RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Founder-Senior Consultant Rajan Menon, who has a Foundation named after him – RHT Rajan Menon Foundation – shares his passion for CSR with Tabla! news

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Founder-Senior Consultant Rajan Menon, who has a Foundation named after him – RHT Rajan Menon Foundation – shares his passion for CSR with Tabla! news

  • Fri, 24 March 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Founder-Senior Consultant Rajan Menon was quoted in an article published in Tabla! titled “He champions CSR”

The article was first published in the 24 March 2017 edition of Tabla!.

He champions CSR

Law firm Rajan Menon founded names its charity foundation after him

Source: Tabla! © 2017 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
Date: 24 March 2017
Author: Patrick Jonas

Spending a few minutes gazing out of the glass panelled windows of Mr Rajan Menon’s office takes you back in time. The 10th storey office of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing on 6 Battery Road looks at the Singapore River meandering its way from Boat Quay towards the Marina Barrage. Prominent builds with a hoary past and the new Parliament House also grab your eye.

Six years ago, the view for Mr Menon was a bit different. He has then been a senior partner at another law firm for 30 years.

One day in April 2011 he and a few partners made a decision to part ways and set up RHTLaw LLP.

It was a brave move. Finding office space for the new law firm, 49 lawyers and 50 members of staff, was the first priority and very challenging at short notice.

It so happened that a leading bank’s corporate office was moving out of its Battery Road location to Marina Bay Financial Centre.

At first Mr Menon and his team hesitated. The landlord’s office was: Take both floors of about 22,000 sq ft or none of it.

What would the new entity do with about 30 per cent of the space not required? Would it be able to afford the rent even as it struggled to meet other operational expenses?

Mr Menon and his partners decided to take a leap of faith, went ahead and took up the offer.

Today, all the space is fully occupied and the RHT Group of Companies has also taken up additional space at Republic Plaza.

Such has been the growth in the short time since it was formed on May 28, 2011 that RHTLaw – it joined Taylor Wessing, an international group of member firms, in March 2012 – is now among the top ten law firms in Singapore.

“It was a big challenge initially. So many of my former colleagues had placed their trust in us by joining us. Our priority was to see that their salaries were paid on time, even as we continued to service clients we knew and secure new business. I am happy that with God’s blessings and the hard work of my colleagues not only were we able to do this but also venture into and grow business into new areas,” Mr Menon said with pride.

Today, in addition to the Law Practice, the RHT Group of Companies provides a wide range of non-law professional services. It consists of five groups – RHT Holdings, RHT Media, RHT Knowledge, RHT Wealth and RHT Business Consultancy. As the law firm and the group of companies grew, so did their hearts to give back to society.

Mr Menon has over the years done a considerable amount of pro-bono work.

And that has included helping raise funds for Sinda and manging and building the Sri Sivan Temple.

In his early days, he was asked to help some of the trade unions and the NTUC Co-operatives. For his services, he was awarded the Public Service Medal, a National Day Award by the President and the Friend of Labour Award by the National Trades Union Congress.

Mr Menon, who turned 68 last year, felt that reaching out to the poor and underprivileged should be one of the cornerstones of the business. He says he wanted to instill in his follow lawyers an element of selfless service to those in need.

In 2015, Mr Menon’s partners decided to set up the RHT Rajan Menon Foundation. The firm’s co-founder and managing Partner, Mr Tan Chong Huat, has this to say on why the Foundation was named after Mr Menon, on the company’s website.

“Let me reiterate the reasons why the Foundation is named after Rajan. When we started as RHT Law, we had our CSR (corporate social responsibility) firmly in sight as we always wanted our firm to be one of purpose and giving back to society was a paramount tenet. As our then Senior Partner, Rajan was instrumental to the setting up of the Foundation to focus our CSR activities through the Foundation.”

The Foundation has four focus areas to which it contributes funds – education, environment, disadvantaged groups and the arts.

Said Mr Menon about the foundation: “For many years, doing well and doing good in business were seen as major pursuits. The foundation positions us as a business that embraces CSR, and attracts the right kind of employees, the right kind of counterparts and most importantly, the right kind of interest from the community.”

When he was a young boy, Mr Menon’s father wanted him to take up medical studies but he favoured the arts. Law was far from his mind. He was active in sports while at Beatty Secondary School and got interested in law only after joining Bartley Secondary School for his A-Levels, thanks to his teachers there. He was accepted by the University of Singapore (then) for the law programme and after graduation, he joined the Singapore Government legal service. During his time with the legal service, he was Deputy Public Prosecutor and State Counsel with the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Senior Deputy Registrar of the Registry of Land Titles & Deeds.

Seven years later he left the legal profession to join a bank as a credit officer. He went on to have a successful career as a banker for the next 4 ½ years till he decided to return to law practice. He joined a firm where he was privileged to deepen his knowledge of the law, meet good clients and other honourable professionals, many of whom he remains in close contact with today. And he stayed there till setting up RHTLaw.

His parents moved here from Kerala. His father was K.S. Menon, a Hindu from Shoranur in north Kerala, and his mother Sara Pereira, a Catholic from Trivandrum in south Kerala. He said his parents initially had a tough time, as their families on both sides did not approve of their marriage.

But they put all that aside, successfully raised Mr Menon and his two brothers Valson and Mohan against the backdrop of both faiths, and lived happily till the end.

Mr Menon too is a contented man. Other the years, the genial lawyer has had to battle several critical health issues. He says it is his faith and spiritual guru Mata Amritanandamayi that has helped him overcome and mange his medical problems and progress in his career.

In June last year, Mr Menon retired from the partnership of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP, moving on from his senior partner role into a new role, that of founder-senior consultant of the firm.

He still practices law. He says he finds the profession challenging even today, after 46 years. Every transaction, he says, teaches you something and you are always learning.