Oon & Bazul renews support towards Bursary and Prize for SMU Law students
Thursday Aug 13,2020
Oon & Bazul LLP, Singapore’s largest conflict-free law firm and leading commercial legal practice, a strong supporter and partner of SMU, has renewed its financial assistance to SMU’s law students for another five years.
Established in 2011, the Oon & Bazul Bursary has helped nine SMU law students from challenging backgrounds and enabled them to enjoy a university education free from financial worry. From the new Academic Year 2020-2021 which begins this month, the law firm will enhance its support to bursary recipients by increasing the bursary value to S$10,000 (up from $5,000 previously).
Oon & Bazul has also extended its support towards the Oon & Bazul Prize for the Top Student in Law of Torts for another five years. The annual book prize, worth S$1,500, recognises the top student in Law of Torts, a compulsory course at SMU School of Law. Since 2016, the prize has been motivating SMU law students to aim for high academic excellence.
With law firms in Singapore weathering the COVID-19 storm by deferring on new hires, Oon & Bazul is forging ahead with its Singapore-centric mandate of job creation. It announced recently that it is retaining all nine of its practice trainee graduates, seven of whom are from SMU. Its tally of nine newly-minted associates amounts to one of the highest retention aggregates across the legal sector. The trainee hires also signal an addition of 15 per cent headcount to Oon & Bazul’s current slate of 60 lawyers.
“Hiring based on talent and sheer hard work is very much integral to Oon & Bazul’s operating ethos. The firm was built on the efforts of talented individuals and we continue to operate, even now, on the philosophy that quality human resource is an existential need for the firm. I believe that it is important to reward our people well and it was a careful decision made to retain remuneration tiers at generous levels despite difficult circumstances,” said Mr Bazul Ashhab, Managing Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution of Oon & Bazul.
“The firm has been extremely lucky to ride the wave of Singapore’s success in cementing its place as a preferred venue for dispute resolution, since inception, over the last 18 years. The hard work and financial prudence together with the invaluable support received from the government’s wage supplement grant allowed us to protect the livelihoods of our employees; especially in an ongoing technical recession as a result of the COVID-19 fallout. More importantly, our clients believe in the value that we bring to them and we continue to be busy during this trying period. I am confident this will pass and that we will emerge stronger,” he added.
Professor Goh Yihan, Dean of SMU School of Law, said, “It is testament to the calibre of our graduates that seven out of nine trainees have been retained. Moving forward, we envision a continued engagement with Oon & Bazul to providing career opportunities for fresh graduate entrants into the legal sector.”
On being retained as an associate with Oon & Bazul, Ilene Chua (centre, top in above photo), a law graduate from the Class of 2019, said, “The last seven months at Oon & Bazul have provided me with a wealth of learning moments and I am grateful for the opportunity to become an official practising lawyer with the firm. During my traineeship, I worked under the firm’s managing partner, Bazul, and his team. While there is a steep learning curve, the insights gained from being involved in client matters, to observing Bazul and senior lawyers in his team in action, have been invaluable and instrumental in my development as a young lawyer. Having a nurturing and supportive environment around me also made the last seven months truly rewarding. My traineeship at Oon & Bazul has been truly enriching and I look forward to my time as an associate here!”
In spite of the setbacks presented by COVID-19, the firm believes in staff training, and continued efforts in honing a critical mass of excellent, next-generation lawyers.
“The Singapore story is about social mobility. It is about how this country was built. The firm will strive to proactively drive as many employment opportunities as possible for Singaporeans. Even in times of economic and social disruption, Oon & Bazul is undeterred in its pursuit to seek out the best human capital our nation has to offer. We harness talent to continue attracting good volumes of work through sound business development plans, and on the back of strong client relationships in Singapore and overseas,” said Mr Bazul Ashhab.