MahWengKwai & Associates has once again been recognised as the “Employer of Choice” by Asian Legal Business (ALB). This award published by ALB in April 2022 follows our earlier recognition by ALB as ALB Employer of Choice in 2020, in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are honoured and encouraged by the Employer of Choice 2022 award. We thank our hardworking team for their dedication and commitment in maintaining the highest standards of legal service, charting a steady course through these past two challenging years of the pandemic. We are deeply grateful and proud of your efforts and achievements. 

The Employer of Choice article by  ALB’s Elisabeth Beattie features interviews with leaders of law firms from across Asia, including MWKA’s managing partner, Raymond Mah and chief technology officer, Mei Lum. 

On the topic of “the Great Resignation” experienced throughout the employment market, Raymond shared that “Many are striving to better manage stress and burnout to better achieve work-life balance … Honest conversation, changes in portfolios to cater for new interests and coaching on self-leadership competencies have helped us help our teammates share their career paths.” 

On managing change, Mei is quoted as saying, “As a firm, we realise that flexibility and autonomy should not be temporary measures. We have focused on supporting mental health, improving legal project management, fine-tuning communication policies, setting up healthy boundaries, reinforcing respect for each other’s working hours and personal time. For example, we work collaboratively with our clients on their documents to avoid unnecessary back and forth and intentionally manage clients’ expectations on timelines. … We’ve developed advanced digital skill sets, knowledge management and new ways of work to help our people better navigate the future.”   

When it comes to staff longevity, Mei explains that the right support makes work fun. “We effectively address stress creators with structured work planning, team collaboration for clarity and regular check-ins. Collaborative brainstorming (remote and in-person) between cross-functional teams has also worked wonders for our team engagement.”

“We put our words into action by supporting not just our lawyers but all our teammates equally. With our support and encouragement, our clerk with just a high school certificate has gone on to complete her law degree and is now our legal practice manager. One of our pupils after several years of practice took a career break to pursue his masters in International Economic Law in China and is now a partner with the firm. We have mothers who have previously left the workforce return to work with us on flexible arrangements giving us the benefit of their vast working experience. When our people get better, we’re able to perform better as a team, which ultimately benefits our clients too,” says Raymond. 

Read the full article in the April 2022 issue of ALB here.

Our teammates responded to the delightful news with their thoughts on being a part of the MWKA team:

“In line with its core values, MWKA is a firm that is invested in the personal growth of its teammates and strives to provide the necessary support, both in and out of the office. I am personally drawn to the technological and project management framework implemented that allows flexible working arrangements to ensure autonomy and productivity in these changing times. Thank you ALB for the recognition and congratulations to the firm on the award. May you continue to grow from strength to strength in the years to come.” – Lesley Lim, Partner, Dispute Resolution Department (rejoined the team in 2021)

“Congratulations MWKA for being awarded the Employer of Choice 2022 by ALB. MWKA has always maintained a respectful and friendly work environment regardless of seniority and designation. The firm is invested in its employees and have always strived to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of all our teammates. This recognition comes as no surprise and is well-deserved indeed. Bravo!” – Denise Phang, Senior Associate, Dispute Resolution Department (teammate since 2014)

“Congratulations to MWKA and its wonderful team for being recognised by ALB as the Employer of Choice 2020. It is a well-deserved recognition as our Managing Partner and the whole team have always been working very hard in ensuring that the working environment in our firm is friendly and inspiring. The main component that sets the firm apart from other employers, is the fact that everyone’s opinion matters and that is not something that you find in most places. Even if you are a new addition to the firm, your teammates, including the senior associates and the partners would definitely make you feel like you are part of the camaraderie shared among the existing employees. Definitely happy and proud to be a part of this wonderful team that makes going to the office feel like something that you look forward to!” – Naveen Joshua, Associate, Employment and IR Department (teammate since 2021)

“I am extremely pleased and grateful that MWKA is recognised as an Employer of Choice 2020 and 2022 by Asian Legal Business. Our Managing Partner and the Leadership Team have always ensured that the resources of the firm remain active in contributing to the growth and development of each team member, including support staff. We have been encouraged to constantly support one another, and I strongly believe that that value is what makes us a strong team. Thank you Asian Legal Business for the honourable recognition. Congratulations, MWKA!” – Tommy Wong, Associate, Corporate & Commercial Department (teammate since 2018)

We also asked our newest team members whether they were aware MWKA was recognised as an employer of choice in 2020 when they applied to join our team and for their thoughts on the news. This is what they had to say:

“I joined the team at MWKA not long ago. I didn’t know it then, but I understand why the firm is the Employer of Choice. The team at MWKA is very supportive and everyone strives to cultivate a positive work environment. The welfare of employees is also given much emphasis here. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to me that MWKA is again awarded Employer of Choice this year.”
Joseph Khor, Associate (joined in March 2022)

“No, I wasn’t aware that the firm had won until after I joined but I’m certainly not surprised! Though my time here hasn’t been long at all, I really enjoy working at MWKA. Everyone is lovely and nurturing and while most of that is thanks to their own personalities I think some part of it is also thanks to the way our employers have allowed us to grow in such a safe space.”
Jasmine Wee Xing Yi, Pupil in Chambers (joined in March 2022)

“Heartiest congratulations to MWKA for being recognised as the ALB Employer of Choice 2022! Despite being a newcomer, it is apparent that the Managing Partner and the Leadership Team take an active and conscious effort in ensuring the team’s professional growth and welfare in every aspect. Opportunities to express ideas are welcome at every level which encourages mutual learning and teammates to push boundaries. MWKA also places great emphasis on communication and mutual respect which I trust is the reason behind the pleasant working environment where teammates never feel the need to drag their feet to work. I am pleased and honoured to be part of MWKA!”
Daphne Rethual, Associate (joined in March 2022)

“Congratulations to MWKA on being awarded Employer of Choice! I knew I made the right choice to do my pupillage with MWKA because of the MWKA team’s dedication and support for one another’s personal and professional growth. I am thankful for the opportunity to begin my career at MWKA not just for the work-life balance but also for the newfound family of compassionate and intelligent individuals that makes the perfect environment for learning and growing.”
Thineshvary Maniselvam, Pupil in Chambers (joined in March 2022)

“I recently heard that MWKA was voted for Employer of the Choice and I was not surprised. I first joined MWKA in June 2021 as an intern. Despite working from home, I was able to build a rapport with my colleagues, through various online ice-breaking sessions. Having enjoyed the variety of work I did during my internship, and the mentoring I received from various seniors, I decided to continue on as a paralegal and currently as a pupil-in-chambers.”
Kirthika Padmanapan, Pupil in Chambers (joined in June 2021)

MWKA’s Managing Partner, Raymond Mah, expresses his appreciation to the team:

“Thank you to all our teammates for your contributions, commitment and support in making MWKA a great place to work for everyone. This is our second time being recognised by ALB as Employer of Choice and this award belongs to all of you.”

Read the full article in the April 2022 issue of ALB here.

By John Chan & Anis Mohd Sohaimi