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  #1101 (permalink)  
Old 13-09-2016, 11:12 AM
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Jesus LW and Milbank pay full NY rates? That's what, 250k a year NQ? That's ****ing insane...



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  #1102 (permalink)  
Old 13-09-2016, 08:51 PM
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Jesus LW and Milbank pay full NY rates? That's what, 250k a year NQ? That's ****ing insane...
The entry scale paycheck is close to SGD250k, not USD250k. The downside is that the entry scale paycheck applies to NQs all they way up to about year 6? That means that if you make the jump over in year 6, you take a huge haircut and start at $250k - same as that lucky ass NQ who joined immediately after crossing the bar.

If you join as an NQ, lucky you. But chances are it ain't happening. As far as I know they don't take NQs.



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  #1103 (permalink)  
Old 14-09-2016, 09:44 AM
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Thanks for the last few informative posts. Very helpful to ppl like us entering the industry for the first time. Can some seniors here share how they increase their efficiency so that one doesn't have to go home at 1-2am everyday. Bcos the 1-2am life everyday and a full day in Saturday's ain't fun after a while. Gf has been complaining.

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  #1104 (permalink)  
Old 14-09-2016, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the last few informative posts. Very helpful to ppl like us entering the industry for the first time. Can some seniors here share how they increase their efficiency so that one doesn't have to go home at 1-2am everyday. Bcos the 1-2am life everyday and a full day in Saturday's ain't fun after a while. Gf has been complaining.

No amount of efficiency will help in the long term because work will eventually find its way to you. You need to be efficient and competent enough to get things done, but not too efficient that bosses keep throwing work your way. Best you can do is look busy, but you'll still need to put in the face-time.

Consider joining a smaller/mid-market firm that gives you better hours. That's the most practical way to fix it. Otherwise, long hours are the rules of the game. You could also quit, but I'm assuming that's not an option you are considering.
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  #1105 (permalink)  
Old 15-09-2016, 05:44 PM
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Heard that one or two of the Big 4 forms aren't doing very well and will be replaced by a few of the rising mid size firms in a few years. Anyone care to share how the situation is like at those Big 4 firms? (Think everyone will know which ones I'm talking about)
Heard that a certain firm in the marina bay area cant afford to pay its rents and has seen a number of high profile equity partner exits in the last year. How true is this?
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  #1106 (permalink)  
Old 15-09-2016, 11:23 PM
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Thanks once again! Very useful stuff to know in general.

Although I've never really heard of local qualified lawyers being hired by US firms. In general there aren't many US firms in Singapore at all, and next to no white shoe firms.

I know Squire Patton Boggs, OMelveny, and King & Spalding have offices here. But the vast majority seem to bypass setting up shop in Singapore entirely in favour of Hong Kong.

I don;t personally know of anyone who has been picked up by a US firm, so compensation info is naturally a black box. Vast majority of people I know who've jumped to internationals are to UK firms or alliances.
White & Case does hire locally qualified associates. In terms of compensation, about 70-90% more than the local big 4, as far as I'm aware
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  #1107 (permalink)  
Old 15-09-2016, 11:39 PM
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Just sharing some musings here. Sorry if they appear random and unsystematic.

(1) Salaries

My personal knowledge extends as far as years 1-7 in a Big4 (I left somewhere midway through that journey) and years 1-6 in the Singapore office of an MC (where I am currently working).

Big 4 (The one which takes up several floors of a building where rental was secured cheaply during a crisis. Correct as of 2016). Figures include front load, exclude measly year end bonus remaining after deducting front load.

NQ: $5.5k/m
Year 2: $6.4k/m
Year 3: $7.6k/m
Year 4 (SA1): $9k/m
Year 5 (SA2): $10.3k/m
Year 6 (SA3): $11.3k/m
Year 7 (Consideration Year): $12.5k/m

MC (Can't reveal too much about which one it is.)

NQ (Year 3 SG scale): $12k
Year 1 (SA1 SG scale): $14k
Year 2 (SA2 SG scale): $16k
Year 3 (SA3 SG scale): $18k
Year 4 (Consideration year SG scale): $20k
Increments of approx $2k/m every year until Year 8 UK scale, then stagnates until you make the move to Counsel or Junior Partner.

No idea about mid tiers and boutiques, as I've got no experience there. I hope the above helps!

(2) Decline

Someone wrote here that 1-2 of the Big 4s are in decline. That's only 25% to half true. The truth is that they are ALL in decline.

- Retention rates have fallen from almost 100% to 60-70% on average.
- One or two Big4s have made equity calls in the past two years.
- Insane downward fee pressure. IPOs (prospectus et al) are being quoted at just over $10K when the same work used to fetch easily north of $200K. Race to the bottom.
- Foreign firms have been successfully eating away a large share of the erstwhile monopolized corporate/banking/finance law pie.
- Associates leaving in droves. I was an SA at a Big4 earlier this year when I saw a mass exodus of 13 associates from a certain department on the 24th floor. Many will know which firm and which Dept I'm talking about. The NQ's, who were originally given the windowless, newly created sad rooms were all upgraded to window seats.
- Local law firms have started unofficially retrenching people. It's a dirty tactic called "counselling out" the unwanted personnel. It essentially involves placing a person into cold storage (low quality, non billable work, negligible bonuses, ostracision etc). Eventually, if all else fails, the target is told in no uncertain terms to resign. Iron rice bowl in a Big4? Urban legend. Myth. Lie.
- Local law firm partners have this delusional mantra about how the UK firms are undercutting them in order to gain market share, how this is loss-making and unsustainable and how the UK law firms will all eventually be forced to exit, and when that happens, all the greedy Singaporean associates who picked the instant gratification of higher starting paychecks will weep and regret. Having seen the insane workflow and healthy fee quotes of a MC's Singapore office, I can honestly declare that nothing could be further from the truth.

Our Big4 law firms were pretty much finished when the QFLP scheme was launched. The same thing that happened to HK Biglaw (decline of local giants caused by rise of international behemoths) is now happening in SG. I suspect the legal scene in Singapore will look very different in 20 years' time.
Just to add on, since this is obviously from the corporate side, it is the same on the disputes end for local firms. Most of the files are on a fixed fee basis or with a relatively low fee cap, not uncommon to see appeals to the court of appeal being capped at 10-20k. Aside from a certain superstar litigator, I would say 90% of the disputes teams have declined in terms of billable work. Ditto on the part on putting the "excess fat" people out to pasture.

People talk about the glut for junior lawyers, but the truth is there is always a huge amount of people leaving the big 4 from the 2/3 year onwards, usually for international law firms. None of that comes as a surprise, if the work and hours are largely the same, why would you stick with a local firm when an international law firm would easily offer you at least 50% more for compensation?
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  #1108 (permalink)  
Old 16-09-2016, 03:43 PM
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Is the decline in legal fees real? I thought so until one of my friends told me he got quoted 50k fee cap for a contested divorce... the reason? His wife is a lawyer.
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  #1109 (permalink)  
Old 16-09-2016, 03:51 PM
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Heard that a certain firm in the marina bay area cant afford to pay its rents and has seen a number of high profile equity partner exits in the last year. How true is this?
LOL? I consider 2 of the local big 4 law firms are in the marina bay side of CBD... the other 2 are closer to raffles place. Anyway, many rumours attack within the big 4 circles ... not sure whether to believe. I think the decline and thinning profit margin is real. Whether it is to the extent of not being able to pay rent in MBFC or whatever building sounds too far fetched to me.
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  #1110 (permalink)  
Old 17-09-2016, 01:07 AM
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LOL? I consider 2 of the local big 4 law firms are in the marina bay side of CBD... the other 2 are closer to raffles place. Anyway, many rumours attack within the big 4 circles ... not sure whether to believe. I think the decline and thinning profit margin is real. Whether it is to the extent of not being able to pay rent in MBFC or whatever building sounds too far fetched to me.
To be honest i think its no big secret. There's no need to be so secretive.

WongP and A&G are Marina Bay area. Drew and R&T are at Raffles Place area.

There will always be a market for Big 4 firms.

They have a goodwill and reputation in the market. they are the firms that companies will turn to when they need to complete a mega merger or fight a bet-the-company lawsuit.

despite the downward pressure in fees, these firms will endure. sure they may shed a few non-performing partners and layoff a few associates, but they will survive.

it is the midsize firms that need to be very afraid
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