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  #413 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2015, 03:37 PM
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Firstly, to all who wish to become lawyers: please do your research before jumping the gun and enrolling in a a non-qualifying institution. You are not cut out to be a lawyer if you can't even enrol in the right school! I hate to be a wet blanket, but you really need to re-examine your aptitude for law if you are careless enough to overlook such basic things. Would you remember to ask preliminary questions relating to jurisdiction and time bar before jumping into a case? If you REALLY wish to become a lawyer for God's sake please enrol in a qualifying institution (and please get the most updated list of scheduled institutions). If you can't qualify for NUS/NTU, you'll need to go overseas and it won't be cheap. If you aren't from a wealthy family, you'll need to consider funding before diving in. Getting into a qualifying institution is the absolute first step on your path to becoming a lawyer!

Secondly, if you think you can qualify in a foreign country and come back to practice, you are very much mistaken. You will come back as a foreign lawyer registered with AGC, and this is essentially a glorified paralegal role if you join a local law firm. As for foreign lawyers being admitted to the Singapore Bar, this occurs only on a discretionary basis, and only in the rarest of circumstances, such as when the practitioner is an undisputed market leader with decades of expertise in his area of practice. It's not going to happen.

Thirdly, even if you take your first few baby steps by enrolling in a qualifying institution, you'll need to be very realistic about career prospects. There are lawyers and there are lawyers. If you don't know what this means, look it up. Some lawyers start their careers with five figure paychecks (by completing training in a Big 4, and taking up an offshore firm's offer instead). At the other end of the spectrum, you'll have NQ lawyers joining one-man outfits entering at $3,000 a month. Getting your degree and crossing the bar simply gives you the right to embark on a legal career - it does not by any means guarantee that it will be a decent career, or that you will even get a job in the first place. The fact that you had trouble entering SMU/NUS suggests to me that that the qualifying institution that you may eventually join would be a low or lower-mid tier institution, which would in the natural course of things land you in a small or small-mid sized firm rather than a glitzy large corporate firm.

Lastly, even if you secure a good role and embark upon a decent career path, there is no guarantee that it will be a satisfying or sustainable path. We have one of the highest attrition rates across the various industries, and statistics show that more than half of all qualified lawyers will burn out and leave practice within the first three years. Even if you should find yourself on the coveted path to a promising legal career, I'm not sure if you'll like what you see as you walk down that road.

There are so many hurdles in your path that I cringe even thinking about it. And you haven't even reached the first hurdle!

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