Law Society trailblazer to speak her mind

Melissa Kaye Pang has made history by becoming the first female president of the 111-year-old Law Society of Hong Kong.

Amy Nip

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Melissa Kaye Pang has made history by becoming the first female president of the 111-year-old Law Society of Hong Kong.

She was the vice president and only candidate for the presidency to succeed Thomas So Shiu-tsung, who opted not to seek re-election after two years. Pang's presidency took effect yesterday.

Council members, who were elected a fortnight ago, voted among themselves yesterday to elect the president.

The election caught public attention as outspoken University of Hong Kong legal expert Eric Cheung Tat-ming jumped into the fray and was elected a member.

The society said the number of vice presidents will be raised from two to three.

Pang said she was honored to be elected. Asked if her pro-establishment leanings would affect her presidency, she said she would always put the interests of members first.

She would not comment on the sentencing of localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei other than that he could appeal the verdict, adding she has confidence in the judicial system.

Pang, who is about 50, has been serving as a Law Society council member since 2005.

She was elected vice president in September 2014, and reelected in 2015, 2016 and 2017. She currently serves as the chairwoman of its greater China legal affairs committee, consents committee, and pro bono and community work recognition committee. Pang attended the University of Sydney, gaining the Master of Laws, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics, and obtained a law master from Peking University.

She was admitted as a solicitor of New South Wales, Australia in 1989, and in Britain and Hong Kong in 1991.

A Partner of Pang & Associates, her legal practice focuses on commercial law, property law, and civil litigation.

Pang is also a notary public, civil celebrant, accredited mediator, associate member of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators, and China Appointed Attesting Officer.

She was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2006, and made a Justice of the Peace in Hong Kong in 2010.

She once joined a petition against Occupy Central, and headed an organizing committee of the "Military Summer Camp for Hong Kong Youth."

Asked if she was from the pro-establishment camp, Pang said she would not categorize herself as such, and would "speak up" if the government did anything wrong.