Following the success of the Annual Careers Roundtable (which has been fully subscribed over the last two years and attended by many aspiring young arbitration practitioners), the Young Practitioners Network (YPN) of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIArb) launched its inaugural Mentoring Programme (the “Programme”) on 25 May 2023.
As part of the Programme, 25 young professionals with a Singapore connection or who had expressed a strong interest in Singapore, as a jurisdiction, that were keen to expand their arbitration experience were selected to form the pool of mentees. The Programme presented an exciting opportunity for selected mentees to receive mentoring from senior, established arbitration specialists. The mentors, who have generously donated their time to this Programme, include Ms. Chiann Bao, Mr. Simon Dunbar, Ms. Delphine Ho, Mr. KC Lye, Mr. Mohan Pillay, and Mr. Johnny Tan. With their backgrounds as arbitrators, counsel, and in academia, they have brought a wealth of experience with them, with perspectives that spread across the private sector and various arbitral institutions.
The mentors are supported by mid-level group facilitators for the duration of the six-month Programme cycle, who all serve on the SIArb YPN Committee. These volunteers include Mr. Ang Wee Jian, Mr. Fabian Lim, Mr. Anthony Cheah Nicholls, Ms. Meera Rajah (myself), and Ms. Khyati Raniwala.
The Programme kicked off on 25 May 2023 with a virtual networking session. The session, which began with a warm welcome from Mr. Andrew Pullen, the Vice-President of the SIArb, was expertly moderated by the Co-Chair of the YPN, Ms. Cathryn Neo. During this session, mentors went around a – virtual – roundtable and, in response to the question “What first got you interested in arbitration?”, revealed the progression of their personal foray into arbitration. After this, group facilitators were asked to share one piece of advice that they wished someone had shared with them when they first started out their professional career. The advice ranged from reading widely to focusing on developing soft skills.
The Programme is now more than halfway underway, with all mentoring groups having completed their second session and many preparing for their third. These sessions have taken place virtually and in person, with some sessions taking place in law firms and one even at the National University of Singapore. During mentoring group sessions, mentors have discussed topical issues, as well as provided practical advice and career guidance to their mentees. Topics discussed have included how to start a career in arbitration, the lifecycle of arbitral proceedings, interactions with opposing counsel, managing conflicts, diversity and inclusion, and work-life balance.
One of the mentees in the Programme, Choo Yi Xi, an Associate in the Litigation and Arbitration Practice of Chooi & Company has described it as:
An enriching experience for arbitration practitioners who would not have otherwise crossed paths to connect and support each other’s development in career. During the programme, the mentees are encouraged to talk about topical issues in the arbitration realm and the mentors would share practical insights on those issues. It is a supportive community, which is very empowering for a young practitioner such as myself.
Another mentee, Yu-Hsuan Lin, who is also a lawyer, commented:
YPN mentoring programme is very meaningful and helpful. The mentor and the group facilitator are friendly and full of passion to share their experiences and insights of arbitration, legal career, and life. I highly recommend this programme.
Click HERE for more photos of the YPN Mentoring Programme Virtual Networking & Programme Kick-Off on 25 May 2023.
Meera Rajah - Sidley Austin LLP (New York)