#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Lim Tat
Our next guest comes with over three decades of experience in litigation, arbitration, adjudication, mediation and collaborative practices, receiving appointments as mediator, arbitrator, chairman of tribunals and expert on Singapore law in foreign proceedings.
He is none other than Lim Tat, founding partner of Aequitas Law LLP and Maxwell Mediators, and chairman of Society of Mediation Professionals (Singapore). He heads his firm’s dispute resolution practice based in Singapore and has received accolades and awards for its mediation and civil litigation practice.
We had the opportunity to interview Tat to find out more about how he first got involved in dispute resolution practices, his proudest achievements throughout his legal career, 3 facts not many know about him and more!
Read his full interview below:
Q: How did you first become involved in dispute resolution practices?
A: I started practice as a litigation lawyer. In the years that followed, I found myself gravitating towards dispute resolution processes that provides more than a binary (win-lose) outcome. 15 or more years ago, I started my journey to become a mediator.
Q: What pushed you to establish Maxwell Mediators?
A: There was no push. Bill, Geoff and I met frequently at the ICC international mediation competition in Paris and other mediation conferences. Our mediation personalities are similar and we are very comfortable with each other. We launched Maxwell Mediators in the same year that the Singapore Convention was signed.
Q: What would you say is your mediation style?
A: One word – flexible. As a process expert, one should develop a broad array of tools and apply the tools appropriately depending on the kind of disputes and the dynamics of the people involved in the disputes. Application of an appropriate style depends on many factors – the nature of the dispute, whether parties are legally represented, the culture of the environment etc. For commercial disputes, my default style is relatively directive and evaluative.
Q: What do you see are the most prominent changes in Singapore’s ADR space?
A: In recent years, there has been an increasing focus by the government and judiciary to developing different forms of ADRs for different kinds of disputes. This is a welcome development: perhaps the Singapore’s equivalent of the Multi-Door Courthouse conceived by Frank Sanders. Looking to the immediate future, the Civil Justice Reforms are likely to have a positive impact on encouraging the use of ADRs to resolve disputes.
Q: What are your proudest achievements throughout your legal career?
A: My legal practice has been modest and low key, perhaps by design. If there are worthy achievements, they have arrived by God’s grace and the generosity of people who have encouraged me along through their words and deeds. That said, the 3 most satisfying steps in my professional practice has been: Firstly, to have started a law practice and continued with it for 13 years. Secondly, to have started a cross border mediation practice in 2019 with two international mediators whom I admire and adore. Thirdly, to have been of help to the many people with whom I have worked for, with, and alongside throughout my practice life.
Q: Share some advice to aspiring individual who wants to go into the legal profession.
A: Find out what skills you have (in legal practice) that you can do really well and enjoy. Even better if you are able to perform these skills better than your peers for less effort. Legal practice is a long journey. Choose your companions wisely, always have a few mentors to approach and finally, develop a mindset of doing your professional best for the community you serve.
Q: If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self?
A: Don’t sweat the mistakes. Press on and do your utmost. The best is yet to be!
Q: How do you usually wind down at the end of the day? What are some of your favourite past times?
A: Chatting with family members, some quiet music, reading and reflecting on God’s grace and mercies.
Q: Share with us 3 fun facts about you that not many know about.
A: My family has a Sheltie named Theo. I was a gymnast in school. I caught a Marlin while on vacation in the Maldives.
Q: What do you like about the facilities in Maxwell Chambers? Or how about your favourite corner at Maxwell Chambers or Maxwell Chambers Suites?
A: Excellent facilities. Favourite place is the neutral’s room where you can spend time reflecting on the case over a drink.