In 2002, I started to realise that J was on a freefall although he had a strong political affiliation and ambition. We met once a month with the intention of repairing the damage that was apparent in the management of accounts and also of the office.
J's branch in Klang also have this lady who was his office manager. This lady was given a room and ensure everthing was properly managed in the office. After some times, we also got to know that this lady had invested money in J's branch. She also brought in her husband who is a banker to oversee the operation of the firm. When she had invested the money, the husband and wife wanted to have control of the firm especially on where is the direction of the firm going to be.
At first, S and I were agreeable to the arrangement although we were actually blindsided by J as we were not told of his arrangement with his office manager. We were also not quite comfortable with the idea of a non-professional taking over a legal firm, although its not our branch. The lady had nearly 15 years of experience as a legal clerk and knows what to do in any given task either regarding office management or conveyancing matters. We gave her the benefit of the doubt on her credentials as we had also asked for her advice on certain matters including when we got a big project to handle that year requiring us to manage a launch of 800+ apartments in the middle of Kuala Lumpur. She managed to help us through that.
However, when we started to have meetings with them at their office every month, we saw that the real person who was in charge was the husband and they were clueless in how a legal firm need to be accountable for every single sen that came out of their accounts. Their management were so topsy turvy that they had problem retaining the workers in their office, they were some unexplained discrepancies in the account and we were in danger of being sued. The clincher was when they keep on asking us to let them in on certain projects to help them survive.
In August that year (2002), I met a senior of mine who had just set up a firm in Seremban after 12 years working with the same medium-sized firm in Seremban. The medium-sized firm also had this weird concept of franchise in which they lend their name to anyone who want to set up a branch anywhere in Malaysia, where they still have no office yet. So, in the first instance, my senior wanted to do that but later changed his mind and set up his own firm in his own name in Seremban. He only have one staff, who was himself.
When I proposed to him to establish a new entity with his name at the forefront, ours coming in second and third while having separate accounts and establishment, he jumped at the idea as he wanted to get himself out of the doldrum of being alone without any partner to discuss on the direction of his firm.
When he set up his firm in March 2002, he called me quite a few times as he wanted to know the nitty gritty of a firm. Although he was my senior, there were not many of my peers there who had set up their own firm. Maybe it was also being alumnus of the university also bound us over. I helped him with the documentations and in 1.2.2002, his firm was born.
That was why when I proposed to join him and bring with me a few panel, he agreed and ion 1.9.2002, our partnership started. This time S and I made an ironclad agreement in which the name can never be changed and those who wants to leave must also leave their name behind. We also agree to help each other manage the firm as a whole especially when the time comes for the renewal of our Practising Certificate every year.
This firm was where the tide of our fortunes turn and this was where we make our mark...