In the Company of Legal Giants

Taylor’s University law student leaders get a once in a lifetime opportunity to mingle with learned legal eagle.
Recently, Taylor’s Law School hosted close to 20 representatives of the Malaysian legal field to a dinner in honour of Dato’ Mahadev Shankar, who was recently accorded a Honorary Doctorate in Humanities during the Taylor’s University 14th Convocation. The dinner, part of the School’s industry engagement exercise, was also participated in by some of its student leaders.

The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business & Law, Professor Jonathan Winterton said that this event was organised to allow the students a unique opportunity to interact with legal practitioners, both practicing and retired, in order to further develop their understanding of the Malaysian legal scene.

“We wanted our students to view the legal field through the eyes of these renowned practitioners and tap into their wealth of knowledge,” said Professor Winterton.

A group picture of all the guests who attended the dinner
Shaiyla Anbalagan, who’s the President of the Taylor’s Law Society, was incredibly grateful to have been in the company of legal giants like Tan Sri V.C George, a former Judge of the Court of Appeal; Tan Sri James Foong, a former Federal Court judge; George Varughese, the President of the Malaysian Bar and Steven Thiru, the Immediate Past President of the Malaysian Bar, just to name a few of the legal luminaries who were present.

“From the moment I stepped into the venue, I was in awe of the people who were invited to be part of the dinner. This, as they have all achieved so much and have helped shape the judiciary, the legal profession and other industries into what it is today.

“I was seated with Dato’ Abdullah bin Mohd Yusof, a Partner at Messrs. Abdullah & Zainuddin, and Datin Yasmin Merican, who runs her own consultation firm, Trax Associates. Even though I was a little intimidated by their collective experience and impressive stature, Dato’ Abdullah and Datin Yasmin had a way of making me feel comfortable being around them and I was able to chat with them about how the judiciary and legal profession was back in the day and some issues that related to that, comparing it with the current state of affairs.”

“I think it’s very impressive that even without all the learning tools we have today, our predecessors did a fine job and have set great precedents for us,” said the second year student. 

For Amitaesh Theva, the experience of rubbing shoulders with senior members of the judiciary was a once in a lifetime opportunity. For the dinner, the first year student was seated at the same table as Captain Abdul Razak Hashim, a Partner at Sri Ling & Associates.

Amitaesh (left) took home fond memories of the event thanks to the insight learnt through conversing with the guests
“From speaking with Captain Razak, I learnt that he has made full use of every moment of his life and does what makes him happy. We had several conversations about the timeline of his life and which parts he would repeat if he could go back. It is evident that Captain Razak is a very hardworking man, and that will always inevitably lead to success,” said Amitaesh.

Davina Judith Satvinder, who’s in the last semester of her first year, said that the experience has broadened her view of the legal field here.

“I was able to talk to Tan Sri James Foong and Tan Sri VC George; in one night! For me, as a first year student, this was an amazing opportunity as I have read so many of their judgements and it was surreal to be able to speak to them in person.

“Through the course of the evening, the lawyers and former judges spoke of their time in law school and how it formed some of their most treasured memories. This exchange with them has inspired me to really enjoy the whole process of getting my degree and gaining as much knowledge and experience I can,” said Davina.

In addition to the thought-provoking conversations they had with guests during the dinner, all three students said the highlight was listening to Dato’ Mahadev Shankar deliver a speech.

Davina said that listening to Dato’ Mahadev speak was inevitably inspiring, as he speaks with much charisma and wisdom.

“This is not the first time I’m listening to him speak and I welcome any opportunity to soak up the pearls of wisdom that are frequent throughout his speeches. The three words I took away from the speech he gave during the dinner were vision, courage and dedication.

“I will shape and form the pillars of my career that I am soon to embark on, on these three words,” she said.

Amitaesh said that the speech by Dato Mahadev was captivating, clearly proving what a great speaker the former judge is.

“In many ways, it was motivating to listen to him as he gave all the guests a journey into his past- from how he became a lawyer and judge, to the many hardships he had faced,” he said.

For Shaiyla, Dato Shankar’s speech was so heartfelt and a tribute to his friends and family, especially his wife, Datin Janet Shankar.

“It showed me that no matter how successful someone becomes, it is so important to stay humble and appreciate those around you who have helped you on your journey to success.

“Another thing that I think is worth mentioning are Dato’ Shankar’s colleagues and friends who stepped up to reminisce about their memories of him and to express how much he meant to them and how he has been there for them throughout the years.

“Through this event especially, I have learnt how wise and passionate he is not just about law but also literature and music. It was great to see him being recognised for his efforts and contributions,” said Shaiyla.