Name: Phaik Khaw
Role: General Counsel
Trained at: Minter Ellison, Australia
Year qualified: 2004
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Being trapped in a data room with piles of paper taking notes as we were not allowed to take photocopies of documents. Luckily it was with two other trainees – after a week, a lot of hard work, endless cups of coffees, we came out of that dataroom with a sense of commaradery and strong bonds.
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)? #
A former tax partner I worked with in Australia. When trying to make sense of the mountains of tax legislation and a complicated transaction, he helped me unravel it all by simply saying that one can always draw parallels with buying a bunch of oranges at a grocery store! Who knew that such a simple concept would stay with me throughout the years of complex structures?!
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
It is difficult to pick one as many people have taught me a great deal along the way. Two people spring to mind. The first is the same tax partner I mention above as not only was he technically astute, he also taught me to never lose sight of having a balanced lifestyle, knowing that will be times when the going gets tough and times that you need to rest, recharge and recouperate. The second is my ex-colleague who became my mentor – who taught me to believe in myself, to speak up and to draw boundaries
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Work hard and smart, keep an open mind, try new things and always be willing to learn. Invest in relationships around you.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
She saw the light early on and chose a different career path! She started her career in the finance industry and with an entrepreneurial streak, also started a property development business. On top of all that, she juggles having three children. Supermum.