Meet the Keepers of our Flame.
Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Amad Ali bin Yassin and I was born in 1951. I joined Donaldson & Burkinshaw (D&B) in 1980.
How did you come to join D&B?
I was introduced by a former colleague, Mr Bakri. I joined the firm as a peon then.
How has your job changed in the almost four decades since you first worked here?
I started off as a peon, doing internal and external dispatch work. Later, I was put in charge of the mailing department dealing with letters to overseas and local clients. I also came to be in charge of the dispatch department, overseeing the other peons, allocating work to them and ensuring that they carry out their duties. These days, I still assist with urgent dispatch when the department is shorthanded when, say, some colleagues are on leave.
How do you stay motivated at your work through all these years?
Be happy, co-operative and courteous to everyone.
What do you like about working at D&B?
I am able to work independently and am given the opportunity to learn things which have helped in the advancement of my career. I enjoy working for the partners and friendly, helpful colleagues through the years, many of whom have guided me in my work, especially on the use of a computer, amongst many other things. I am proud to work in a firm that appreciates hardworking staff. I am happy to work at one of the oldest law firms in Singapore which prioritises welfare for all staff, creating a strong bond between people of all levels working together.
Who has left the deepest impact on you through these years?
That would be my late superior, Mr Bok and my present colleague, Mr Rahman - both of them have helped me a lot with my work. Of course, there is also Mr Bakri who brought me into this firm at the very beginning.
Any advice you’d like to share with the younger colleagues?
Be diligent, loyal and sincere. Always be responsible at work and be open to new learning opportunities. These make you an asset to the firm.
What future would you hope to see for D&B?
I hope to see D&B continue to progress, expand and become one of the top legal firms in the industry.
Tell us more about yourself.
I joined Donaldson & Burkinshaw (D&B) on 20 August 1963 as a junior stenographer. I was just 18 years old then. At that time, the D&B office was at Mercantile Bank Chambers and an unforgettable event we witnessed was the Robinson’s Department store fire on 21 November 1972 (it was at Raffles Place then) where several people lost their lives.
How has your career journey been like at D&B since you first joined?
I began working for five clerks in the Conveyancing Department for about a few years, I learned as much as I could, especially from Mr Yeong Siew Hoong (a Conveyancing Clerk and mentor to me), who patiently taught me and volunteered to train me to be a conveyancing clerk - unfortunately, it was an offer that I regrettably did not take up then, for lack of interest.

After some years, I was assigned to a senior conveyancing clerk, before I became a secretary to a new lawyer by the name of Mr Roy Sharma. I gained experience by learning how to prepare documents with available facts and to submit them for approval, learning through my mistakes on how to improve myself.

After Mr Sharma left the firm, I became a “floating secretary” covering the duties of secretaries on leave and learning from different partners and the varied types of work they are each involved in. Being a "floating secretary" forced me to step out of my comfort zone and experience, but it definitely allowed me to learn a lot more.

Afterwards, I came to provide secretarial support to Mr David Wee, Administrative Partner, for 19 years, with shipping and litigation matters, and assisting with defending doctors, until his retirement in 2003. Despite many late nights, I never thought of leaving D&B as I enjoyed my work and still find it interesting up till now.
What has been the biggest change in the job been?
Back then, letters and documents were taken in shorthand and transcribed using a typewriter - a very slow process - unlike the computers we have today. Urgent messages had to be sent overseas by telegram, later these followed in the form of telexes and faxes, before the invention of email.
What do you like about working at D&B?
Our colleagues work very closely, gladly covering another whenever one is on leave. We enjoy our work and the working environment is wonderful, which is why many staff have never thought of leaving the firm. From a junior stenographer, to a secretary and now doing detailed bills for the Corporate Practice Group, my continued interest and enjoyment in my daily job and work environment have kept me going for the past 55 years. This is my first job and will be my last before I retire; I’m very thankful for the firm's graciousness and kindness in allowing me to grow alongside it through the years.
Any advice you’d like to share with the younger colleagues?
Be tolerant and helpful – tough times do not last, but tough people do.
Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Yong Weng Chong and I was born in 1948. I am happily married. I joined Donaldson & Burkinshaw (D&B) since 1968.
How did you come to join D&B?
I came to understand that the firm needed a junior accounts clerk then. I was called for an interview and selected for the post. It was my first job. Today, 50 years of service later, I am still with the firm’s accounts department.
How has your job changed in the decades since you first worked here?
In the beginning, I performed manual accounting using a typewriter. Years later, with the advancement of technology, the computer was introduced and we were happy to upgrade ourselves in the digital field.
How do you stay motivated all these years?
I am a simple person who stays cool and calm. I get along with everyone here. Through the years, it was happiness, diligence, honesty and sincerity that made me stay motivated at work. I am happy that the firm recognises my sincerity and hard work - that’s all it took for me to stay on, and continue to do so.
How has your time at D&B changed you or your life?
It has given me a happy and healthy work life all through these 50 years.
Who has left the deepest impact on you through these years?
I truly respect my ex-colleagues who have retired, including some who have passed away. They provided me great support during my golden years of service with the firm.
Any advice you’d like to share with the younger colleagues?
Focus on your job. Show sincerity, responsibility, honesty, motivation and discipline in everything you do and give your best in everything you do.
What future would you hope to see for D&B?
I wish for its further progression and prosperity. The future of D&B relies on the good work relations between the partners and staff. Keep it up!
Tell us more about yourself.
I am Francis Lim. I’ve been on this earth 70 years. I joined Donaldson & Burkinshaw (D&B) in February 1980.
How did you come to join D&B?
I heard of a job opening through the grapevine; a friend’s sibling was working here then.
How has your job changed through the years since you first worked here?
I first joined as a Court Clerk. This position is now sort of defunct with the advent of e-filing. Then I was transferred to the Billing Department to do bill of costs - a role that was totally new to me. I had to learn the ropes fast. With ever-changing times, I was once again re-assigned, in 2007, to the Trademarks Department – again, a whole new ball game to me. It was challenging as I had to learn to work the computer and the responsibilities of the job at the same time. Today, I’m still with the same department.
How do you stay motivated at your work through all these years?
Be forward-looking, positive and enjoy the ride!
What do you like about working at D&B?
I love the camaraderie of learning alongside other veterans and the sense of belonging here. At this stage, the firm is doing pretty well in terms of inclusiveness, support and welfare. There are many long-serving seniors and loyal, patriotic executives who will fuel the firm’s progress to greater heights.
How has your time in D&B changed you or your life?
It has taught me to strive and always stay ahead of times.
What are some highlights from your time here?
Conducting a ship’s arrest is both enjoyable and dangerous! Another memorable moment was being involved in raids with the aid of police on trademark infringers.
Any advice you’d like to share with the younger colleagues?
Persevere and you will be rewarded.
What future would you hope to see for D&B?
Expanding and retaining our spot as one of the firms with a leading Intellectual Property Practice regionally.
Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Nancy Guay and I was born in 1962. I joined Donaldson & Burkinshaw (D&B) in 1980.
How did you come to join D&B?
After my Private Secretarial Course, I applied for a job here after seeing an advertisement in the newspapers. During my interview, I had to take shorthand translation and typing tests on the spot - those were vital skill sets then.
How has your career journey been like at D&B since you first joined?
I was first hired as a junior secretary, doing administrative work which included accurately compiling information from partners into letters and documents intended for clients. Now, I am a Legal Executive who deals directly with clients through phone calls or meeting up with clients independently to go through specifics of transactions; I am responsible for ensuring that matters are handled smoothly and to sustain healthy business relations. I also prepare real estate documents (such as Caveat, Transfer, Mortgage, Charge, to name a few) and liaise as a middleman between involved parties. I interact with both local and overseas clients. I am also tasked to handle Human Resource matters where I prepare and oversee the on-boarding process.
How do you stay motivated in the job through the many years?
Passion for the job and my goal to play an integral role in building a financially stable family kept me going all these years, assisted alongside by the good working conditions here at D&B.
What do you like about working at D&B?
Our partners encourage work-life balance and cohesiveness amongst fellow employees. Credit is given to every employee who plays a significant role. In addition, the various welfare activities such as monthly tea parties, year-end appreciation lunches, movie nights and accolades of long service to loyal staff are a bonus. They also show compassion amidst their busy schedule, using personal time to visit sick ex-colleagues to offer whatever help they can.
What has your time at D&B taught you?
Perseverance at a higher aptitude in dealing with various personalities.
What has been a memorable experience in your career journey here so far?
Handling a development project (Delfi Orchard) with just one other lawyer; we had to stay past midnight almost every other day back then. It was a trying period, but it proved my worth to the firm.
Who has left the deepest impact on you through these years?
There is a list of people, but just to name two: Andrew Tan, who was my mentor for the first decade of my time here; and present managing partner Michelle Ng who has been a pillar of support at our work place.
Any advice you’d like to share with the younger colleagues?
Be humble and always be ready to learn and take up new tasks or duties.
What future would you hope to see for D&B?
I want to see us grow and expand globally. I believe we will under the management of the young and dynamic team.
      Website designed by Sixteen-O-Two Advertising N Design
 Contact Us