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Women Lawyers Conference 2021

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

5 days | 4 countries | 31 speakers | Free Access | MBar: 10 CPD Points

The 3rd Women Lawyers Conference will be held exclusively online and aims to provide women legal professionals, in-house counsel, pupils-in-chambers, and law students with a platform to explore, network and learn about different aspects of a legal career. This is a collaboration event between the Malaysian Bar and the Association of Women Lawyers.

To register:

Theme: What is Your Fight Song?

Day 1: 8 Nov 2021

7.00 pm - 7.15 pm

Opening Address: A G Kalidas, President, Malaysian Bar

Welcome Address: Santhi Latha, President of Association of Women Lawyers

Emcee: Cindy Low, Pupil-in-Chambers, Rahmat Lim & Partners

7.15 pm - 7.45 pm

Keynote | Leadership for the Woman Lawyer

Synopsis: To begin this journey, the focus will be on leading rather than following. The goal is to provide insights into how you can inspire other people, make a positive difference to your life and the lives of the people around you. It is crucial that women no longer stand on the side-lines, waiting for instruction and instead, reach out for the limelight and take control. The time has come to know your fight song.

Speaker: YA Dato’ Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Judge, Federal Court of Malaysia

Justice Mary Lim read law at the University of Leeds, UK and graduated with a LLB (Hons) degree. She was later admitted to Lincoln's Inn as a Barrister-at-law. She also obtained her Master of Laws degree from the University of Western Australia. Prior to her elevation to the High Court of Malaya where she sat in the New Commercial Court, her Ladyship served in various capacities at the Attorney General's Chambers of Malaysia. Justice Mary Lim was the first judge of the Construction Court in Kuala Lumpur until her Ladyship's elevation to the Court of Appeal. Her Ladyship is now a Judge of the Federal Court. Justice Mary Lim is a qualified advocacy trainer and has conducted numerous courses on the subject both locally and abroad including at the Advanced Advocacy Course at Keble College, Oxford. She has also delivered many public lectures of both procedural and substantive law, nationally and internationally.

Moderator: Cindy Low, Pupil-in-Chambers, Rahmat Lim & Partners

Cindy is currently a pupil at Rahmat Lim & Partners. She aspires to be an advocate for the marginalised community and hopes to serve the society in the future by establishing her own NGO. During her previous role at a constituency office, she has successfully solved various local community issues with the team. She has a sweet tooth and enjoys baking.

7.45 pm - 8.30 pm

Plenary #1 | It is Time to Stand Out | No Doubt, No Fear, No Shame

Synopsis: How often have you been told that you are not good enough or smart enough or just `not enough’? Why the self-imposed and societal censorship? Has that sometimes meant that instead of reaching out to achieve something you want, you have paused – suddenly doubtful and uncertain? Has that meant you have built a cage to keep yourself small? It is time to understand that you have what it takes to achieve your goals. Are you going to fail sometimes – yes. But more importantly, are you going to succeed sometimes – absolutely, yes. It is time to build a common and fearless language to speak out, even when there is doubt, fear, or even dread.

Speaker: Lavinie Thiruchelvam, Founder & CEO,

Lavinie holds a law degree from Bristol University and after completing her Masters in Finance Law from The London School of Economics & Political Science, she worked as a banker with the then ABN Amro for a couple of years before realizing that she wanted to follow her passion and become an entrepreneur. She then founded and ran The Dance Space (a leading dance management company in Malaysia) for over 10 years before starting Babydash.

Moderator: Cindy Low, Pupil in Chambers, Rahmat Lim & Partners

8.30 pm – 9.00 pm & 9.00 pm - 9.30 pm (There will be 2 sessions of 30 minutes and participants will be required to attend both sessions)

Breakout #1 | Leverage Your Female Instincts | Negotiation Skills

Synopsis: Successful negotiators always have the necessary skills needed to negotiate effectively and achieve their desired outcomes. Take away at least one effective negotiation skill that leverages on your instinct so you can achieve positive outcomes when you negotiate.

Speaker: Shanti Abraham, Advocate & Solicitor, Shanti Abraham & Associates

Shanti has been a lawyer for more than 25 years. She is also an international mediator, arbitrator and adjudicator. Her work ranges from corporate work to dispute resolution domestically and across borders. She is passionate about effective and authentic problem solving and trains mediators and advocates globally.

Moderator: Vilasini Vijandran, Advocate & Solicitor, Shook Lin & Bok

Vilasini graduated from the University of Reading in 2016 and was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales in 2017. She was called to the Malaysian Bar in 2018. She is currently practicing in the Litigation Department at a firm in KL, specialising in family law matters. She is currently a member of the Bar Council's Human Rights Committee, Women's Rights Committee and the KL Bar's Gender Equality and Diversity Committee. She is passionate about women’s rights issues and hopes to continue to empower young women from all walks of life.

Breakout #2 | Leverage Your Female Instincts | Strategic Thinking

Synopsis: Take away at least one insight or tool to help you bridge the difficult gap between rational strategy development and real-life execution. Learn to balance the rational with the emotional (who you may be) and build your capability to think and act strategically.

Speaker: Fiona Bodipalar, Advocate & Solicitor, Bodipalar Ponnudurai De Silva Advocates & Solicitors

Fiona is a formidable litigator known for her ability to turnaround a case in record time and is an astute legal solutions scientist. Fiona’s knowledge and experience has led to clients seeking her advice on corporate transactions that require a lawyer who is attuned to thinking out of the box. She thrives on adversity and is known for her ability to track down evidence and make a case where every other lawyer has said there is none.

Moderator: Trishelea Ann Sandosam, Advocate & Solicitor, Skrine

Trishelea is a maritime lawyer and a Partner at SKRINE. She holds a LL.M (Maritime Law) from University College London, where she was a Chevening Scholar. She is the Secretary of the International Malaysian Society of Maritime Law and member of the Malaysian Bar Council’s Shipping & Admiralty Law Committee.

Day 2: 9 Nov 2021

7.00 pm - 7.45 pm

Plenary #2 | Your Professional Journey | Despite the Labels … Ctrl, Alt, Proceed

Synopsis: Did you do the law degree because the people around you expected you to become a lawyer? Did you practise law only to discover it was not your cup of tea? Or are you not in legal practice but feel the tug of trying it out and exploring your options? Wherever you are on your professional journey, despite labels and expectations, it may be time to Ctrl, Alt, Proceed.

Speaker: Uma Devi Rajasundram, Managing Director, Milestone Solicitors, United Kingdom

Uma is the founding Director of Milestone Solicitors. She worked in various commercial fields for over 18 years before commencing legal practice. Prior to founding Milestone Solicitors, she was the Head of Immigration at a City Law firm renowned for dealing with private and legal aid clients. Uma was admitted to the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in 2002 and to the Bar in 2003. She was also admitted to the Malaysian Bar in 2004 and to the Roll of Solicitors in June 2010. Uma has a particular interest in LGBTQI asylum claims and has achieved highly successful outcomes in this field.

Moderator: Cindy Low, Pupil-in-Chambers, Rahmat Lim & Partners

7.45 pm - 8.15 pm & 8.15 pm - 8.45 pm (There will be 2 sessions of 30 minutes and participants will be required to attend both sessions)

Breakout #1 | Your Legitimate Fears | Reasons to Fail

Synopsis: Failure is a part of success – a stepping-stone rather than a stumbling block. We all have different fears and in the context of our professional lives, it is useful to identify what these are and develop strategies to deal with them. It is also especially empowering to understand that we are not alone, and that there are others on a similar journey. This session is about identifying one specific fear to overcome, finding strategies to do so, and possibly building a community to stand with as you do that.

Speaker: Vani Mahadevan, Founder, TechSprint

Vani is a qualified accountant who is actively involved in Project Management and entrepreneurship. Vani wears many hats- Director of StartupMalaysia, Founder of TechSprint Academy, Malaysia’s first women only coding school and the Chief Architect of Rebound, a career comeback program to help women transition into tech.

Moderator: Sheelaa Ragavan, Assistant Manager, Echelon Claims Consultants Sdn Bhd

Sheelaa is AWL’s Assistant Secretary. She was formerly a practising lawyer, and is now a Legal Claims Manager at Marsh Insurance Brokers (M) Sdn Bhd. She was also the Programme Officer for the Women’s Tribunal Malaysia 2021.

Breakout #2 | Do You Need to Control Your Emotions?

Synopsis: Being human means going through abundant positive and negative emotions. When people express their emotions however, they are told not to be `emotional’: “Men don’t cry”; “Women should not be too emotional”. Somehow, being emotional is interpreted as a weakness with the underlying idea that being vulnerable is not professional. Is this true? Where do you stand and what steps can you take to be your authentic professional self?


Lee San San, Chief Listener @ Deep Listening

Pain and discomfort are invitations by our own system to discover something about ourselves. Having fallen off the bandwagon of balance herself, San San ventured out of the corporate world after 18 years to explore how leaning into discomfort and pain can lead to breakthroughs. She is a certified BodyTalk Practitioner and Trainer with a focus on supporting women and non-neurotypical children.

Dr Valerie Jaques, Integrated Psychology Network

Dr Valerie is a consultant clinical psychologist and founder of Integrated Psychology Network Sdn Bhd for the past 23 years. Her work covers individuals and families from diverse cultures with issues requiring critical analysis in psychological assessments and therapeutic interventions. She is passionate in helping people grow.

Moderator: Denise Lim, Advocate & Solicitor, Kee Sern, Siu & Huey

Denise is a legal associate at Kee Sern, Siu & Huey who handles matters relating to contracts, torts, family, probate, and other general litigation. She is trained by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) and a committee member of the Association of Women Lawyers.

Day 3: 10 Nov 2021

7.00 pm - 7.45 pm

Plenary #3 | IMPACT | Be Strategic. Be Adaptable. Be Ahead

Synopsis: As a legal professional, being strategic and agile means being able to work seamlessly and cohesively while being productive and engaged. We are all at the precipice of landmark shifts in work norms, and the question is how you can leverage this shift to your advantage. Shift your perspectives and focus on adding value, solving problems, and being strategically positioned to meaningfully impact on your professional career. Be ahead and give yourself the edge.

Speaker: Dr. Jasmine Begum, Director of Legal, Corporate & Government Affairs for ASEAN and New Markets, Microsoft Malaysia

Dr Jasmine heads the legal and government for Microsoft businesses in ASEAN and the emerging markets. With over 25 years experience across organizations that includes Dell Malaysia, the UNDP and the United Nations Executive Office of the Secretary-General in New York. Jasmine has also been admitted to practice in State of Washington.

Moderator: Cindy Low, Pupil-in-Chambers, Rahmat Lim & Partners

7.45 pm - 8.15 pm & 8.15 pm - 8.45 pm (There will be 2 sessions of 30 minutes and participants will be required to attend both sessions)

Breakout #1 | Leverage on LegalTech

Synopsis: The explosion of legal technology in the workplace means catching up and keeping up. How do you get up to speed without being overwhelmed? Where do you start when you either have no information or too much information at the same time? Learn at least one lesson on how to have an adaptive mindset to legaltech will allow yourself to change in the way you work for the better.

Speaker: Adeline Chin, AIAC Tech Expert Committee, and Steering Committee Member of the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA)

Adeline is a legal knowledge management consultant and legaltech evangelist. She founded 3 legal related companies, and aims to help the legal profession find happiness. Adeline is a member of the AIAC Tech Expert Committee, and a Steering Committee Member of the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA).

Moderator: Daveena Subramaniam, Advocate & Solicitor, Daveena & Co

Daveena is an Advocate & Solicitor in the High Court of Malaya. Having worked abroad fully immersed in Legal Technology in mid tier and top tier firms driving and utilising legal innovation, digital transformation and digital solutions in practice, has changed her whole outlook and lifestyle of practicing law and the delivery of legal services.

Breakout #2 | Impact of Changing Privacy Perspectives

Synopsis: Managing your data lifecycle in the world of powerful data analytics has become more challenging. Ever wondered where your data resides? Explore the world where personal data can be hijacked, where you don’t even know what your digital footprint means, and where you are freely giving away your personal information. Big tech, social media and popular apps are the purveyors of your personal information. Is it time to say `no’, and how?

Speaker: Eulis Rachmatiah Iskandar, Ethics Specialist, Researcher and Speaker, Change Agent, Member of Ethics Standard Board of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA)

A passionate advocate of corporate governance, ethics and anti-bribery, privacy and human rights, Eulis graduated with an LLB (Hons) in Business Law from the London Metropolitan University and is a Certified Integrity Officer (CeIO) and a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) under the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). She is also a member of the Ethics Standard Board of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. She spent 4 years as Head of Ethics & Privacy in Celcom Axiata Berhad and 3 years in Corporate Governance & International Compliance, Legal Division, PETRONAS. Prior to that she had over 20 years working experience as in-house Legal Counsel and Company Secretary for multinational and public listed companies.

Moderator: Abigail Nimbalker, Advocate & Solicitor, Thomas Philip

Abigail is a Committee Member of the Association of Women Lawyers and is a lawyer in Messrs. Thomas Philip, practising civil, commercial and corporate law. As the former Community Officer for YB Wong Chen, she is experienced in social welfare work and has researched the Child’s Act (Amendment) 2016 and the Sexual Offences against Children Act 2017.

Day 4: 11 Nov 2021

7.00 pm - 7.45 pm

Plenary #4 | Why are Lawyers So Bad at Branding & What Can They Do About It?

Synopsis: Does branding matter? It matters to everyone. Find out what every lawyer needs to know about branding and its key guiding principles. Define your market, identify emerging skills, and position yourself as an early adopter. The value of your work and your practice depends on you. Cultivate connections and authentically set yourself apart.

Speaker: Roselyn S Sands, US & France Attorney at Law, EY Global Labor & Employment Law Markets Leader, France

Roselyn is the EY Law Global Labor & Employment Law Markets Leader and the Founder of RoselynSandsLaw, a new international labor & employment law boutique firm. Roselyn was born in Cuba, raised in the United States, and lives in Paris, France.

Roselyn has over 25 years of experience in international HR Law matters for multi-national clients, advising and assisting clients manage the complex and burdensome HR rules worldwide and designing compliance and risk management programs for her clients. As a US and French attorney- at-law, Roselyn is keenly aware of the difficulties in ensuring compliance with country specific HR Laws. She leverages her experience on both sides of the Atlantic, working with her local experts, to deliver one-stop shop highest quality legal services. Roselyn has been recognised by Who’s Who Legal since 2015 as one of the most prominent attorneys in her field and by Best Lawyers.

Roselyn has never stopped doing what she does best: creating long-lasting strong client relationships.

Moderator: Sheena Gurbakhash, Communications Strategist, Writer, Owner, Arion Concepts

Sheena describes herself as a caffeine-fuelled creative person who writes for a living, She joined the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) in 2011.In 2012 she spearheaded a legal literacy programme for women on Capital Radio which she wrote and co-presented on a weekly basis through 2012. She co-organised the Women Lawyers’ Conference in conjunction with Bar Council Malaysia in 2017 and 2019. This year she rolled out the AWL-GEDC Resilience Programme. She was President of AWL for the term 2019/2021.

7.45 pm - 8.15 pm & 8.15 pm - 8.45 pm (There will be 2 sessions of 30 minutes and participants will be required to attend both sessions)

Breakout #1 | Meet Your Trusted Advisor, CRIS

Synopsis: As a professional, becoming A Trusted Advisor means playing an integral role in building the relationships you have with clients and other stakeholders. Building trust comes from demonstrating and proving trustworthiness to your clients, and this takes time. Understand the basic formula to becoming a trusted advisor and make it a part of who you are.

Speaker: Amanda Smith, VP Consulting and Strategic Accounts at PPEARL Solutions Consulting, Australia

Amanda is a Business Psychologist who is passionate about seeing people unleash their full potential. She looks for ways to break the chains that hold us all back, and instead, make the choices that will lead us to our greatest personal successes.

Moderator: Santhi Latha, President, Association of Women Lawyers

Santhi is currently the President of the Association of Women Lawyers. Starting of as a law teacher, Santhi then moved to building schools for Paramount Corporation and Sapura, then joined the Bar Council to set up its national Continuing Professional Development structures. Santhi is the Dean of the Rajah & Tann Asia Academy – a part of the Rajah & Tann Asia regional network.

Breakout #2 | Networking to Make Your Mark

Synopsis: Networking matters. Networking is about exchanging information, sharing advice, and supporting people with their challenges, experiences, and goals. It allows you to gain new insights that you may not have otherwise thought of, and through your networks, you may have opportunities to advance your career or even access alternative job opportunities. Learn at least one networking strategy that could enhance your professional journey.

Speaker: Selvamalar Alagaratnam, Advocate & Solicitor, Skrine

Selvamalar is head of Skrine’s Employment practice. She provides integrated support to a wide range of clients in various industries on all employment/human resource related matters including compliance with all laws applicable to employment relationships; with a particular emphasis on managing employees’ discipline issues from receipt of complaint/allegation to investigations and disciplinary action. She is currently Senior Co-Chair, International Bar Association’s Employment & Industrial Relations Law Committee; General Secretary, Malaysian Society for Labour and Social Security Laws (local chapter of International Society for Labour and Social Security Laws); International Vice Chair, Outreach to International Lawyers Committee for American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment

Moderator: Thulasy Suppiah, Advocate & Solicitor, Law Office of Suppiah

A former Oracle solutions consultant, Thulasy is a partner in her own legal firm, the Law Office of Suppiah and a litigator specialising in construction disputes. An unapologetic feminist and women's rights proponent, Thulasy is also the current Chairperson of the KL Bar's Gender Equality & Diversity Committee.

Day 5: 12 Nov 2021

7.00 pm - 7.45 pm

Plenary #5 | The Road Less Travelled

Synopsis: For law graduates, all roads lead to legal practice – true or false? Are there forks on your road or different pathways that you could take? What is the relevance or value of a legal education then? What are the options that are open to you, and how should you take advantage of them?

Speaker: Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee, Former Professor, Faculty of Law, University Malaya; Former Vice-Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

Datuk Dr Khaw was, until her retirement from the University of Malaya in January 2012, a Professor at the Faculty of Law, which she joined as a lecturer in 1982. She was also the Vice Chairman and Commissioner of SUHAKAM from 2010-2016.

Moderator: Cindy Low, Pupil-in-Chambers, Rahmat Lim & Partners

7.45 pm - 8.15 pm & 8.15 pm - 8.45 pm (There will be 2 sessions of 30 minutes and participants will be required to attend both sessions)

Breakout #1 | Activism | Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

Synopsis: There are 3 essential steps to transformative change in a community – join, organise, and reflect. Activism is about working with others to bring about change. Activism fosters opportunities for participation and reflects a personal choice to engage in society. As a lawyer, you are better placed than most to make a tangible difference – full time or part time, voluntary or paid. Discover what some of the options are and maybe, find your real calling.

Speaker: Karen Lai, Programme Director, Women's Centre for Change (WCC)

Karen is the Programme Director of the Women's Centre for Change (WCC). She practised law for seven years and has six years’ experience working with the Penang and Selangor State Governments on women’s political leadership. She is also a regional trainer on feminist legal theory and practice.

Moderator: Jasmine Wong, Advocate & Solicitor, MahWengKwai & Associates

Jasmine graduated from Aberystwyth University, Wales and is currently a Senior Associate at MahWengKwai & Associates. Jasmine regularly advises and represents clients in matters concerning citizenship, adoption, medical and personal injury, and employment law. Jasmine was recently named in Prestige Malaysia’s 40 Under 40 2020 for her ongoing work on the issue of statelessness.

Breakout #2 | I Did Law, Now What?

Synopsis: Did you know your law degree means there are more doors open to you? Whether you choose media or law, academia or commerce and industry, social work or politics – your legal education can take you just about anywhere. The law degree was just the beginning. To move forward, understand your options and opportunities. Don’t settle for less than your aspirations.

Speaker: Rachel Lee Ke Ying, Product Manager, Instahome

Rachel manages Product and Customer Experience at Instahome. Previously, she was the apprentice to the Chief Business Officer at Digi Telecommunications and a senior associate at the Strategy and Transformation team. Outside of work, she is passionate about social impact and co-founded a social enterprise called Projek Cita Nita which helped micro-F&B business owners digitise their channels during the start of the nationwide lockdown. She was also the partnership lead at Rakan Tutor, where she secured funding for the organisation to connect 250 students from B40 communities to tutors to undergo remote learning during the pandemic.

Moderator: Daniella Zulkifili, Vice President, Association of Women Lawyers

Dani is the Vice President of the Association of Women Lawyers and has been with the organisation for over 10 years. Outside the workplace, she focuses her passion on issues relating to sexual harassment, child abuse and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Dani was part of the team that drafted the Sexual Offences Against Children Act and since 2017, has been part of Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG)’s drafting team for the proposed Sexual Harassment Bill. She was the Co-Chairperson of the Malaysian Bar's National Young Lawyers' Committee between 2015 and 2016 and was a Steering Committee Member of the Gender Equality Initiative - a project advocating for gender equality amongst law students.

8.45 pm - 9.30 pm

Closing Keynote | Your Future as A Legal Professional

Synopsis: Times have changed and the opportunities for the legal professional abound. The WLC 2021 has focused on building realisations about just one thing – CHOICE. It is imperative to understand that you can be in control of your future – whatever form that takes – and that you have the power to make decisions that can and will impact positively on your life, and the shared lives of the people around you. Remember to listen to your fight song!

Speaker: Tan Sri Zainun Ali, Retired Federal Court Judge of Malaysia

After 22 years serving the Malaysian Judiciary as a Judge, Tan Sri Zainun Ali ‘s philosophy leans towards judicial activism. She read law at the University of Malaya and Cambridge (LLM). She now serves as the Deputy Chairman of the Integrity Commission (EAIC), Director of PNB, Board of the UN Global Judicial Integrity Network, member of Advisory Tribunal Islamic Development Bank of Jeddah, and Consultant in Zain & Co

Moderator: Dawn Wong, Advocate & Solicitor, Steven Thiru & Sudhar Partnership

Dawn read Law at The London School of Economics and Political Science and is a Barrister-at-Law (Gray's Inn). Dawn is presently a Senior Associate at Messrs Steven Thiru & Sudhar Partnership and practises in the field of civil and commercial litigation, with a focus on construction-related disputes.



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