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The Auckland Branch Young Lawyers Committee Interviews Anna Cho on her IPBA Scholarship

22 August 2019

NZLS AYL Committee member, Pippa Hayward interviews Anna about the IPBA scholarship and her experience at the conference in Singapore...

Anna Cho is a solicitor at Hesketh Henry in the litigation team and a committee member of the NZLS AYL. Anna was selected as one of the young lawyer scholars to attend the IPBA Conference that was held in Singapore earlier this year.

Firstly, what is the Inter-Pacific Bar Association?

The Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) is an international association of lawyers who live in, or otherwise have a strong interest in, the Asia Pacific region. The IPBA’s principal activities include its Annual General Meeting and Conference, which provides a unique opportunity for lawyers to discuss topical legal issues and foster collegiality and development of personal and professional relationships.

How did you hear about it?

Anna Cho

I was fortunate to have colleagues who are actively involved with the IPBA. The head of Asia Practice at our firm attends the conference every year and encouraged me to apply for the young lawyers’ scholarship for the 2019 conference in Singapore. Another colleague (who is now a council member on one of the IPBA committees) was a young lawyer scholar a few years ago and offered me some helpful insights.

How long does the application take to fill out? And what information do I need?

I had to submit an essay about my career, why I should be considered for the scholarship, what I hoped to learn from attending the conference, and ideas to help promote the IPBA in my country. I also submitted some articles that I had published on construction and insurance and a letter of recommendation from my supervising partner.

Who can apply?

There are two categories of scholarships – the young lawyers’ category, and for lawyers from developing countries. Anyone who is under 35 years old and has less than 7 years of PQE can apply for the young lawyers’ scholarship. Other selection criteria include taking an active role in the legal profession, involvement in a cross-border practice and publication of an article in a reputable journal.

How can someone apply?

The scholarship application form is available on the IPBA website and can be submitted by email.

What is the scholarship/what are a person's obligations/what do they get?

The scholarship basically gives you an all-expenses-paid trip to the conference, including full registration, flights, hotel, and a stipend for miscellaneous expenses. Scholars also receive a 3-year term membership with the IPBA. We are expected to attend the conference program in full, and submit a report of our experience as an IPBA scholar.

What was your favourite part of the conference/ scholarship?

As part of the scholarship program, we were given a private guided tour of the Supreme Court of Singapore and got to sit in a trial on a high profile medical negligence case, where there were more than ten lawyers sitting at the Counsel’s table and a full public gallery. We then had the privilege of meeting one of the four justices of the Court of Appeal and former Attorney-General of Singapore, who spoke to us about Singapore’s judicial system, his career and shared his thoughts on how to best advance our career in an increasingly competitive profession.

Who did you meet?

There were about 1300 lawyers attending the conference from all over the world. The conference was filled with concurrent sessions, which allowed the attendees to not only engage in topical discussions but also meet some of the most experienced practitioners in the field (for my areas of interest, dispute resolution lawyers and arbitrators). There were plenary sessions with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the Minister of Home Affairs and Law. There were also numerous social functions held by the IPBA and side events hosted by local firms every night, which offered opportunities to mix and mingle in some of Singapore’s coolest venues. This year’s highlights included functions held at the Capitol Theatre, the National Museum, and Chijmes hall (where ‘the Crazy Rich Asians’ was filmed). The IPBA community is incredibly welcoming and interested in connecting with and involving young lawyers.

Where is the next conference?

The next conference is in Shanghai, in April 2020. I understand this would be the first IPBA conference in Shanghai since it opened its port in 1843. It has been such an eye-opening experience for me and I would strongly encourage young lawyers interested in cross-border practice to apply.

We would like to thank Pippa and Anna for providing this article.

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Last updated on the 22nd August 2019