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Old 13-06-2022, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
What about other B4 leh? The squeeze is real, especially with international firms coming in.

Frankly speaking Singapore's financial and services sector is simply not big enough to support a large amount of corporate lawyers or big players in the market. In terms of volume of work and fees.

As compared to more mature jurisdictions, there's also not yet a culture of corporate management seeking external legal advice pre-emptively for corporate and regulatory issues, especially in companies with less established process and governance. Management always tries to DIY and call lawyers in only when sh_t hits the fan. Hence further reducing the types of work.

Which explains why local law firms' profitability is so low and associates are so poorly paid.

I think the future of the legal sector here is for a substantial no. of midtier firms to be absorbed or fold & at least 1 B4 will merge with an international player in the next 5 years.
I spoke in relation to A&G, but wouldn't necessarily say the same for the other B4 and smaller firms (although I suspect WongP is likely in a similar albeit slightly weaker position as A&G).

While it is true that Singapore's financial sector may not be large enough to support a large amount of corporate lawyers or big players in the market, SG law is still very protectionist in terms of (i) regulation and (ii) number of government and government linked clients who will engage local firms 'no matter what'. I don't really see this changing any time soon, so I don't think A&G / WP are in any danger of losing their business to international law firms (who, as I mentioned, I don't think will undercut B4).

Looking to other jurisdictions, I'm conscious that Australia is still run by a mix of Aus firms and Aus / UK JV firms at the top end, while Hong Kong is entirely dominated by UK / USA firms. The question is whether SG will go the way of Aus or HK...

TLDR: I agree with you re the smaller firms, but still think A&G and WP will be fine and profitable because of the protectionist nature of the SG legal industry, and because local firms will 'always' quote lower fees than MC / intnl firms.

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