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Solicitors, vote la!

2019/5/16 — 12:16

2019 LAW SOCIETY OF HONG KONG COUNCIL ELECTION

It is that time of the year again. Solicitors should receive their voting pack today, tomorrow or (at latest) Monday. The papers are also available online at the Law Society’s website’s members-only section.

Just to get one thing out of the way - I am not endorsing any candidate for the Law Society Council Election this year. Do not send me proxies or name me as one - work commitments mean that I will not be able to attend the AGM in any event.

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Nonetheless, I urge all solicitors to vote. This year’s election can have a decisive influence on the composition of Council for the foreseeable future. It is up to one to consider whether this is a positive or a negative, but the reality is that a group of Council members/candidates with the state’s “blessing” will become by far the largest and most influential bloc within Council if its slate of candidates (who may or may not be running as a team) win through this year.

You can vote for up to 5 out of the 9 candidates. I am certainly going to vote. My postal ballot (see 1st photo of this post) has been completed and will be sent out shortly.

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When voting, make sure you are comfortable with who you are voting for before casting a postal or in-person vote, or giving away a proxy or postal vote to anyone so requesting. In particular, do your candidates’ due diligence, including the following:

- Try and find out where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to you.

- Try and find out what candidates really mean when they make right-sounding motherhood statements about fundamental issues.

- Try and find out whether the candidates belong to any political party or any grouping that seeks to run candidates in elections for public office, or are otherwise backed by any state-sanctioned forces.

- Try and find out whether candidates who appear innocuous (in terms of issues that matter to you) are otherwise linked with or close with other candidates who appear less innocuous.

- Try and find out whether candidates who are big on barrels of seemingly apolitical jolly good fun may (or, to be fair, may not) be linked with or otherwise be sympathetic to particular brands of politics: this was a lesson I learnt from my university days, when the all-drinking, all-laughing, all-puking “More Beer” students club turned out to be a front for conservative political forces.

- Try and find out the professional reputation and standing of the candidates in their respective specialisations and industries.

- Try and find out not just the quantity or lists of a candidate’s actual or purported contributions to the profession, but also the nature, quality and effect of such contributions.

- Try and find out what, if any, substance lie behind candidates’ election statements and/or social media pages, whether glossy and made up of glib slogans or otherwise.

- Try and find out why your firm was only visited upon by some candidates but not others - might it be because your firm’s management refused to let some candidates visit, or otherwise made it difficult for some candidates to visit?

- Try and find out whether any spoken or unspoken threats of “consequences” if one refuses to surrender one’s own proxy or postal vote or otherwise vote for certain designated candidates are actually credible (they often are not), and even if such threats are credible, ask yourself this: do you really want your profession to be governed by people who are beneficiaries of such explicit or subtle thuggery and bullying?

To those who had hoped to see what endorsements I might make and then either follow them or campaign against them, I quote the protagonist in Monty Python’s Life of Brian (see 2nd photo of this post):

“Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!”

With that, I shall say no more - I will not be making any further public comment in relation to this election. God bless all the candidates, God bless all the voters, and God bless our profession.

Kevin Yam
16 May 2019

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