs Chiong & Partners since March 2009. Currently, we have altogether 4 partners, 6 legal assistants and 4 chambering students in our firm and more than 40 clerical staff in total for 3 branches within the peninsular Malaysia.
I was conferred with the “Dato’ship” by one of the Sultans (King) in Malaysia in year 2014 after being named by various associations that I have been serving since year 2006, which carries the title of [Dato’] in front of my name in Malaysia. The title appeared onto my Malaysian Identity Card.
What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you chose Leeds?
It was my ambition to become a lawyer and to study law in the UK since young. After successful completion of my pre-university and the first year law programme in Malaysia, I was offered a place at the University of Leeds by Mr. Peter Seago during his visit to Malaysia in year 1997, who then became my personal tutor during my studies at the University of Leeds.
I was excited and extremely happy when receiving the offer from Mr. Seago at the material time, and of course, I had great times in UK.
Leeds was always my first choice amongst the 4 universities that I have received the offer, i.e. Liverpool, Cardiff and West of England, Bristol. I remember only 5 of us received the offer from Leeds and anyway, no regret for me to be the Leeds graduate from the bottom of my heart.
How would you describe your experience at the University and what elements would you describe as the most enjoyable?
The memories were fantastic and “colourful”. I remember I served as the Captain of the Table Tennis Club for 2 years and also as the committee member of “Malaysian and Singapore Society” where I had enjoyed very much in Leeds.
Apart from the study life in Leeds, I enjoyed very much seeing and learning the English lifestyle and culture which I am sharing with my friends and relatives all the time.
What did you think of your course? How has this helped in your chosen career?
“Fantastic” is the word I would like to describe. I had great memories for the tenure I stayed in UK. Traveling gave me not only the memories but also the knowledge in terms of English lifestyle and culture, life in the UK, etc. English are gentlemen, this was what I heard all the while before experienced in the UK. The facts were proven by my own experiences and I have no regret to spend my studies in the UK.
I studied the law programme (LL.B) in Leeds and I have been a practising lawyer in Malaysia since year 2002.
How would you describe the help and guidance given by the staff within the School?
Friendly and nice personalities, especially my personal tutor Mr. Seago. He helped me lots and I am speechless whenever being asked about this. To me, personally, UoL is just simply the best.
How would you describe the facilities at the University?
I had sweet memories of the Faculty of Law (now known as School of Law) of Leeds University. If my memory serves me well, the computer and law library at the material time (1998/1999) were great and the speed is reasonably good beyond expectation. This kind of law library was the one I expected and enjoyed.
What would you say about Leeds as a city?
It is a super nice city as far as I am concerned, a lovely study environment, a shopping paradise with nice foods and drinks. If I were given a second chance to choose a city to study in UK, the same will still go to Leeds.
Please tell us about your development since graduating from the university and how do you think your time at Leeds has helped with this?
I remembered I was proud to present myself as a Leeds graduate during the chambering interview. I was proud too whenever I mentioned myself as a law graduate from the University of Leeds. I have just taken a chambering pupil under my chambers, he is from University of Leeds too.
Please tell us about your current role/research. What are your plans for the future?
I am currently serving as the Managing Partner of Messrs Chiong & Partners, to which I was also the founder of this firm (since March 2009).
I am planning to change the current practise into LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) and is currently undergoing the detailed researches and studies pertaining thereto. Our appointed accountant firms are in the midst of looking into all our accounts and hopefully everything is smooth before we could obtain the approval from the Bar Council of Malaysia.
What would be your top tips in terms of careers advice for current students?
As an international student, I can only share with my limited experience with international students, especially, those from Malaysia.
Not only work hard but also work smart in light of the current trend of IT and internet speed. Researching of law reports are not only conducted “online”, but also via mobile apps with smart phones. Instead of concentrating on social media, e.g. Facebook, one may want to consider doing research via mobile apps. It is a faster and interesting way while using mobile phones to do law research.
Any other comments you would like to make?
Wishing all students to enjoy their studies in University of Leeds. Apart from study life, to have more fun and memories during the short tenure in Leeds, especially to international students. Make your life more colourful and interesting other than the normal study life, I am sure Leeds could provide this kind of platform.
All the best to Leeds students.