SMU Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic saw 14.8% more cases in 2022
Singapore, 3 November 2022 (Thursday) – According to the latest Annual Report released by Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Pro Bono Centre (PBC) for the period January to September 2022, the number of cases seen by the Centre’s Legal Clinic rose by 14.8% to 155 cases, compared with 135 for the same period in 2021. The most common types of cases seen in the same period were those related to family (14.8%), employment (13.9%), tenancy (13.5%) and criminal (11.1%). While the Class of 2022 (LLB and JD) are required to complete at least 20 pro bono hours upon graduation, they served an average of 42.6 pro bono hours, and recorded a total of 8,698.2 hours.
The PBC Annual Report was released this evening at the Centre’s annual Appreciation Dinner, which was graced by Guest-of-Honour Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development.
The event held at the Yong Pung How School of Law served to thank lawyers and students for their contributions, as well as community partners for offering a wide range of pro bono placement opportunities to SMU Law students.
Ms Rajah also gave out eight top Awards at the event to deserving students and volunteer lawyers for their outstanding pro bono efforts:
- Spirit of Pro Bono Hero Award (JD) : Ms Sarah Teo
- Spirit of Pro Bono Hero Award (LLB) : Ms Meher Malhotra
- Spirit of Pro Bono Leadership Award : Ms Kit Pang
- Spirit of Pro Bono Endeavour Award : Mr Neo Yu Fan
- Spirit of Pro Bono Bronze Award : Mr Alvin Sia, Ms Charlotte Tan and Ms Jolie Giouw
- Spirit of Pro Bono Pinnacle Award : Mr Richard Tan Ming Kirk
The Spirit of Pro Bono Hero Award (JD) winner, Ms Sarah Teo, completed 70.4 pro bono hours; while the Spirit of Pro Bono Hero Award (LLB) winner, Ms Meher Malhotra, completed 311.8 pro bono hours. Both of them are from the Class of 2022, and had completed the most number of pro bono hours amongst their respective JD and LLB cohorts upon graduation.
Volunteer lawyer Mr Richard Tan was lauded for not only participating the most times this year at the SMU Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic but also for having done so for the past three consecutive years. He wins the Spirit of Pro Bono Pinnacle Award. The Centre also recognised the commitment of Mr Alvin Sia, Ms Charlotte Tan and Ms Jolie Giouw for serving more than five years as a volunteer lawyer at the Centre’s Legal Clinic.
Two new award categories – Spirit of Pro Bono Leadership and Endeavour – were also given to Ms Kit Pang and Mr Neo Yu Fan who stood out by initiating Project Lighthouse and developing pro bono opportunities for their peers in at the Yong Pung How School of Law.
Certificates of appreciation were also presented to three JD graduates and 28 LLB graduates from the Class of 2022 who completed more than 50 and 80 hours respectively in approved pro bono work; as well as to 23 volunteer lawyers in recognition of their participation at the Centre’s Legal Clinic in 2022.
Minister Indranee Rajah acknowledged the pro bono contributions of PBC, along with the legal fraternity, community leaders and Law students.
Professor of Law, Chan Wing Cheong, Director of the SMU Pro Bono Centre, said, “Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the number and range of pro bono placement opportunities available to our students, it certainly has not dampened their spirit to contribute to the community. Some of them have even initiated pro bono projects to create pro bono opportunities for their peers.”
“Going forward, the detrimental economic effects of the pandemic continue to be felt, and geo-political uncertainties in the rest of the world are expected to take a toll on the economy. Our Centre is glad to be in a position to continue to lend a helping hand to those in need, and facilitate access to law and justice. I thank all our partners for entrusting our students with the invaluable opportunity to utilise their legal knowledge to give back to society meaningfully,” he added.
- The PBC Annual Report (Jan – Sep 2022) can be viewed here.
- Annex 1 - Citation of Pro Bono Award recipients
- Annex 2 - Fact sheet – Community service and pro bono contribution by SMU law students