Oon & Bazul motivates SMU law students through bursary and new prize

7 Mar 2016

Law firm Oon & Bazul, which has been supporting SMU’s law undergraduates through the Oon & Bazul Bursary since 2011, has renewed its commitment to SMU, and will continue to award the Bursary to one full-time law student each year, for another five years.  In addition, the firm also established the Oon & Bazul Prize for the Top Student in Law of Torts at SMU for a period of five years.  To motivate SMU’s law students to achieve academic excellence and to recognise the top student in Law of Torts, a compulsory course offered at the SMU School of Law, one Prize worth S$1,500 will be awarded annually from the current academic year.

The Oon & Bazul Bursary, worth S$5,000 each, has benefitted five SMU law students to date.  Besides helping to place the awardee on the road to financial freedom and enabling him/her to focus on enjoying a fulfilling and holistic university education, the Bursary also motivates them to achieve all-round excellence.  One of the beneficiaries of the firm’s generosity is Victoria Choo Li Yuet, who graduated from SMU School of Law in 2014 with a Bachelor of Laws degree.  She was a recipient of the Bursary in 2012, became an intern with the firm in 2013 and was eventually offered a training contract with the firm.

“I used to have to take up many private tutoring jobs to earn money.  At one point I had seven tuition students.  It was very exhausting because I had to fit all my tuition classes into Saturday and Sunday after a busy school week.  Receiving the O&B bursary allowed me to halve the number of tuition students I took.  I was then able to spend more time on my studies and rest during the weekend,” said Victoria.

“The bursary enabled me to fully enjoy my university experience.  It literally bought me time, which I will always be thankful for,” she added.

Outside of her studies, Victoria pursued her passion for dance – she was in both the contemporary and hip-hop dance clubs at SMU.  She also took part in an overseas exchange programme in Tilburg University in The Netherlands during the fourth year of her studies.


[Photos: (Top row) Victoria pursued her passion for dance and was in both the contemporary and hip-hop dance clubs at SMU; (Bottom row) Victoria with her friends during her international exchange in The Netherlands.]

“I enjoyed my studies and I have made some of my best friends in SMU law school.  What I liked in particular was the vibrancy on campus.  I feel I had a very balanced education in SMU and I experienced a lot of personal growth over those 4 years.”

For Victoria, the bursary from Oon & Bazul also brought her the opportunity to intern with the firm, where she eventually started her legal career in 2015.

“I found out that O&B is not just a shipping firm; that it also has successful litigation and corporate departments.  If not for the bursary, I would not have applied to O&B for a Training Contract as I was interested in litigation.  Besides the fact that Q&B is a quality law practice, I was keen on O&B as I liked the idea that this is a firm that gives back to society,” she said.

At Oon & Bazul, Victoria interned and trained under Mr. Suresh Divyanathan.  “I am now an Associate at O&B and I’m very happy to be here,” shared Victoria.

Mr Bazul Ashhab, Managing Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution Practice Group at Oon & Bazul LLP, said, “The firm, although relatively young, has done very well in a short span of time. We have 50 fee earners and the number is still growing.  Having achieved success, the partners are keenly aware of their corporate social responsibility, and we want to give back to society.  What better way to do this than support a young person financially to achieve his dream of a career in law.  The firm is therefore very thankful to SMU for this opportunity.  As such, it brings us immense satisfaction to renew the Oon & Bazul Bursary with SMU for a further five years.  We are pleased that the bursary has been helpful to its recipients and we sincerely hope that it will continue to assist those SMU law students who need it in the future, who in turn can do their part in contributing constructively to our community.”

Professor Yeo Tiong Min, Dean of SMU School of Law, said, “I’m grateful to Oon & Bazul for their continued support and encouragement towards needy law undergraduates via the Oon & Bazul Bursary.  Their generosity will continue to make a significant difference in the educational journey of deserving law students at SMU and enable them to enjoy a fulfilling university education free from financial burden and distractions.”

SMU practises a 'needs-blind' admission policy where no deserving student will be deprived of an education because of financial hardship.  Currently, there are 150 schemes in the form of SMU-funded and donor-supported scholarships, bursaries and study awards, to help students cover their tuition fees and/or living expenses.  Together, these schemes benefit more than 1,500 undergraduate students.  In other words, 1 in 5 undergraduate students may receive some form of financial assistance.


[Featured photo: Mr Bazul Ashhab (far left), Oon & Bazul Managing Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution Practice Group; Mr Kelly Yap (far right), Oon & Bazul Partner and Head of Litigation Practice Group; SMU alumna and Oon & Bazul Associate Victoria Choo (2nd from left); and Dean of SMU School of Law, Professor Yeo Tiong Min (3rd from left).]

Last updated on 14 Mar 2016.

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