SINGAPORE: At least one of the six trainee lawyers who cheated in the 2020 Bar examinations is still employed by a law firm, according to checks by CNA.
The identities of the applicants were disclosed on Wednesday (Apr 27) after a High Court judge reversed his decision to redact their names.
The six are: Kushal Atul Shah, Sreeraam Ravenderan, Matthew Chow Jun Feng, Monisha Devaraj, Lionel Wong Choong Yoong and Lynn Kuek Yi Ting.
Five of them had shared answers for six of the papers through WhatsApp, while a sixth had colluded with another candidate to cheat in three of the papers.
In explaining the U-turn, Justice Choo Han Teck said: "Initially, I believed that redacting the names of the applicants would let them go about the process of recovery quietly and uneventfully, but I am now of the view that it is better to face the publicity than to hide from it.”
Five of the six were also known to be working as legal executives.
One applicant, Mr Kushal Atul Shah, has been employed as a legal executive at Harry Elias Partnership for the past three months.
The firm’s managing partner Philip Fong told CNA that the partners do not condone Mr Shah’s conduct at the 2020 Bar examinations “due to his lapse of judgment”.
But they will "echo and apply the call for grace and mercy in the spirit of second chances" as stated by Justice Choo, he said.
“Mr Shah’s future with the firm will depend on whether he is called to the Bar, his work attitude and the integrity and professionalism he brings to his work.”
Another applicant, Mr Sreeraam Ravenderan, completed his practice training at LVM Law Chambers.
The firm’s managing director Joseph Lee said: “As a trainee, he was hardworking, well-liked and showed promise.”
He said the firm fully agrees with the court’s “emphasis on the professional values of honesty and probity”.
But it also supports the court’s call for the trainees to be given a second chance, and will be “exploring all avenues to help”.
EXPECTING “THE HIGHEST STANDARD OF PROBITY”
Dentons Rodyk said one applicant, Mr Matthew Chow, is no longer employed by them, adding that it “expects the highest standard of probity from all our employees”.
Another student, Ms Monisha Devaraj, completed her training contract with K&L Gates Straits Law in the middle of last year.
The firm’s managing partner Sreenivasan Narayanan said she left the firm to re-sit her Part B examinations, as required by the Singapore Institute of Legal Education.
“I believe that she sought employment elsewhere after the completion of her examinations.”
Mr Sreenivasan added: “I really cannot put it any better than the learned judge, in particular, his statement: 'Sometimes, redemption cannot be claimed behind the mask of anonymity, but by baring one's face and looking everyone in the eye, to see which kind of persons one confronts.'"
Justice Choo had said that this would help the applicants develop fortitude that "the path forward requires".
"In this note we wish Ms Monisha the best and that she develops the fortitude she needs in a time that is difficult for her," said Mr Sreenivasan.
One applicant, Mr Lionel Wong, is listed as a legal executive at Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow on networking site Apollo.io. The law firm declined to comment.
The last applicant, Ms Lynn Kuek, has been linked to ZICO Law on networking site Datanyze. The law firm did not respond to CNA’s request for comment.