Being an entrepreneur and running businesses is never easy. That’s something Janice Chew found out first-hand, but it hasn’t stopped her from founding a number of ventures, the latest of which is JC Legal, a practice specialising in corporate law, IPOs, compliance and intellectual property, with a particular focus on empowering start-ups and SMEs.
“JC Legal is not my first venture,” says the lawyer-turned-businesswoman, “and not my last either.”
Chew never planned to end up in the legal profession – it was something she almost fell into. “I could remember things well and wasn’t inclined towards subjects like accounts and mathematics,” says the 37-year-old. So law it was – and she grew to love it, working for a well- known practice and as an in-house counsel for a manufacturing company.
However, when Chew became a mother three years ago, she began to think about starting her own law firm, not only to give her flexibility but also to enable her to design and deliver legal services the way she wanted to – in a manner that was unlike more traditional firms with heritage to uphold. “I love coming up with solutions and options,” she says, “creating value for my clients and executing the service as we grow together. This is also why I chose to establish my own practice, to provide legal services the way I envision the industry should.”
In 2014 Chew had already made a first attempt at entrepreneurship with JC Corporate, a company offering cross-boundary corporate and business- consultancy services. JC Legal would follow in 2018.
This year, Chew has expanded her interests further, pursuing e-commerce with an eco-friendly children’s-wear brand called Pichoun by JC Lifestyle. “We concentrate on small orders to ensure an ethical environment around our production as well as to give better attention to detail in our designs and control of wastage of materials used,” she explains.
There’s plenty to keep her busy. “The greatest challenge is juggling the multiple responsibilities as a sole proprietor. I have to gatekeep all legal work in the firm, generate ideas for business development and marketing, and ensure that my colleagues have enough on their plates to challenge them and learn, all while maintaining a high quality of service.” And that’s just her day job.
While Chew is proud of her close team and the business she’s built, she isn’t resting on her laurels. “I’d like to strengthen the professional network of JC Legal in Southeast Asia,” she says.
The firm currently has partners in Malaysia and connections in Thailand, and has an eye to growing its reach in Indonesia and Vietnam. “I’m still a few years short of 40,” she says, “and I hope by that time I’ll look back and see further growth in myself and JC Legal.”
Dress: Bottega Veneta