Thought leadership from our experts

Q&A with Kelvin Teo Clifford Chance Asia/Cavenagh Law

What drew you to the law?

The cut and thrust, the challenge of solving problems in a methodological manner, setting up your strategy piece by piece and unleashing it on the opponent, these aspects of the law have always appealed to me. When I was far younger I fell in love with chess where elements of these aspects were present. Then I realised – I could get paid for doing this!

What do you like about your practice area?

I specialise in construction and infrastructure disputes where there is a great amount of knowledge to be gleaned from working with specialists in other disciplines such as in the fields of technical, delay and quantum.

There is a rigour and robustness of analysing issues across the disciplines, that turns the art of law into almost a science.

There will always be construction disputes that need resolution. As every person who has renovated a house will know, construction is a hotbed of contention. There is a perennial conflict between the employer and the contractor, over additional costs and time.

Whom do you consider to be your role model–legal or otherwise?

I think each person you work for shapes your perspectives and approach in the law.

I consider myself very lucky to have learnt a great deal from each of my mentors, and each has left me a legacy.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

If you don't have passion for what you do, then all the money is just going to buy you a nice watch. But all the nice watch does is to count the hours that you spend in the office.

What advice would you give to young lawyers?

Don't be afraid of making mistakes – that's the only time in your career when you can get away with it, and you can learn the most from making them.