The legal eagles
FORMER high court judge Richard Talalla’s three sons – Mark, David and John – are all chips off the old block. The trio have followed in their father’s footsteps and studied law.
“Dad never forced to us to read law. We were given the freedom to choose our careers but my brothers and I ended up walking down the same path as our father,” says Mark. His eldest brother Richard was the only one who did not study law; he is a pilot.
Mark and his brothers’ interest in law started from a young age. When they were growing up, the boys saw their father burn the midnight oil, immersing himself in legal cases and research materials. They were aware that their father had the responsibility of upholding the law.
“As a high court judge, Dad served as a keeper of people’s rights, analysing the factual and legal components of each case he presided over. His determination and passion for ensuring that justice was done further fuelled my passion to read law,” shares Mark, 52, who earned his law degree from Sussex University in Britain.
With four sons to preside over under his roof, the high court judge certainly had to draw on his experience of meting out justice (and punishments).
“We were boisterous boys who always got into trouble. Dad was a stern man but he was always fair. We’d get our knuckles rapped and had to face the music when we were up to no good. You can say the hammer fell on us pretty often,” recalls Mark, laughing at the memory.
Though the three brothers studied law, Mark is the only lawyer in the family. He is a partner at a law firm in Petaling Jaya.
Richard, 86, is based in Seremban but still drives to work thrice a week to consult on cases at Mark’s firm. Work keeps him active and his mind sharp, he says.
“I don’t believe in retirement. I’m still passionate about my job and enjoy handling legal cases. Plus, I have a connection with the partners of the firm and I look forward to coming to work,” says the grandfather of five.
Mark says he is fortunate to be able to work with his father. He gets to learn from his father as well as bond with him. “Dad’s room is next to mine. Whenever I need advice, be it on legal or family matters, all I have to do is walk a few steps to see him for a quick chat. Another plus point about working together is we can go out for meals and spend quality time with each other,”adds Mark, who has a 13-year-old daughter.
Another benefit of following in his father’s footsteps is having him as a mentor.
“Dad has trained me to be meticulous and thorough with cases. He reminds me that the core foundation of a law firm is absolute integrity and honesty,” says Mark, who will spend Fathers Day with his parents.
Former high court judge Richard Talalla (left) and his son Mark are practising law together.