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Uni dilemma, please help

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2014, 05:45 PM
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for the benefit of people considering law:

the rosy picture of law (insofar as getting a job is concerned), even if it existed before, no longer does. We are in the midst of a (massive) oversupply of law graduates, the effects of which we will continue to feel for the next 5 years. With the number of fresh lawyers fast approaching the 1,000 per year mark, and the already-bad job situation now, there are plenty of good law graduates who aren't getting jobs.

TL;DR / in summary: new law graduates -> no jobs
Lol... WHen the 3rd law school is up and running, the situation would definitely get a lot worse.

I do think the MinLaw is going to restrict the number of UK universities, though I don't think they can restrict the Aus Universities due to some free trade agreements. In any case, the number of law students in UK has been rocketing like crazy over the past few years. Its almost as if 50% of people who are studying in the UK are reading law. I definitely think they should restrict it to only OxBridge and the 3 London schools. Seriously, schools like Manchester takes in 40-50 Singaporeans annually. That is probably as big as the SMU JD cohort. The worst thing is that they don't have a min. criteria, anyone who can afford is almost guaranteed a place.

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Old 07-06-2014, 01:47 PM
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Lol... WHen the 3rd law school is up and running, the situation would definitely get a lot worse.

I do think the MinLaw is going to restrict the number of UK universities, though I don't think they can restrict the Aus Universities due to some free trade agreements. In any case, the number of law students in UK has been rocketing like crazy over the past few years. Its almost as if 50% of people who are studying in the UK are reading law. I definitely think they should restrict it to only OxBridge and the 3 London schools. Seriously, schools like Manchester takes in 40-50 Singaporeans annually. That is probably as big as the SMU JD cohort. The worst thing is that they don't have a min. criteria, anyone who can afford is almost guaranteed a place.
Yes, the numbers are big, but restricting the approved institutions to those you suggested is probably not the best thing to do (on a free market philosophical benchmark...) Competition may be a good thing.

To me, however, the real problem is misinformation. People think that getting into a law school places you on a 'safe' path leading up to a good legal career. They do not have access to the information about what's happening to the supply of lawyers. The result is that many of them, in a few years, will brutally discover that they can't get training contracts. [the alternative being making it harder to get called to the Bar]



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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 07-06-2014, 06:43 PM
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Yes, the numbers are big, but restricting the approved institutions to those you suggested is probably not the best thing to do (on a free market philosophical benchmark...) Competition may be a good thing.

To me, however, the real problem is misinformation. People think that getting into a law school places you on a 'safe' path leading up to a good legal career. They do not have access to the information about what's happening to the supply of lawyers. The result is that many of them, in a few years, will brutally discover that they can't get training contracts. [the alternative being making it harder to get called to the Bar]
I don't see how restricting the number of law schools would affect competition. There are more and more avenues to study law locally, and the top universities in the UK still take in quite a substantial number of law students. There are certainly more law graduates than the number of places in big corporate law firms.

In the first place, the essence of having a restriction is to ensure that the quality of law students in Singapore remains high. Over the years, this is no longer the case. That is the problem. Restricting the supply of law schools does not hurt competition at all. Having 600 top quality graduates a year certainly beats 1000 law graduates with varying standards.

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Old 09-06-2014, 02:45 AM
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In my opinion, MinLaw isn't thinking things through very clearly.

They're so fixated on the supposed attrition of mid level lawyers, they fail to see the glut of law graduates being churned out by the UK universities every year!

The number of new entrants into the legal profession is dictated by how many trainees and associates the law firms want to hire. If the economy is good and profits are being raked in, they will hire more. If the economy is bad, they will hire less. Simple logic.

You can't increase the supply of praticing lawyers to combat attrition by increasing the number of graduates, since the bottleneck is at the hiring level.

We have second rate law grads from UK universities returning in huge numbers, and competing for places in law firms. If only the best and the brightest can enter NUS and SMU as a form of quality control, why recognise LLBs from second rate universities that aren't even particularly well regarded in the UK itself? It undermines the rationale entirely!

I'm so glad I graduated a few years back. The next generation of law graduates are in for a hard time.

MinLaw should do the conscionable thing and de list most of the Scheduled Universities aside from Oxbridge, UCL, LSE and maybe Kings.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:56 AM
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We have second rate law grads from UK universities returning in huge numbers, and competing for places in law firms. If only the best and the brightest can enter NUS and SMU as a form of quality control, why recognise LLBs from second rate universities that aren't even particularly well regarded in the UK itself? It undermines the rationale entirely!
funny how I noticed that some law firms prefer hiring these graduates from "second rate universities" instead of NUS and SMU grads. if NUS and SMU grads are really "the best and the brightest", then they should have no worries about the competition isn't it?
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:10 PM
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funny how I noticed that some law firms prefer hiring these graduates from "second rate universities" instead of NUS and SMU grads. if NUS and SMU grads are really "the best and the brightest", then they should have no worries about the competition isn't it?
Well, Law firms in Singapore don't work the same way as financial institutions or even the civil service. If your Dad is a lawyer or you have a close relative that is a partner, you would have no issue securing a TC. One can make the case that if you have connections for the other sectors you would get a job, but for those that are in the legal industry, we know that it is a lot more prevalent.


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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2014, 01:31 AM
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funny how I noticed that some law firms prefer hiring these graduates from "second rate universities" instead of NUS and SMU grads. if NUS and SMU grads are really "the best and the brightest", then they should have no worries about the competition isn't it?
Oh please don't try to obfuscate. Anybody with the slightest inkling of legal education knows how much local law students study, in comparison to those from the second rate UK law schools. Everybody there gets a 2:1 with minimal effort, and unis hand out 1:1s like candy.

Ask your friends from NUS/SMU law how much effort the First Class/Summas put in to get their honours.

Law firms hire many UK students with grades that look good on transcripts. Its not about the competition, its about the declining standards of new entrants into the profession.
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:09 PM
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Law firms hire many UK students with grades that look good on transcripts. Its not about the competition, its about the declining standards of new entrants into the profession.
Yeah... but the law firms don't seem to be worrying, isn't it?
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Old 10-06-2014, 08:27 PM
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Yeah... but the law firms don't seem to be worrying, isn't it?
Well, you have a point but it is too premature to say. If you have read the 4th committee's report, you would know that it is only the last 2 years or so that the numbers have really went up. Hence that is the reason why you don't see many law graduates complaining as the legal industry still manages to absorb most of them.

At the end of the day, why would the law firms worry. They have a set number to recruit, and they will go out there and cherry-pick. The main issue that I have gather from reading most of the posts by the other anonymous users has to do with the image and prestige of the profession. If you reduce the benchmark, ultimately over the long run, the quality of practitioners would only deteriorate.

Besides, if we want access to 'desirable' profession to be truly meritocratic, why would MinLaw allow more than half of the yearly intake of lawyers to come from overseas Universities. It is a known fact that large number of students in the Singaporean law faculty come from above-average households. Wouldn't it be more ideal to restrict the number of overseas university to only those that are better than what we have locally? With the third law school coming up, isn't it better to ramp up the numbers through the third law school so that the profession becomes more accessible to the public.

At the end of the day, it is just disconcerting to know that in the near future, more than half of the freshly-minted lawyers would come from overseas universities which are not accessible to the man on the street.
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:37 AM
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Yeah... but the law firms don't seem to be worrying, isn't it?
Can't argue with you there. Law firm hiring isn't exactly the most meritocratic of processes.

Actually, putting aside law students who get hired based on family and relatives (e.g. uncle is a Partner or father is a major client of the firm), the legal industry trainee-level hiring is supposed to be the most meritocratic. Which industry aside from academia scrutinises applicants' grades and transcripts so closely? At least that's the spirit of things. But the lower standards of the UK unis heavily distorts this. Hence, a 2:1 UK grad is supposedly on paper equivalent to a Second Upper Honours NUS grad, but in reality, there is a considerable difference in the amount of effort required as between the two.

As Anon 08:27 rightly points out, hitherto the situation has been OK. But MinLaw has come to a very premature conclusion that an increase in commercial legal activity translates into an automatic need for more law graduates, which is certainly not the case. It MIGHT result in an uptake in lateral hiring, but I don't see law firms vastly increasing their trainee intakes in tandem with the supposed increase in business activity. Meanwhile, the number of A Level/Poly grads studying law in the UK will only increase year-on-year.

It is not merely about the prestige of the profession. It is about professional competence. Lower quality graduates will increase the likelihood of a larger number of less-competent practitioners. We may see an increase in professional negligence suits against lawyers.
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