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Old 25-12-2007, 12:19 AM
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As a lawyer, I would like to correct your misimpression that lawyering is one of the best sectors/professions based on income, chance of getting to the top and work-life balance.

While the starting pay for a lawyer is indeed higher than that for many other jobs, this assumes that you are talking about corporate lawyers. And these lawyers enjoy absolutely no work-life balance whatsoever. Those that do have to settle for much lower salaries and prospects by joining smaller firms. Alternatively, they go inhouse and generally cannot get to the top in those organisations. While the upside is that lawyers have good job security and enjoy a glamourous image, this does not make up for the very unsatisfying nature of our work. For corporate lawyers in general, we are the ball-boys of the corporate world while the bankers and entrepreneurs are the midfielders and strikers respectively. I know this is fair because high risk = high return.

And benchmarking to the salaries of the top earners is very misleading as it glosses over too many things and ignores the fact that the life of an average lawyer is really very unsatisfying in terms of job satisfaction, work-life balance as well as opportunities for climbing the corporate ladder.

Most of my peers in corporate law genuinely regret our decision to enter this field and most would advise relatives or their children to do something else. Many stay on only because of the opportunity cost with their financial commitments and age.

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