Young talent rose to the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA) Legal Eagle Challenge on 29 July for the fourth year, with members of two student law societies invited for the first time.
The SCCA opened the challenge to the Australia Singapore Law Student Society and the UK Singapore Law Student Society.
“The organising committee of this challenge chose cybersecurity and crisis management as this year’s challenge as the committee saw cybersecurity as a core challenge to any general counsel’s role in organisations big and small,” Serene Gan, the SCCA board member and the chair of the SCCA student chapter that organised the event, told Asia Business Law Journal.
“Such challenges are not the exclusive domain of security experts and commercial partners, and crisis management skills are essential for any general counsel.”
Law students were immersed in a realistic simulation of the in-house counsel’s role to solve an issue at a fictional hotel, where an anonymous hacker has threatened to release data for ransom. The SCCA saw students rise to the challenge as they took on the general counsel’s role to advise the board on cybersecurity issues and crisis management, as well as prepare a press release and be interviewed by the media.
Prior to the final stage, participants attended a masterclass on cybersecurity and crisis management with presentations from Rakesh Kirpalani, director of dispute resolution and information technology and chief technology officer at Singapore law firm Drew & Napier; Illka Gobius, CEO and managing director at public relations consultancy firm Pinpoint PR; and Damien Lee, senior consultant at Cyber Security Agency’s Safer Cyberspace Division.
Subsequently, a panel discussion was also held on dealing with cyber extortion, featuring Raju Chellam, honorary chairman of cloud and data standards at the IT Standards Committee; Samson Leo, co-founder and chief legal officer of IT service management company Fazz and fintech platform Xfers; and Benjamin Ang, head of digital impact research and deputy head of the centre of excellence for national security at S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
The top six finalist teams presented before the judges comprising Daniel Choo, co-president of the SCCA; Kirpalani; and Bhavani Krishnasamy, managing director at International PR Training.
The Singapore University of Social Sciences team, comprising Aaliyah Hanna Mar’iyah Das, Mohamed Harith Iskandar, Nur Rashida Binte Sabtu, and Nirmal Prakash, were named champions, while Singapore Management University student, Euan Koh, won title of best communicator.
“The competition has provided me with a great platform to explore novel legal issues and gain valuable insights into the realm of cybersecurity and data protection law,” said Prakash of the Singapore University of Social Sciences. “Notably, it emphasised the art of crisis management as well as thinking critically to deliver realistic and practical solutions.”
The team finalists were Bryan Ong Wen Wu and Tay Ying Jenn from the National University of Singapore; Euan Koh, Kern Lee and Terry Ng from the Singapore Management University; Beverly Tan and Mukundan Vasuda from the National University of Singapore; Ong Zhi and Amanda Tan Yoke Qi from the Singapore University of Social Sciences; and Ho Kai En and Titus Soh from King’s College London and members of UK Singapore Law Student Society.
Ong of the National University of Singapore, said, “I learned that being knowledgeable alone is not enough – one must be able to remain adaptable and innovative even in the first of unfamiliar situations.”
After completing the challenges, Soh of King’s College London, said the Legal Eagle Challenge has made him realise and appreciate the multidisciplinary knowledge that an in-house legal professional must exercise.
“While most can intellectually distinguish a typical lawyer from an in-house counsel, few can appreciate the diverse skill sets exercised by the latter,” said Soh. “The in-house legal profession also seems to demand corporate and strategic decision-making as well as the need for being versatile during sudden changes, with effective communication and collaboration methods.”