In the world of law, recognition and success are often seen as the result of individual efforts. However, behind every accolade and triumph lies a team of remarkable individuals who breathe life into the very essence of Silvester Legal. “Lawyers Uncovered: The Faces Behind Silvester Legal” is more than just a campaign; it’s an unveiling of the heart and soul that propels our firm forward.
For clients, securing the Straits Times Singapore’s Best Law Firms 2024 award for the second consecutive year is a testament to the quality of service that Silvester Legal strives to provide with each and every file. This award also cements our position as leaders in the legal domain. It shows that we are here to stay.
Join us as we peel back the layers of titles and designations to reveal the real stories—the passions, struggles, and motivations—that make us who we are. Through “Lawyers Uncovered,” we invite you to connect with the faces, voices, and hearts that drive Silvester Legal’s commitment to justice, integrity, and client advocacy.
From Courtroom to Leadership
Walter Silvester, Managing Director & Head of Commercial Litigation
Walter Silvester, the Managing Director of Silvester Legal LLC, specialises in shareholders and directors’ disputes. With nearly two decades of dedicated legal expertise under his belt, Walter’s journey was ignited by an innate desire to champion the cause of the downtrodden. He believed in being the voice for those who could not speak for themselves. While he initially gravitated towards criminal law, years of practice led him to the realm of commercial law.
However, Walter’s ambition went beyond mastering the intricacies of the legal world. Fuelled by a thirst for growth, he made the audacious decision to forge his own path instead of following the established law firm route. Walter acknowledges the invaluable lessons gained from prestigious firms like Lee & Lee, Rajah & Tann, and Joseph Tan Jude Benny. Yet, the call of uncharted waters beckoned.
Starting Silvester Legal wasn’t without its trials. The search for capable team members, akin to finding gems in a vast mine, posed a constant challenge. However, Silvester Legal defied the odds, assembling a team of driven and competent individuals, all steering their collective energy towards a common purpose.
In the face of challenges, Walter and his team stood resolute, confronting head-on the tides of change brought by the COVID era and its aftermath. The legal industry landscape shifted, with inflation, remote work, and technological evolution reshaping the terrain. Yet, the firm’s unwavering commitment to their clients fuelled Walter’s perseverance.
“Every client that comes to us comes with a need,” Walter states emphatically. “They have an issue, and they want our help. That is motivation enough for me. I want to help my clients. I want to ensure that they are protected and can go about their lives without fear, with confidence, assured that they have an excellent legal team who has their backs.”
Client satisfaction is not just a goal; it’s a fundamental tenet of Walter’s practice. One success story that stands out is that of Deniyal Bin Kamis, a testament to the firm’s commitment to righting injustices. Deniyal’s plight, a victim of minority oppression, showcases the firm’s unwavering dedication to securing justice for the marginalised.
“Many cases become personal to us,” Walter remarks. “We step into the shoes of our clients and feel the hurt and the call for justice. It is never just a job. It is never just a file. We are privileged to be in a position to help.”
Beyond the courtroom, Walter fosters an environment of camaraderie and collaboration within his firm. He has rallied a team that punches above its weight, fostering a culture of shared determination and unyielding motivation. Walter believes in nurturing individual interests and specialization within the legal realm, emphasising the importance of continuous learning.
Reflecting on his journey as both a lawyer and entrepreneur, Walter takes immense pride in his achievements, each milestone a testament to his unwavering dedication. Hailing from humble beginnings, he remains forward-looking, driven by a desire to create a legacy that extends beyond himself. Beyond his legal endeavours, he is a devoted family man, finding his greatest inspiration and pride in his wife, children, and extended family.
Walter’s journey is a powerful example of determination, breaking barriers, and leaving a lasting impact on the world. In his own words, when asked what advice he would give to individuals seeking their own passions, he said, “Find your ‘Why’, throw caution to the wind, and go for it!” This creed reverberates as a clarion call to all those who dare to explore their passions, pursue their dreams, and etch their destinies against the canvas of life’s vast possibilities.
Additionally, Walter has been honoured as the 2023 Asia’s Super 50 Disputes Lawyer by Asian Legal Business, highlighting his exceptional expertise and significant influence on the legal field. His career, characterised by notable achievements and a steadfast commitment to justice, serves as an ongoing source of inspiration.
Forging a Purposeful Path
Walter Alexander, Director & Head of Corporate
Walter Alexander, Director and Head of Corporate at Silvester Legal, specialises in corporate law, particularly in the realms of Commercial Dispute Resolution and Cross-Border Corporate affairs. His expertise has been instrumental in guiding companies and crafting intricate agreements tailored to meet clients’ specific requirements.
Walter’s journey from lawyer to leader at Silvester Legal is a testament to his steadfast passion and versatility. From his early school years, he exhibited a natural talent for public speaking, drama, and the arts, which eventually evolved into a love for verbal sparring and intellectual discourse. Walter’s pursuit of law as the perfect platform for his passion became evident during his law school days.
As a litigator, Walter left an indelible mark in the legal world. His dedication to his clients goes beyond resolving legal matters; it’s about enhancing their overall quality of life. Walter’s strong advocacy skills have made a significant impact, both inside and outside the courtroom.
Walter’s unique background as a former Pastor in the United States has deeply influenced his approach to the legal profession. It has instilled in him a strong sense of empathy, which forms the foundation of his client relationships. His ability to relate to his clients’ predicaments and his cultural adaptability set him apart as an empathetic and effective lawyer.
In one notable instance, he turned the tide in a High Court case through effective advocacy and persuasion, emphasising the power of effective cross-examination and the importance of credibility in legal proceedings. In another case, Walter successfully defended a client against a baseless lawsuit, securing a decisive victory and highlighting the power of advocacy.
Walter’s motivation in his legal journey is driven by a vision for Silvester Legal’s future. As the Head of Corporate Legal, he aspires to lead the expansion of their department, enabling them to take on more diverse and complex cases. This expansion also aims to provide clients with a faster turnaround time, ensuring their needs are met more efficiently. Additionally, Silvester Legal is working to position the firm as a comprehensive, one-stop solution for all corporate requirements.
Walter concludes with advice for aspiring lawyers, urging them to persevere through the challenges of the legal profession. He highlights the satisfaction that comes with dedication and hard work and encourages junior lawyers to give their best before deciding if law is truly their calling. “If you persevere for the long haul, you will see that the hard work you’ve put in during your early years will pay off”. The rewards of the profession, he believes, are worth the initial hardships.
The Legal Trailblazer
Siraj Shaik Aziz, Defence & Disputes Lawyer
In the realm of law, Siraj Shaik Aziz is a resolute and dynamic presence within the Silvester Legal team. A graduate of Singapore Management University (SMU) in 2015, he honed his expertise in Criminal Defence, leaving an indelible mark on the field of law. Siraj’s journey is one of passion, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to the pursuit of justice.
Siraj’s desire to pursue a career in law was shaped by a combination of personal interests and inspiring role models. Even in his formative years, Siraj displayed a deep-rooted interest in philosophy, literature, and drama, laying the foundation for his future in the legal arena. However, a pivotal moment at the Singapore Management University Open House changed his trajectory. A professor’s explanation of how the law touches every aspect of daily life, from the growth of an apple to its sale, convinced Siraj that a legal career could be intellectually stimulating and profoundly impactful.
Siraj’s legal journey began with a focus on criminal defence. He served as a Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) Fellow, representing nearly 100 clients in a wide range of offenses. His dedication led to conditional warnings, community-based sentences, and acquittals for clients at both pre- and post-trial stages. Beyond the courtroom, he actively participated in the Law Society’s Criminal Practice Committee and Criminal Legal Aid Scheme Committee, dedicating his time to the betterment of the community.
A significant turning point in Siraj’s career was his transition into civil and commercial litigation after joining Silvester Legal. His natural inclination towards disputes work was bolstered by his involvement in competitive university debates and moots, which showcased his persuasive abilities. This inherent interest in the art of argumentation became the cornerstone of his legal career.
In his illustrious career as a Defence and Disputes Lawyer, Siraj encountered cases that have profoundly impacted him. These memorable success stories reflect not only his legal acumen, but also his deep empathy and commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of those he represents.
In one case, a 25-year-old client faced a daunting 9-10month jail sentence for his involvement in a criminal syndicate engaged in money laundering. Siraj embarked on an arduous journey to advocate for his client’s leniency. Through compelling arguments, he convinced the Court and prosecution to grant his client probation instead of imprisonment. This decision was driven by the client’s good character, dedication to further education, and his vital role as the sole caretaker of his mother. As a result, the young man was given a second chance, securing employment in a reputable security company and a brighter future.
In another case, a 33-year-old man faced charges for housebreaking. His behaviour was atypical, prompting Siraj to delve deeper into the man’s mental condition. Through meticulous inquiry, Siraj discovered that his client suffered from cyclothymic disorder, causing severe mood swings between depression and hypomania. This revelation explained the unique nature of his housebreaking incidents. Siraj advocated for his client to receive probation with psychiatric treatment and close monitoring by his family, offering a better chance for recovery.
These experiences left a lasting mark on Siraj, highlighting the pivotal role of legal proceedings in the lives of clients. “The legal process is akin to the River Styx of Greek mythology, and lawyers are the Charon, guiding clients through these turbulent waters,” he added.
When contemplating his long-term aspirations as a disputes lawyer, Siraj has a clear goal. He envisions a future where he continues to competently assist clients in navigating the complex landscape of commercial and criminal disputes.
Siraj’s passion for his profession extends beyond the confines of the courtroom. He is fervently dedicated to causes that augment access to justice. This dedication is manifest in his active involvement in offering pro-bono and low-bono services, spanning both civil and criminal matters. Additionally, he generously shares his insights and knowledge through community talks aimed at enlightening various stakeholders about the intricacies of the legal world. His commitment also extends to participating in legal clinics, providing vital assistance to those in need.
As a testament to his dedication and excellence, Siraj’s journey as a legal professional has not gone unnoticed. In 2023, he was awarded the prestigious title of “Rising Star” by Asian Legal Business, signifying his outstanding contributions to the field. Furthermore, he achieved recognition as one of the Top 5 winners in the LexisNexis National Awards 2023, cementing his position as an influential and accomplished figure in Singapore’s legal landscape.