It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Partner and the President of The Law Society of Singapore Adrian Tan Gim Hai (陈锦海). Adrian passed away on 8 July 2023 at the age of 57, following a brave battle with cancer.
Adrian was a wonderful colleague, a nurturing mentor and a loyal friend. He joined our firm’s dispute resolution practice as a Partner in 2018 where he spearheaded our technology and intellectual property cases. He was elected the President of The Law Society of Singapore in 2022.
Adrian was a sought-after senior litigator specialising in court disputes, with cases spanning the areas of intellectual property, confidential data misuse, shareholder oppression and class actions, among others. His Computer Science degree also made him one of the rare few technology lawyers with an academic foundation in IT.
Of his many notable cases, Adrian’s Thomson View and Gilstead Court cases, where he acted as counsel and successfully resisted en bloc applications by exposing unfair or bad faith practices, have become landmark decisions in the fast-developing area of collective sales litigation. He was recognised by Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2023 as a Litigation Star (Commercial and Transactions). He was a mentor to countless young lawyers, and his guidance and support helped shape the careers of many of the next generation’s most successful lawyers.
As President of The Law Society of Singapore, Adrian played an instrumental role in advocating for the interests of lawyers in Singapore. Adrian worked tirelessly to promote greater access for all members of society. Adrian was also a strong proponent of continuing legal education and professional development for lawyers. During his presidency, the industry was facing a high attrition rate and he sought to make lawyering great again.
Throughout his illustrious 31-year career, Adrian made significant contributions to the legal industry, leaving an indelible mark on all those who had the honour of working with him. Adrian was recognised among professionals for his writing, which has appeared in a variety of media, ranging from local mainstream media and legal publications to international news outlets.
Adrian famously referred to himself as “King of Singapore” on LinkedIn and was known for his op-eds on law and current affairs, discussing topics such as raising cats as pets in HDBs, which amassed millions of views. Adrian believed that lawyers had a duty to demystify the law for the public, and he had an uncanny ability to simplify and explain the logic behind contentious points of law. This made him one of Singapore’s most influential lawyers with a strong overall media presence, with over 39,000 LinkedIn followers. Adrian was also an award-winning novelist whose works include the best-selling The Teenage Textbook, which has been adapted for stage and screen.
Beyond his contributions to the legal industry, Adrian cared deeply about a range of important social issues. He held several appointments, including Director at Arts House Limited and at Maxwell Chambers. He also served as Honorary Legal Counsel at the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped.
Adrian’s passing is a tremendous loss to the legal and wider community and to anyone who had the privilege of knowing him. The legacy that he leaves behind is a testament to his unwavering dedication to the legal profession and his tireless commitment to promoting justice and fairness for all.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Adrian’s wife, Angelina, his family and loved ones during this difficult time. Adrian’s memory will live on through the many lives that were touched by his compassion, humour, kindness, and remarkable legal expertise.
Rest in peace, Adrian.
Adrian’s family requested privacy during the bereavement period. TSMP held a memorial on 31 July 2023 to honour his legacy.