LESLEY FU ON APPLYING FOR ACCREDITATION
The Partner at WongPartnership was appointed an Accredited Specialist in Building and Construction Law this year.
BY ASHUTOSH RAVIKRISHNAN
Ms Lesley Fu’s first taste of construction came early in her career, when she practised at a medium-sized firm, doing general litigation and dispute resolution work. “From those first few cases, I felt there was something lucrative about construction practice,” she says. “I like being able to do work in cross-disciplinary cases and construction offered that.”
After deciding to specialise in the field, she joined WongPartnership’s construction practice in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. This year, she was named an Accredited Specialist in Building and Construction Law by the Singapore Academy of Law, joining 33 others who have been accredited by the body. “I’ve found that it assures clients when they know that their matters are being handled by someone who is recognised as a specialist in their field,” shares Ms Fu, who made Partner in 2019.
For practitioners, considering when to be accredited can be confusing. The Academy does set out some requirements: for instance, Accredited Specialists need at least five years PQE, while Senior Accredited Specialists require 10. But you may not be ready even after you meet the prerequisites, as the exam and interview are rigorous. Ms Fu says that the process was worth it, as the prep course for the examination allowed her to learn from experienced practitioners in the field. “It’s not something you get every day.”
Adds Ms Fu, “I applied last year because my experience in construction was racking up and I thought it would be a good time to step up and be accredited.” That experience, as SAL discovers, was varied. In her early years at WongPartnership, she balanced disputes and advisory work, but as time went on, she handled more disputes work, which kept her busy even through last year’s circuit-breaker. Her experience highlights some of the keys to success in the construction field: “There’s a lot of hard work involved to understand various contracts and projects. You also have to develop a wide network of contacts that you can tap to serve as expert consultants or witnesses on matters.”
The Specialist Accreditation Scheme will run the Maritime and Shipping Law accreditation programme in 2021. Lawyers interested in being accredited as an Accredited Specialist (minimum five years PQE) in this practice area are invited to apply. The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 5pm. More details here or write to [email protected] for queries.
“I’d recommend obtaining an accreditation, regardless of whether you’re a generalist or specialist. If you’re a generalist, it is a good way to distinguish yourselves from the other generalists, and also give your clients more confidence in your ability to deal with a more specialised area of law. If you’re a specialist, the accreditation will lend more credibility to your skill set, and also potentially expand your existing client base.”
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