ADTLaw LLC – APEA – Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards

OUTSTANDING CATEGORY

Dawn Tan
Founding Director


ADTLaw LLC
12 Marina Boulevard, #24-01 Marina Bay Financial
Centre, Tower 3, Singapore 018982
Tel: +65 63342880
www.adtlawllc.com


Dawn Tan is the Founding Director of ADTLaw LLC, a boutique commercial law firm, and the Managing Director of Ashurst ADTLaw, which is a joint venture (known as a Formal Law Alliance) between leading international firm Ashurst LLP and ADTLaw LLC. Her journey from top law student to civil servant, to fresh junior partner in an established law firm – then becoming a legal entrepreneur, is a story of unlikely successes and unexpected triumphs.

Tan was an unlikely law student, having failed on her first attempt to enter the National University of Singapore (NUS) Law School (then the only law school in Singapore). This was hardly surprising given her poor academic results. Fate intervened, and she was admitted, but just barely. With dogged determination, she went on to graduate at the top of her class with First Class Honours –one of a record four students to be conferred that coveted honour that year (till then the practice was to confer the honour on one or at most, two students, and in some years, none at all).

Thereafter, she entered the Singapore Legal Service and served as a Justices’ Law Clerk in the Chambers of the then Chief Justice, Mr Yong Pung How, before obtaining her Masters in Law degree from the Harvard Law School, followed by postings to the Supreme Court Registry as an Assistant Registrar and the Ministry of Trade and Industry on a programme to train Legal Service Officers for Administrative Service postings. She concurrently held teaching appointments at the NUS Law School and SMU Law School (then known as the Department of Law).

Following these experiences, Tan realized that she was not a good fit for a civil servant and decided to cut her teeth in private practice in one of Singapore’s largest established law firms. It was an eye-opener into the practice of law as a business, and when the opportunity arose four years later to strike it out on her own with a friend in a boutique practice, she took it. When she left the shelter of that large law firm, she did so without any clients or business. However, slowly but surely, the clients came. Some were clients she had worked with who were curious about the young entrepreneur (who suddenly found herself becoming acquainted with tasks as varied as changing lightbulbs to settling on a new firm logo and buying stationery) and decided to give Tan a chance. Others were friends of clients who were impressed by the “can-do”, hands-on approach of the young lawyer which enabled her to provide a highlyresponsive and personalized service. When the lease on the firm’s premises expired and the partners decided to go their separate ways, Tan decided to set up ADTLaw. She did so with her secretary, and one trainee. Taking up leased premises in the Balestier area (with famous durian sellers and Bak Kut Teh stalls as neighbours) and taking on the renovation works herself, Tan hunkered down for a rough ride.

Fast forward to today, barely 5 years after its founding – ADTLaw has 12 employees, including 10 lawyers, and has plans to expand headcount in the near future. The boutique commercial law firm has expertise in a range of areas spanning corporate and M&A transactions, banking and finance, strategic advisory including employment, anti-corruption, data protection and privacy laws, to international arbitration and complex litigation. In 2017, ADTLaw inked a Formal Law Alliance with Ashurst LLP, a leading international law firm with over 3,500 employees and 1,700 lawyers in 27 offices in 16 countries. Together with Ashurst which has strengths in corporate, finance, banking, energy, resources and infrastructure, Ashurst ADTLaw provides the full breadth of Singapore and international law services from one integrated platform, with Singapore disputes, corporate, banking and finance representation provided by ADTLaw. Through Ashurst ADTLaw, clients can access the resources of a leading international law firm and a Singapore law firm, allowing them to receive the most innovative solutions with locally tailored advice.

Tan sits on the Board of Directors of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. The SICC Board comprises a cross-section of some of the most influential businessmen and businesswomen in Singapore. She also sits on the Board Diversity and Appointments Committee of the Singapore Institute of Directors. She has been featured in the best-selling book by best-selling author, Anthony Rose, “How To Get, Grow and Succeed in Your Dream Job”. A believer in giving back and paying it forward, Ashurst ADTLaw and ADTLaw have sponsored three scholarships at the NUS Law School and SMU Law School, namely the NUS Ashurst ADTLaw Scholarship in Law, the SMU Ashurst ADTLaw Scholarship in Law, and the SMU ADTLaw Bess Tham International Exchange Scholarship, all of which aim to support deserving students who have achieved academic distinction. Tan has also acted pro bono in criminal matters and capital appeals. In her personal time, Tan is devoted to lowering her golf handicap, practising Sogetsu Ikebana and Pilates and training in the gym.

If there is a guiding principle by which Tan acts, it is simply this. Remember where you came from and always have a deep sense of gratitude. Retain a sense of wonder at the world. Be humble and hungry and be the hardest working person in the whole room.

OUTSTANDING CATEGORY

Dawn Tan is the Founding Director of ADTLaw LLC, a boutique commercial law firm, and the Managing Director of Ashurst ADTLaw, which is a joint venture (known as a Formal Law Alliance) between leading international firm Ashurst LLP and ADTLaw LLC. Her journey from top law student to civil servant, to fresh junior partner in an established law firm – then becoming a legal entrepreneur, is a story of unlikely successes and unexpected triumphs.

Tan was an unlikely law student, having failed on her first attempt to enter the National University of Singapore (NUS) Law School (then the only law school in Singapore). This was hardly surprising given her poor academic results. Fate intervened, and she was admitted, but just barely. With dogged determination, she went on to graduate at the top of her class with First Class Honours –one of a record four students to be conferred that coveted honour that year (till then the practice was to confer the honour on one or at most, two students, and in some years, none at all).

Thereafter, she entered the Singapore Legal Service and served as a Justices’ Law Clerk in the Chambers of the then Chief Justice, Mr Yong Pung How, before obtaining her Masters in Law degree from the Harvard Law School, followed by postings to the Supreme Court Registry as an Assistant Registrar and the Ministry of Trade and Industry on a programme to train Legal Service Officers for Administrative Service postings. She concurrently held teaching appointments at the NUS Law School and SMU Law School (then known as the Department of Law).

Following these experiences, Tan realized that she was not a good fit for a civil servant and decided to cut her teeth in private practice in one of Singapore’s largest established law firms. It was an eye-opener into the practice of law as a business, and when the opportunity arose four years later to strike it out on her own with a friend in a boutique practice, she took it. When she left the shelter of that large law firm, she did so without any clients or business. However, slowly but surely, the clients came. Some were clients she had worked with who were curious about the young entrepreneur (who suddenly found herself becoming acquainted with tasks as varied as changing lightbulbs to settling on a new firm logo and buying stationery) and decided to give Tan a chance. Others were friends of clients who were impressed by the “can-do”, hands-on approach of the young lawyer which enabled her to provide a highlyresponsive and personalized service. When the lease on the firm’s premises expired and the partners decided to go their separate ways, Tan decided to set up ADTLaw. She did so with her secretary, and one trainee. Taking up leased premises in the Balestier area (with famous durian sellers and Bak Kut Teh stalls as neighbours) and taking on the renovation works herself, Tan hunkered down for a rough ride.


ADTLaw LLC
12 Marina Boulevard, #24-01 Marina Bay Financial
Centre, Tower 3, Singapore 018982
Tel: +65 63342880
www.adtlawllc.com


Fast forward to today, barely 5 years after its founding – ADTLaw has 12 employees, including 10 lawyers, and has plans to expand headcount in the near future. The boutique commercial law firm has expertise in a range of areas spanning corporate and M&A transactions, banking and finance, strategic advisory including employment, anti-corruption, data protection and privacy laws, to international arbitration and complex litigation. In 2017, ADTLaw inked a Formal Law Alliance with Ashurst LLP, a leading international law firm with over 3,500 employees and 1,700 lawyers in 27 offices in 16 countries. Together with Ashurst which has strengths in corporate, finance, banking, energy, resources and infrastructure, Ashurst ADTLaw provides the full breadth of Singapore and international law services from one integrated platform, with Singapore disputes, corporate, banking and finance representation provided by ADTLaw. Through Ashurst ADTLaw, clients can access the resources of a leading international law firm and a Singapore law firm, allowing them to receive the most innovative solutions with locally tailored advice.

Tan sits on the Board of Directors of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. The SICC Board comprises a cross-section of some of the most influential businessmen and businesswomen in Singapore. She also sits on the Board Diversity and Appointments Committee of the Singapore Institute of Directors. She has been featured in the best-selling book by best-selling author, Anthony Rose, “How To Get, Grow and Succeed in Your Dream Job”. A believer in giving back and paying it forward, Ashurst ADTLaw and ADTLaw have sponsored three scholarships at the NUS Law School and SMU Law School, namely the NUS Ashurst ADTLaw Scholarship in Law, the SMU Ashurst ADTLaw Scholarship in Law, and the SMU ADTLaw Bess Tham International Exchange Scholarship, all of which aim to support deserving students who have achieved academic distinction. Tan has also acted pro bono in criminal matters and capital appeals. In her personal time, Tan is devoted to lowering her golf handicap, practising Sogetsu Ikebana and Pilates and training in the gym.

If there is a guiding principle by which Tan acts, it is simply this. Remember where you came from and always have a deep sense of gratitude. Retain a sense of wonder at the world. Be humble and hungry and be the hardest working person in the whole room.