Dyah Soewito, a founding partner of SSEK Legal Consultants, left her mark on the Indonesian legal scene as one of the country’s leading corporate lawyers and a mentor to generations of lawyers.
Ibu Dyah was a graduate of the University of Indonesia Faculty of Law (1977) and participated in the Academy of American and International Law in Dallas, Texas, in 1988. That same year she was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law.
She began her career at Mochtar Karuwin Komar before helping to found SSEK in August 1992. Over the next 29 years,
Ibu Dyah worked tirelessly to help grow SSEK into one of the leading corporate law firms in Indonesia.
Ibu Dyah was a specialist in Indonesian oil and gas law, foreign investment law, maritime law, real estate and construction, and corporate and commercial law.
She was recognized multiple times as a leading practitioner in Indonesia for corporate law and M&A, projects and energy, real estate, and shipping law by legal directories including Asialaw, Chambers & Partners, IFRL1000, The Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal. She was named to the Asia Business Law Journal A-List of Indonesia’s Top 100 Lawyers in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Ibu Dyah was also over the years a frequent guest speaker at domestic and international conferences. She lectured at various government agencies, including the Ministry of Forestry and the Ministry of Finance, and she was involved in preparing Indonesia’s draft foreign investment law. Ibu Dyah also was a member of the Board of Advisors of the ELIPS Project, Indonesia’s commercial law reform project in the 1990s, which was the largest single-country law reform project in the world at that time.
For many, Dyah Soewito was a role model and a mentor. SSEK partner Denny Rahmansyah said of Ibu Dyah: “She was my mentor and the first partner at the firm who trusted me in handling a big project when I was still a rookie. I always admired her for being generous to others and being a wise person who I looked up to.”
Vera Galuh, vice president and general secretary of Danone Indonesia, who was an associate at SSEK from 1998 to 2004, said of Ibu Dyah: “The legal knowledge and learning in SSEK with Mbak Dyah really shaped my way of thinking and experience. There was never any barriers or walls in connecting with her. She saw us not only as friends, but as family.”
Indri Khrisnavari, general counsel at Total E&P Indonesie, who worked with Ibu Dyah at SSEK for six years, said: “She was one of my mentors who contributed to my career, not only the knowledge and experience she shared with me, but also the trust. She was very caring and supportive of my career, and also taught me to be disciplined, to ensure all work was completed on time, and that clients were happy with the results. I may not remember everything she told me, but I will always remember that she and other SSEK founders and advisers have made me proud as an SSEK alumna.”
Dyah Soewito passed away on August 5, 2021, at age 67. She was a colleague, friend and mentor. The SSEK family will always be grateful for her accomplishments, guidance and friendship.
I met Dyah when I joined Mochtar Karuwin Komar after graduation; she was the one who interviewed me. She became a friend and a mentor, someone I could go to with questions about the law and the practice of the law.
Friend and mentor is a role that Dyah would go on to fill for countless lawyers over the next thirty-plus years. She was passionate about the law and about helping clients succeed in their projects and business in Indonesia, and she excelled at building and maintaining networks with government officials. Dyah was just as passionate and disciplined when it came to mentoring younger lawyers and helping them to succeed in their careers.
We may have been taking a risk when we established SSEK in 1992, but I was confident knowing that I was taking that leap with Dyah at my side. Thank you for everything, Dyah Soewito, my friend and mentor.
Ira A. Eddymurthy
Founding Partner, SSEK