The nephew of criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan has stepped into his uncle's shoes to lead the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore (ACLS) - and he already has a clear mission in mind.
Mr Sunil Sudheesan wants to encourage more aspiring lawyers to join the criminal Bar.
The 35-year-old will serve as acting president of the association started by his uncle until an election in November next year.
Mr Subhas died of heart failure last month at the age of 67.
Mr Sunil, a partner at law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, which was co-founded by Mr Subhas, was appointed by the ACLS management committee last Friday. He was previously its vice-president and secretary.
Mr Sunil aims to boost membership from the current 98, and have senior members mentor younger lawyers, among his other plans for the association, which will be discussed at its annual general meeting next week.
"Not enough young lawyers are heading towards criminal law. We hope to encourage more of them to try out criminal law," he said, admitting that many are lured by the bigger bucks offered by corporate law.
"Young lawyers may opt for civil litigation or corporate work as the work pays more. Further, some may feel that criminal litigation is too daunting," Mr Sunil said.
"The hope is that the hesitancy will dissipate if senior ACLS members provide guidance to young lawyers."
The ACLS was founded in 2004 by Mr Subhas and other senior criminal lawyers to provide a platform through which concerns about criminal procedure, such as access to accused persons, can be aired.
It also runs legal clinics at Chong Pang in Yishun and in Hougang, where people can get free advice.
Mr Sunil, who graduated from the National University of Singapore and has been working in criminal law for 10 years, said: "I will do my best to further the causes of the ACLS.
"But the truth is that I would much rather prefer serving as vice-president to my uncle Subhas for the next two years. He left us too soon.
"Still, the last thing he wanted was for the ACLS to be equated with Subhas Anandan. He wanted the ACLS to be so much more and the current committee must work hard to ensure this."
This article was first published on Feb 19, 2015.
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