LawLink September 2014

 Alumni Feature

Down Memory Lane

Within a span of over 40 years, Justice Andrew Ang ’71 had a legal career that included his time at NUS Law as an academic, a leading corporate and tax lawyer, and as High Court Judge. During his judicial tenure, Justice Ang also served as the Chairman of the Singapore Mediation Centre (2006 to 2011). He was also Vice-Chairman of the Law Reform Committee from 2006 to 2011, and a member of NUS Law’s Advisory Board.

Having recently retired after almost 10 years as a High Court Judge, Justice Ang is currently a consultant with Lee & Lee. He shares with LawLink his memories at NUS Law both as a student and as an academic, and his favourite moments during his career.

LawLink: What or who inspired you to take on a career in law?
Justice Ang: I applied to study law at my father’s suggestion. In retrospect, it was an inspired choice. As there was little that I knew of the career options a law degree offered, on my own, I would not have chosen to pursue a career in the law

LawLink: What is your best memory of law school?
Justice Ang: I don’t think I can single one out as the ‘best’ memory. However, I do recall fondly the First year classes conducted by Tommy Koh ’61 (in Criminal Law) and David Wong (in Torts). Later, as a member of the Law Faculty, I enjoyed the daily tea breaks that we had where amid biscuits and banter, we often had lively discussions. The good-natured interaction between faculty members in such a setting conduced to the building of rapport and, in some instances, even camaraderie.


LawLink: If you could change one thing about your law school days, what would it be?
Justice Ang: The Faculty then was small in comparison to what it is today. Naturally the curriculum was mostly prescribed. I would have liked to have more optional courses available.

LawLink: Having pursued careers as an academic, a practitioner and a judge, what aspects of each role did you like best?
Justice Ang: As an academic, I enjoyed the freedom to use my time at my discretion after the necessary preparation for classes. As a practitioner, I liked the challenge of structuring, drafting and negotiating deals. But the pressure could be intense at times.

When I went on the bench, one obvious advantage I immediately noticed was that there were no more urgent phone calls or messages. The only pressure that I had to deal with as a Judge was that which I put on myself to deliver timely judgments. More importantly, I often felt gratified to be able to play a part in righting a wrong.


LawLink: What are some of your favourite activities that you’ve been able to indulge in after your retirement?
Justice Ang: For me, one of the joys of retirement is the ability to spend time with my delightful grandchildren. I also have the luxury of settling into my easy chair to catch up on reading for pleasure. However, it is not all play. I do appreciate the occasional opportunity to work when I am called upon to mediate or arbitrate a dispute.


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