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Old 23-12-2021, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Most of the international firms in Singapore (except rare few like CC) don't take trainees or singapore-qualified associates, as their business model is more around managing local counsel in SEA/India and there isn't much to do for a junior associate in such situations. Latham, Linklaters and A&O take some junior associates but you have to attend a UK uni (as the programme is to make you England and Wales qualified). I'm not sure if the UK SQE changes this.

The international firms in SG do take 2+PQE associates from USA, London or Australia and in fact there's a real shortage of these associates, so if your aim is to make big bucks in Singapore in the medium term, you need to go get yourself trained in those places.

However if you do want to further your career in the long run (and not just immediately as an NQ), you will go to where you have the most exposure and learn the most - this means USA (major markets like NY, Chicago or SF), London or Hong Kong.

Singaporeans can go far and can head up regional or even global offices - there's Cheng Tai Heng who heads up Sidley's arbitration team (after working in NY most of his life), Milton Cheng as global chair of Baker McKenzie (worked most of his life in HK), Jayanthi Sadanandan (who worked mostly in NY and then became Latham's London managing partner).

You theoretically earn the most by being Davinder Singh or Lucien Wong (and running an absolute sweatshop local firm and paying your local associates nothing) or being GC at an MNC like google and being paid in stock, but there is only one head of A&G and only one GC of google, and there are many more partner (or very good non-GC in-house roles) positions overseas.

Your call.
Agree except the part about the international firms in SG not taking SG-qualified associates is somewhat misleading and, for certain practice areas, dead wrong. They don't take local litigation lawyers because they simply dont do litigation. However for corporate work, in particular funds, banking & finance, corporate / M&A, there is a crazy hot market currently (and has been for a past few years) for locally-trained associates from the top local B4 teams. Just take a look at the career trajectories of the corp associates from the best B4 teams on linkedin and you will see what I mean (think A&G / WP banking or M&A, R&T restructuring). There is usually a discount process on your PQE when you join to match their UK pay scale (and some firms dont even discount), but if you want the top tier international firm rates, this is honestly the easier way to get there (I have seen some truly mediocre B4 associates land amazing jobs just because the market is so hot).

There are top firms which offer SG students a dual-qualified training route (like links and A&O, I don't think CC offers UK qualification anymore even though u do the 2 year training still, can anyone clarify?) but imo it's totally not worth it. You have to go do the conversion course for like a year (idk what it's called) while on some low allowance and it will take 3.5 - 4 years from graduation to finish UK + SG call. Whereas you can just do the normal SG call process then do the SQE after (just two exams now) - all while making full salary and building PQE.
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