An interview with Reshma Nair (Called to the Bar, 2015)

TSMP Associate Reshma Nair shares her thoughts on what it's like working for TSMP

What attracted you to work at TSMP?

The firm has good people, does good work, and is a good size. It values its people and prioritises training.

As a junior associate, I’ve gained valuable experience battling alongside senior colleagues on the frontlines. Here, you are never just doing piecemeal research or standing in as drafting support; instead, you take a broader and active involvement in overall file strategy and client engagement. I didn’t realise how much I’d taken this for granted until a recent meeting I attended – there were two junior associates from the opposing firm, and neither of them were introduced. I’ve had a name card since I stepped in as a trainee, I’ve always been introduced. I’ve even led meetings. Your opinion here is valued, heard and discussed. The firm’s structure also allows for a direct working relationship with partners and mentors, and I’ve had the privilege of second-chairing for Shen Yi since my first year of practice.

What were the highlights of your three years in practice?

I’ve had the opportunity to cover a lot of ground in my three years here, and have seen matters through to the Court of Appeal and through long trials. A highlight was when I first-chaired my first High Court trial just as I hit the start of my second year in practice. It was a three-day trial where we defended chauffeurs unfairly dismissed by their employers, pro bono. I remember crafting and re-crafting my questions for every eventuality. Standing up to make my first objection. Surprised at an answer from a witness – one better than I’d hoped for. Being gently reminded by my opposing counsel that in my relief at the end of cross, I had almost forgotten to formally close my case.

The experience was as nerve-racking as it was exhilarating, and most importantly, rewarding in that the claim for over S$700,000 against my client was dismissed, and as a consequence, further claims against other chauffeurs were discontinued. How many can say that they’ve run a High Court trial as first chair within their first two years of practice? This is the standard of training and trust TSMP places in its associates, and the exposure we enjoy in return.

Another highlight for me are the relationships I’ve built with clients. Litigation takes time, and being in the trenches with clients allows you to build real relationships, including with senior business people who have become mentors themselves. Practice is not just about the case work; it makes a huge difference when there’s a human element to the file, even if it’s as simple as a Whatsapp message from the client reminding me that I might need to get some sleep.

Why do you think TSMP’s recruitment policy works?

However the work pushes you, what’s kept me going is the team I’ve had the privilege of working with. TSMP has built itself around keeping a collegiate environment where I’ve made friends for life. This is a support system of capable, warm and truly original people that have made coming into work each day that much easier. That has in itself made half of my experience in the last three years. I look forward to seeing the family grow.


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