In a bustling world of litigation, where legal battles can often seem like a complex web of intricacies and complications, Doris Chia stands out as a beacon of clarity, compassion, and community-oriented values. With more than 30 years of experience, Doris has not only established herself as a seasoned legal professional but has also cultivated a firm, DC Law LLC, rooted in principles that extend far beyond the courtroom.
Today, we’ll delve into Doris’ remarkable journey, the values that drive her practice and her commitment to giving back to the community.
Interviewer: To begin, could you introduce yourself and provide a glimpse into your background?
Doris: When asked about my job, I often joke and say that “I quarrel with people for a living”. But beyond that, being a good litigator is about providing clear and sound legal advice so that clients are able to understand what is at stake and can make informed decisions. It is about spotting issues from the get-go, coming up with creative strategies and guiding clients through legal complexities – essentially, unravelling the legal “gordon knot”.
Interviewer: As DC Law LLC’s Managing Director, how did you end up where you are today?
Doris: My journey to my current position at the helm of DC Law LLC is one rooted in determination and a commitment to overcoming adversity. Raised in a financially disadvantaged family, I was inspired to pursue a legal career after my own family faced bullying and legal repercussions in the past. It was definitely a long, hard journey. The law degree took four years and after that, I had to do a six-month pupillage (now known as a training contract) and pass another examination to be called to the Singapore bar. By some twist of fate, I ended up doing my pupillage at a small firm called Harry Elias & Partners, which later grew to become a 50-men law firm. I spent 18 years there before founding DC Law LLC in 2019.
Interviewer: You recently opened up about your life in an interview with The Straits Times. Could you share a little more about that?
Doris: In 2017, I was featured in an article and video in The Straits Times, where I opened up about intimate details of my life – my mother’s battle with schizophrenia, our impoverished background and how it shaped my journey to becoming a lawyer. This interview revealed aspects of my life I had never shared before, and the response was truly heartening. Former law school classmates reached out, expressing their wish to have known about my struggles so they could have offered support.
On our website, you’ll find a testimonial from a lady named Marlene. Marlene’s story is one that underscores the importance of standing up against injustice. After her husband’s passing, she faced issues with his business partners. We provided Marlene with legal advice and she managed to negotiate a sizable pay-out to buy out her shares (something that had been previously denied to her). Through strategic advice, she was able to assert her rights, showcasing the transformative role that good legal advice can play in individuals’ lives.
Interviewer: Could you tell us more about how you have given back to the community?
Doris: Once in a while, in deserving cases, we charge “low prono” – not pro bono — for cases that our lawyers in the firm agree to take on. We do this at a cost to our own pockets, as a way to extend help to those in need. I believe that it is important to strike a balance because while we want to give back to the community, we also want to avoid attracting those who may seek free legal help without genuine need.
Besides this, I have also given free talks to hospitals, healthcare groups and trade union members in recent years, so that they are aware of their legal rights and potential solutions available to address the legal issues facing them in their work.
Interviewer: Your commitment to giving back to the community is commendable. Could you elaborate on why this is so important to you?
Doris: The heart of my commitment to the community lies in helping those who lack knowledge and resources, particularly the underprivileged and poor. These individuals often require assistance to navigate the legal challenges. It is about empowerment, allowing them to stand up for their rights and seek justice. This is a stark contrast to those who seek legal assistance after behaving recklessly and expect free help without taking responsibility for their actions.
Interviewer: What are some values that DC Law LLC stands for?
Doris: At DC Law LLC, we believe in helping our clients achieve their goals through high-quality and strategic legal advice – whether they are victims of online defamation or looking for commercial litigation lawyers. The client’s interest is paramount – it’s not just a catchphrase for us. We believe in upholding values of integrity and honour, and always prioritise our clients’ interests first. This principle might sound like a given in the legal profession, but that is not always the case.
Interviewer: Your journey and the values you have instilled in DC Law LLC truly exemplifies a commitment to both professional excellence and giving back to the community. Thank you for sharing your insights with us!
Doris: Thank you. It has been great discussing how our values drive our practice here at DC Law LLC.