Teo Soon Kim

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Teo Soon Kim (23 June 1904 - 23 April 1978, also Teow Soon Kim and Lo-Teo Soon Kim)[1] was a barrister in Singapore, Hong Kong and also in England. She was the first woman admitted to the Straits Settlement bar, and the first woman barrister in Hong Kong. She also became the third Malayan Chinese woman to become a barrister in England.[2]


Teo's father, Teo Eng Hock, was a rubber baron from Teochew.[1] Teo was encouraged by her father to get an education and attended the Methodist Girls' School.[2] She later taught at the school for two years, but what she really wanted to do was become a lawyer.[2] Part of her motivation for becoming a lawyer was because few women in Asia had done so and none in Singapore had been admitted to the bar.[3][4] She went to the University of London to study law and lived in Finchley.[1] She entered the Inner Temple in London in May 1924 where she studied with H. H. L. Bellot.[1] In 1927, became the third Malay woman to be admitted to the bar of England and Wales.[2]

Teo returned to Singapore and married Lo Long Chi in December 1928.[2][5] In 1929, Teo was admitted to the Singapore bar.[6] She practiced for a few years in Singapore after spending two years in China.[2] In Singapore, she took on civil and criminal cases and argued in front of the Supreme Court in 1932.[1] She was first woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court and drew a crowd in the public gallery.[1][7] In 1932, she moved to Hong Kong and was became the first woman admitted to the bar there in August 1932.[2]

In the early 1920s, Teo converted to Christianity.[1] She was inducted into the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame in 2014.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Teo Soon Kim". Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board Singapore. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Teo Soon Kim". Singapore Women's Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  3. ^ Chand, Meira (2015). "Meetings With Remarkable Women: The Making of Lim Mei Lan". In Kanwaljit, Soin; Margaret, Thomas (eds.). Our Lives To Live: Putting A Woman's Face To Change In Singapore. World Scientific. p. 172. ISBN 9789814641999.
  4. ^ "Chinese Woman Barrister". The Straits Times. 16 August 1932. p. 18. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  5. ^ "The Wedding of Singapore's First Lady Lawyer". Malayan Saturday Post. 22 December 1928. p. 15. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  6. ^ "40 Law Society and Legal Firsts Facts". Law Gazette. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Assizes Triumph for Mrs. Lo". The Straits Times. 9 January 1932. p. 12. Retrieved 4 November 2017.