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  #1001 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2016, 06:23 PM
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How is a pool system like? is it very stressful as compared to working for a single partner but multiple associates? Also what's the working hours like for big four and the top 2 JLVs.
It depends. I guess in a team system, the partner/associates can (at their discretion of course) choose to leave a trainee alone if he/she is already swamped. But as an associate, if multiple files that you're handling blow up at the same time you're gonna die one way or another. So, still stressful.

From my experience as an associate you don't really get isolated pieces of work whether your firm operates in a team or pool system. I.e. you get put in charge of a file and you'll have to handle all aspects of it. So, save for asking another associate to take over you because you're busy (which the partner won't) you still have to do everything for a file that you're handling anyway.

Working hours suck in general in the big firms. Expect to work 12+ hour days (a 12 hour day is a good day), 6 - 7 days a week. Honestly, if your working hours are great in a big firm, you should leave the firm. You're probably not gonna get in enough billable hours to get a good bonus and/or your department's not getting any work which means you don't get any bonus anyway. And soon you're actually gonna be used to it and you'll find that your life outside the office is an abyss of emptiness and you're actually becoming resistant to sunlight muahahahahaha

Source: I'm a jaded associate

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  #1002 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2016, 09:19 PM
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It depends. I guess in a team system, the partner/associates can (at their discretion of course) choose to leave a trainee alone if he/she is already swamped. But as an associate, if multiple files that you're handling blow up at the same time you're gonna die one way or another. So, still stressful.

From my experience as an associate you don't really get isolated pieces of work whether your firm operates in a team or pool system. I.e. you get put in charge of a file and you'll have to handle all aspects of it. So, save for asking another associate to take over you because you're busy (which the partner won't) you still have to do everything for a file that you're handling anyway.

Working hours suck in general in the big firms. Expect to work 12+ hour days (a 12 hour day is a good day), 6 - 7 days a week. Honestly, if your working hours are great in a big firm, you should leave the firm. You're probably not gonna get in enough billable hours to get a good bonus and/or your department's not getting any work which means you don't get any bonus anyway. And soon you're actually gonna be used to it and you'll find that your life outside the office is an abyss of emptiness and you're actually becoming resistant to sunlight muahahahahaha

Source: I'm a jaded associate
If your hours are good in a big firm, it means you should stay (I assume). Why leave?

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  #1003 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2016, 01:19 AM
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If your hours are good in a big firm, it means you should stay (I assume). Why leave?
There are a couple of reasons, off the top of my head:

1. Lack of Billable Hours - A fellow associate and I one calculated our billing targets and factoring in our leave entitlement, it worked out to be (roughly) 10 billable hours a day, 5 days a week. Side note: billable hours are only counted when you are *actually* doing work beneficial for a client, there are many types of work that don't count as billable hours.

But okay, putting that aside, that figure is just a target, and if you meet it (bearing in mind, that's working 10 hours a day, 5 days a week), you will probably only a small bonus at the end of the year. Bearing in mind even further, the Big 4 firms frontload a huuuge amount of your bonus (5 - 6 months) so say if your firm frontloads 6 and you don't work very hard and deserve only 3 then they will take 2 months' worth of your pay back. It's brutal, but it happens.

2. Your firm/department is not doing well - Self explanatory. If you're very free, it probably means they're not getting a lot of work. Not a lot of work = pay cuts and small bonuses. I've rarely seen people who are asked to leave though (save for trainees who are not retained and lateral hire associates not staying past their probation period), but I'm guessing it's a possibility.

3. Your firm/department is overstaffed - Again, self explanatory. Too many lawyers and too little work to keep them busy = pay cuts, small bonuses, possibility of getting fired.

4. The firm is doing fine, but no partner trusts you with busy, major files which generate big money for the firm - Ditto. Add the mind-crushingly awful feeling of being seen as inferior to your fellow associates.

5. It's boring and it makes you worry if points 2/3/4 are happening - I can't stress this hard enough. Try sitting in an office having nothing much to do a day. It's terribly boring.

Also, most lawyers in big firms are also natural overachievers who want to work hard and perform well and would worry about involuntary slacking (and by slacking, I mean working <10 hours a day).

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  #1004 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2016, 03:56 AM
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There are a couple of reasons, off the top of my head:

1. Lack of Billable Hours - A fellow associate and I one calculated our billing targets and factoring in our leave entitlement, it worked out to be (roughly) 10 billable hours a day, 5 days a week. Side note: billable hours are only counted when you are *actually* doing work beneficial for a client, there are many types of work that don't count as billable hours.

But okay, putting that aside, that figure is just a target, and if you meet it (bearing in mind, that's working 10 hours a day, 5 days a week), you will probably only a small bonus at the end of the year. Bearing in mind even further, the Big 4 firms frontload a huuuge amount of your bonus (5 - 6 months) so say if your firm frontloads 6 and you don't work very hard and deserve only 3 then they will take 2 months' worth of your pay back. It's brutal, but it happens.

2. Your firm/department is not doing well - Self explanatory. If you're very free, it probably means they're not getting a lot of work. Not a lot of work = pay cuts and small bonuses. I've rarely seen people who are asked to leave though (save for trainees who are not retained and lateral hire associates not staying past their probation period), but I'm guessing it's a possibility.

3. Your firm/department is overstaffed - Again, self explanatory. Too many lawyers and too little work to keep them busy = pay cuts, small bonuses, possibility of getting fired.

4. The firm is doing fine, but no partner trusts you with busy, major files which generate big money for the firm - Ditto. Add the mind-crushingly awful feeling of being seen as inferior to your fellow associates.

5. It's boring and it makes you worry if points 2/3/4 are happening - I can't stress this hard enough. Try sitting in an office having nothing much to do a day. It's terribly boring.

Also, most lawyers in big firms are also natural overachievers who want to work hard and perform well and would worry about involuntary slacking (and by slacking, I mean working <10 hours a day).
Bro, sat night don't post on salary sg forum leh. Tell the boss and the work to **** off
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  #1005 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2016, 01:58 PM
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Thank you to poster of post #1003. Very informative. I guess it's a matter of time people feel quite jaded in the industry. What are the ways to avoid burning out?
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  #1006 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2016, 04:26 PM
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I have to agree entirely with the sharing. I always wonder why are there people who are deadbent on joining law when the industry is so bad. They must have watched too much suits or believe that there are indeed Criminal Law or Family Law practices law firms offering jobs.

I did law because i found it a great way to understand the world. I am dying to get out mind numbing practice world of billable hours now.

Oh there are people who thinks there know Singapore law but actually blabbering English or Aussie law in practice. Especially when you ask these people for some preliminary legal views without research. Seen people telling me some English cases on hearsay and therefore decides something is admissible.
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  #1007 (permalink)  
Old 10-08-2016, 01:05 AM
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It depends. I guess in a team system, the partner/associates can (at their discretion of course) choose to leave a trainee alone if he/she is already swamped. But as an associate, if multiple files that you're handling blow up at the same time you're gonna die one way or another. So, still stressful.

From my experience as an associate you don't really get isolated pieces of work whether your firm operates in a team or pool system. I.e. you get put in charge of a file and you'll have to handle all aspects of it. So, save for asking another associate to take over you because you're busy (which the partner won't) you still have to do everything for a file that you're handling anyway.

Working hours suck in general in the big firms. Expect to work 12+ hour days (a 12 hour day is a good day), 6 - 7 days a week. Honestly, if your working hours are great in a big firm, you should leave the firm. You're probably not gonna get in enough billable hours to get a good bonus and/or your department's not getting any work which means you don't get any bonus anyway. And soon you're actually gonna be used to it and you'll find that your life outside the office is an abyss of emptiness and you're actually becoming resistant to sunlight muahahahahaha

Source: I'm a jaded associate

Yes because bonus is the only think that matters in life huh? /sarcasm

Law, like certain other professions, is filled with a certain type of overachieving, kan chiong personality. These are usually the same types of people who'll think its a failure to score 98 rather than 100 in a primary school exam.

So whether its a pool or team system, these same types of personalities will drive themselves to surprising depths of self-induced stress to exceed their billable targets. Heck, they'll drive themselves crazy with stress even if they were tasked with running an ice cream stand.
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  #1008 (permalink)  
Old 10-08-2016, 02:04 AM
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Yes because bonus is the only think that matters in life huh? /sarcasm

Law, like certain other professions, is filled with a certain type of overachieving, kan chiong personality. These are usually the same types of people who'll think its a failure to score 98 rather than 100 in a primary school exam.

So whether its a pool or team system, these same types of personalities will drive themselves to surprising depths of self-induced stress to exceed their billable targets. Heck, they'll drive themselves crazy with stress even if they were tasked with running an ice cream stand.
Yes. Well to me, a self-admitted overachieving, kan chiong associate, it's important. The amount of bonus you receive is a direct indicator of your value to the firm compared to the rest of your peers.

I do want to be seen as an exceptional associate so yes, it means a lot to me. Different people do have different goals though, and I'd definitely admit that striving to be a superstar your entire career is not sustainable.
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  #1009 (permalink)  
Old 10-08-2016, 03:54 AM
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How are the law firms ranked in Sg? Is this correct?
1. Cavenagh Law
2. Wong & Leow

1. R&T
2. A&G
3. WP
4. Drew
5. Rodyk
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  #1010 (permalink)  
Old 10-08-2016, 04:28 PM
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I would't put rodyk on the same tier as the big4... especially not in terms of attractiveness to fresh grads
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