Goh Siu Lin (LLB 1993) takes us on a journey from Bristol to Malaysia, showing us how she got to where she is today as the first woman to become Chairman on the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee.
I chose to study at Bristol for many reasons. It is well known for having one of the top Law faculties in the UK. I was drawn to the vibrancy of the student community and loved the iconic grandeur of the Wills Memorial Building. When I graduated I was the first lawyer in my family. While at Bristol I took up volunteering opportunities with Bristol’s Student Community Action and did ballroom dancing which enriched my student life. I also made friends of all nationalities and backgrounds – I love food and there were never too many dinner parties at Bristol, all with new and exciting flavours!
The key things that Bristol gave me were an excellent legal education in a supportive and enriching learning environment, a place for self-discovery, and many, many lifelong friendships. Upon my return to Malaysia I gained admission to the Malaysian Bar and practised for the next two decades at Messrs Shook Lin & Bok. Then when I became the first female to win the Chairman post on the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee, I was exhilarated! It was as if I’d crossed the finishing line for a marathon.
I’m passionate about women’s and children’s rights and have written and advocated for more gender-responsive laws, policies and systems. My proudest achievement to date was being part of the intense lobbying and legislative efforts which crystallised in the passing of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act in Malaysia on 26 April 2017. If I had any advice for my younger self it would be to read more, to be more involved in Bar activities and to develop networks. I’ve now set up a small boutique law practice of Messrs Kee Sern, Siu & Huey and this, together with my responsibilities for the Kuala Lumpur Bar, keeps me on my toes!