Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 16:29

REMEMBERING MR HARRY ELIAS SC: A “TOWER OF STRENGTH”

SAL is sad to hear of the passing of Mr Harry Elias SC. Mr Elias passed away on August 26 at the age of 83. This excerpt, adapted from an oral history interview with the late Mr Joseph Grimberg SC, sheds light on the bond the legal luminaries shared.

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In the late 1960s, Mr Elias was practising in Kuala Lumpur when he got a call from Mr Grimberg, who was then a Senior Partner at Drew & Napier in Singapore. Mr Grimberg recalled, “I called him at Shearn Delamore and asked him because he was Singaporean… if he was interested in coming to Singapore and he leapt at the opportunity.”

Mr Elias was among the first locals to join Drew & Napier, at a time when large firms in Singapore were increasing their intake of local lawyers. He became an administrative partner in 1979 and in an interview with SAL, Mr Grimberg paid tribute to his abilities:

“Harry was a tower of strength in the firm because we would have partners’ meetings… I was hopeless at admin, hopeless and Harry would sit on my right and he would do the admin and do the money bit and the finance and how much we could afford to borrow, how much we could pay out this month.”

Mr Elias left Drew & Napier in 1988 to start his own, Harry Elias & Partners, which was later renamed Harry Elias Partnership. 

Listen to Mr Grimberg's oral history interview with SAL here.

Mr Elias also sat down for an oral history interview with SAL; it will be released in December.

The interviews are part of The Development of The Singapore Legal System, a joint oral history project by SAL’s Legal Heritage Committee and the Oral History Centre, National Archives of Singapore.

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