Hailing from the state capital city of Kuantan, Nevyn Vinosh is perhaps one of the most distinguished mooters borne from the Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya (‘UM’). Besides his previous stint as President of the UM Law Society (‘UMLS’) during the 2019/2020 tenure, it is no surprise that his leadership qualities extend beyond the red brick walls of our faculty, as he was also the co-founder of several student organisations, such as Health Diplomacy and Haksiswa.
Apart from a healthy addiction to debates and moots, Nevyn is also a passionate board game enthusiast, and had been a state squash player for 10 years! Some things that he has kept hidden from the public eye is that he has a soft spot for anchovies and wine, and that he could probably beat you in Disney trivia. A peek into his bucket list reveals that he aspires to run a marathon, start a band, create a board game, and heart-warmingly, find true love.
What ignited your interest to pursue a law degree?
‘The decision to pursue law was never a childhood plan, or one which I had decided since young.’
Law school interestingly was written in the stars for Nevyn. In his final years of secondary school, he found himself gravitating towards politics, leading to his consideration of either economics or law for his tertiary studies. The enticement of the latter eventually won him over. As a realist, he soon realised that he preferred a strong legal understanding in order to build a better political foundation, which would inevitably act as a stepping stone into future careers.
He soon fell hard and fast for the legal profession. Not only did it keep him on his toes, but it also allowed him to keep in touch with the ins and outs of politics.
Law school was an unknown territory for Nevyn, but it seems like he is navigating through it quite skilfully
Leading the faculty’s primary student organisation is easier said than done. Do enlighten us on your journey to presidency.
'The challenges of my road to presidency never felt like a burden due to the support of my board members, complemented by our drive to take up the positions out of passion and love for the organisation.'
There is this unwritten rule in the faculty that as a freshman, you are encouraged to take a dip into the plethora of student bodies available. For Nevyn, UMLS caught his eye, and soon his heart. With his pledge to invest in this society, he soon concocted innovative ideas to revamp UMLS, and eventually, held office as President to turn those dreams into reality.
The road to the presidency, however, was not a walk in the park for Nevyn. The pinch of pressure was especially felt in his second year, because he became one of the youngest in faculty history to hold this prestigious position. This posed multiple challenges on its own —from not having the usual two years of experience, to challenging the long-standing tradition of third-year students taking up the presidency, and most importantly, building confidence within his board to support him throughout the tenure.
With that said, the most challenging feat came after the society’s elections. With the COVID-19 pandemic striking in the middle of his tenure, Nevyn and his team had to brave through the many uncertainties by refocusing on issues within their control and reprioritising their initiatives. Among them would include tending to student welfare and keeping the student body informed with the developments that ensued. Although many planned events cannot be executed physically, the team managed to make the most of the cards they were dealt with — all while learning from each hiccup.
Among the qualities he picked up along the way were the ability to think maturely and be more emphatic towards others. He advised any aspiring junior who aims in forging a similar path to be brave, yet grounded.
'Remember to have the courage to take up challenges, whilst still maintaining your humility to learn from them.'
The dynamic between Nevyn and his UM Law Society Board for 2019/2020 had eased their navigation through the waves of adversities
You are currently a legal intern at Daljit Singh Partnership (‘DSP’). In fact, it appears that you have a robust internship experience, having previously interned at other respectable law firms. Could you provide some insights to fellow students on this?
'My advice to getting the most out of an internship is initiative and proactivity.'
Having undergone the experience of doing multiple internships — three, to be exact — it is safe to say that Nevyn is well-versed in navigating the sails of an internship. To him, the process is an extremely rewarding, although undeniably, tiring experience. Aside from learning the art of drafting and researching, he was also enlightened on the unique operational mechanism of each firm.
Throughout his internships, the most unforgettable memories were his two interactions with the partners from Steven Thiru & Sudhar Partnership (‘STSP’) and Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership (‘RDS’), respectively. Both were rare pockets of opportunities, where he was given practical advice on how to face challenges in the profession. The partner he worked for in STSP even took the liberty of evaluating his work and providing invaluable feedback — from methods of reverse engineering particular work tasks to meet your superiors’ needs and timeline to ways of adapting such skills to appease different bosses. As for his time in RDS, Nevyn was happy to have the opportunity to sit with one of their partners to talk about law and life, from which he realised that the biggest challenge legal practitioners face is the scarcity of time.
From there, you might wonder what mindset should one practise when pursuing an internship. Nevyn’s approach is to enter an internship with a clear goal in mind, which could range from gaining work experience, increasing exposure, or networking, among others. Taking initiative also helps an individual get the most out of an internship. Such can be done through being proactive in taking up more tasks, requesting to handle a brief of interest to you, and stepping out of your comfort zone to solve problems beyond your current scope of knowledge. Using his current internship as an example, it was an opportunity that he managed to procure from a previous work placement. His view, therefore, is that all these pointers will not only help one to overcome a steep learning curve, but also leave a lasting impression which benefits the long run.
With such an array of success in mooting, could you share with us how you worked your way to the top?
'The secret to excelling in mooting, like much in life, is starting early and making as many mistakes as you can.'
The long list of awards Nevyn has achieved from his numerous mooting endeavours — ten competitions thus far — would not have been possible without his immense passion for the sport. For this, he is proud to say that embarking on this journey is probably the best decision he had made in law school. Research, drafting, and advocating were delicacies that satiated his appetite, and he is amused to find that in hindsight, mooting felt relatable to real-life practice.
Among the mooting competitions he participated in, Nevyn felt most fortunate to have taken part in and subsequently being crowned champion in the much sought-after 14th LAWASIA International Moot Competition (‘LAWASIA’) during his first year. Looking back, his prior competitions had given him room to make and learn from the mistakes he made when it came to research and advocacy — allowing him to be more comfortable in his own skin when he advanced to LAWASIA.
As much as it remains an essential element of legal training, the vocation is not for the weak of heart, for it takes courage and resilience to dive headfirst into this rigorous academic sport. Despite the taxing and time-consuming workload, Nevyn continues to moot religiously. Such is because he viewed mooting as an opportunity to practise striking a balance between heavy research for moot and readings for academic purposes.
Even in the final two years of his university studies, Nevyn did not show any signs of slowing down, clinching the champion position for both Malaysia’s Next Advocate 2021, and the Asia Pacific Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition (‘Jessup’) — the latter being the oldest and largest international moot competition ever. In fact, Nevyn is one of the few members of the faculty to have braved on Jessup twice, and even brought home the Best Speaker Award in the 2022 National Jessup rounds.
Evidently, mooting had benefited him in terms of his legal knowledge. Throughout the marathon, he was fortunate to have forged indelible relationships with teammates who had helped him in becoming an all-rounded law student. In urging his peers to try out mooting, Nevyn would also like to express his gratitude to his mooting coach, Mr Raphael Ren, for guiding him in the various aspects of law, advocacy, and life.
Nevyn is glad to have Ms Iffah Afrina, Mr Ignatius Joel, Ms Carmel Grace, and Mr Akhmal Amaluddin by his side throughout the Jessup Moot 2022
Clearly, you have the gift of the gab, for you had been a seasoned debater even before mooting. What drove your ever-lasting passion for pursuing these competitions?
'Debate definitely helps one become a better mooter.'
Nevyn shared that he owes his mooting career to his passion for debate, and you might be intrigued to know that he began debating at the young age of 14 up until his second year in law school. Paying homage to his high school debate coach, Ms Darshini Nadarajan, fondly referred to as Miss D, he was grateful that she had inspired and nurtured him through his days as a budding debater, and especially for honing a special quality of humility within him. Above all, debating had moulded him with the maturity of thought, aside from the ability to think fast before packaging it into a well-structured argument. These skills have helped Nevyn more than anything, as he can now pause and analyse issues rationally before sentiments intrude.
From this point, Nevyn made a distinction between mooting and debating, whereby moots are more rigid as it requires authorities and legal principles to premise an argument. However, looking back, he realised that the very skills from debate — formulating responses, thinking on the spot, and speaking with confidence — helped him to gain an edge in the mooting scene.
After two years of law school juggling both debate and moot, he finally decided to sacrifice his former passion to prioritise mooting for two reasons. Firstly, because he believed that he had benefitted from everything he could possibly learn in terms of skills. Secondly, he foresaw that mooting stands more in line with his future plans, as he could gradually expand his legal encyclopaedia through moots — a far greater boost into the legal profession. Though debating would be sorely missed, Nevyn felt, in many ways, that he would still be able to live the exhilaration of debates through his newfound love of mooting.
Nevyn and the Malaya Team at the Asian British Parliamentary Debate 2019 at Yogyakarta, Indonesia
You were the reigning champion in the Squash category for two consecutive years during the 2019 and 2020 Sukan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya (‘SUKMUM’). To still be able to be an impressive sportsman while managing your busy schedule must require a heightened level of resilience and self-discipline. With that said, how would you advise students to manage both their studies and extra-curricular activities efficiently?
'Managing your studies and extra-curricular activities are all governed by one simple principle: “Something has got to give”.'
For this, Nevyn could never pass up the opportunity to give his all in sports, as it had always been an essential part of his life. Casually, he mentioned that squash was a favourite of his since he was nine. Nevyn admitted that to date, he still lives for the physical and competitive element of sports, which is ‘a different kind of high’.
Beyond physical reinvigoration, sports also provided an enlightening life lesson to him. Nevyn expressed that one of the greatest lessons he had learned through this sport is the ability to swallow defeat. It was only during sports that he first experienced the pain of pushing his body past his physical limit, only for it to end up in smoke — a severe blow both mentally and physically. Respecting experience as the best teacher, Nevyn soon learned to turn the blood, sweat, and tears he endured into gold, where he grew to be resilient despite the unsung pain, despair, and defeat.
One might also ask, how does one excel in sports, juggle mooting, and well frankly, stay alive in law school? At this juncture, Nevyn acknowledged the fact that it is impossible to do everything. For him, prioritisation is the key to balancing one’s time and energy. By evaluating the importance of each commitment, one can reallocate their time accordingly. In doing so, a simple trick would be to ask yourself what matters to you more, and to answer the same in complete honesty to yourself — setting aside intrusive thoughts and fears stemming from peer and societal expectations. Allowing external influence to dictate your priorities, in Nevyn’s opinion, is a recipe for misery, for it foreshadows a lack of fulfilment and contentment in one’s life. In the same breath, he sensibly provided that similarly, we should not judge someone for not being active. Instead, we should value others for their involvements that keeps them contented in life.
'If you choose to prioritise relationships, studies, or hobbies that do not contribute to your career more, you should do so without any shame. Just be sure to know you have a limited time on earth and to use that time to the fullest.'
Nevyn with the Pahang team at the Kejohanan Skuasy Sukan Institusi Pendidikan Malaysia (‘SIPMA’) 2017
Interestingly, you are an author over at Legalatte. What drove you to participate?
‘The pursuit of truth is always worth it.’
Writing had never come easy to Nevyn, but it was one of the skills that he had always hoped to improve — prompting him to take up the challenge of becoming an author at Legalatte with his friends. The secondary reason was that it provided him a platform to share his ideas. Unfortunately, this came with a cost. A striking anecdote firmly etched into Nevyn’s mind was the backlash that came with it, for his article entitled ‘Article 153: Is It Time for Change?’ had him summoned by the police, who investigated him under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and Section 505(b) of the Penal Code. Although he and those close to him were perturbed by the entire experience, it ignited his determination to further sharpen his writing skills. This followed his awareness that the country is in dire need of more voices for positive change to happen — regardless of the controversy and societal backlash it yields.
In your opinion, what is the best way to balance friendship, external commitments, and academics in a stress-driven environment like law school?
'The best way to balance friendship and your professional commitments are to treat it with some good ol’ Godfather wisdom: “Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.”.'
Nevyn was quick to credit his friends whose existence were ‘not just important, but integral’ in assisting him on his pathway to success. He warmly expressed that he could write a thesis on each and every one of his friends and how much light they have projected into his life, and in many ways, saved him. Enduring law school alone is near impossible, and he was privileged to receive support and love like none other from his best mates. Balancing friendships and professional commitments are fairly similar to balancing one’s studies, but Nevyn advised that one should never compromise the relationships that mean the most to them. The very idea of forsaking people who helped build the foundation for your personal pursuits should be non-negotiable.
The Nanos have shown Nevyn that whatever happens, he will always have a strong support system to fall back to — quite literally in this picture
Where do you see yourself in the near future, and what do you hope to achieve in your remaining days in law school?
‘I am not going to waste any time and will create as many memories as I can — leaving no room for regret.’
The roller coaster ride we call life is one with no definite destination for Nevyn, for he is still considering the best course of action in charting his path for the near future. With that said, the plan to pursue a professional career in civil litigation is apparently where his passion lies. However, his plans for the future remain fluid at this stage, for this aspiring young man is on the search for more pursuits to experiment with and goals to fulfil. One thing is for certain though — in tandem with the ticking of the clock, he is not wasting a single second before leaving law school. He wistfully added that it may be hard to come across again a time in his life when he can be as fearless to indulge his passions with his friends by his side.
Nevyn can always count on The Queens to lend a hand or two
In Nevyn’s words, crediting himself for his achievements thus far would be ‘a gross fallacy and a lie’. Instead, he thanked God for gracing him with life, talents, and the best parents a child could wish for as well as best friends he would die for. Living by his favourite verse, Proverbs 22:4, he intends to walk the path of life with humility and fear of God. Asides from the high praises towards his mom who loves him unconditionally and taught him the important values and principles in life, he also appreciated his dad, who had provided him with the privilege and ability to pursue whatever his heart desires, in addition to teaching him what it means to be a man.
Nevyn is eternally indebted to his parents and hopes to make them proud in every way he can
Not to be forgotten, he conveys his love to his friends to whom he is eternally indebted to. He began by giving a shoutout to the ‘Bros’: Kiru, Dzul, Kishen, Hardave, Ganesha, Qiddy, and Podi. He continued by admiring the ‘Nanos’, consisting of Aaron, Sharwin, Luc, Vishal, Mecja, and Ram, and the ‘Queens’, comprising Geoff, Mun, Lea, and Cyn. Nevyn later mentioned some special individuals, Kai Yan and Xu Yin, who have stuck with him. Finally, he concluded his serenade of gratitude with his most sincere appreciation to those who had educated him in law and life — namely Miss D, Madam Choong, and Tuan Edwin.
Nevyn is thankful for the brotherhood he has forged with The Bros
Written by Cheng Xin Miao.
Edited by Sirhan Sidqi, Ashley Khor, and Ee Jie.