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  #16851 (permalink)  
Old 26-05-2022, 01:32 PM
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I moved from liti to corp quite early on (during TC) so not difficult to adapt.

The nature of work is quite different - far less research, more about finding the right precedent documents. The type of 'drafting' is also quite different. Both, however, require good high-level oversight as well as attention to detail.

You should always try and switch within the firm, before looking elsewhere. Due to firm politics it might not be possible, but you'll never know if you don't ask.

Corp is more generalist, while liti is specialised, so it's easier to switch from a specialised field into a general field. It's difficult to switch the other way round.

Having said that, there are far more opportunities as a corp lawyer (international firms, in house roles, and even roles outside the law). The skills you pick up as a litigator are not very transferable.

The only reasons you'd choose liti over corp is if you truly love the nature of work, or if you are gunning for equity partnership at a local/B4 firm (it's arguably easier than corp departments). Liti is also probably also more recession-proof.
Thanks for the insight. Just a follow up - any reason why one should seek internal transfer before looking else where?

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  #16852 (permalink)  
Old 26-05-2022, 04:39 PM
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If you can't see a problem with hollowing out of the existing pool of local litigators and inability to replenish the next gen of litigators because there's no market for it, then you need to come down from your ivory tower. Access to justice is very important not only to the common man, but the typical Singapore local corporate.

I have no skin in this as I'm in-house counsel and we regularly instruct a variety of firms on the corporate panel. Cost control is my priority. Most of our disputes are not bet the company type, and even if we instruct B4, we push their rates down to mid-tier levels because we're not paying SC rates to deal with a simple $2M performance bond case.
If there is "no market" for a service like you claim, or if the market refuses to pay the fees that the workers who are capable of doing those jobs wish to charge, then those workers *should* switch jobs to where their services are more highly valued. That's exactly how the free market is supposed to work, so where's the problem?

If this means that the litigation industry is hollowed out at the mid to low-end, then so be it. It simply means that litigation is an economically inefficient way of resolving low-value disputes, and it is right that society as whole should find cheaper ways to deal with such disputes (e.g. mediation, less reliance on adversarial procedures), which is exactly what the govt is trying to do.

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  #16853 (permalink)  
Old 26-05-2022, 05:34 PM
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Sorry to burst your head-in-the-clouds bubble, but the bulk of local litigation is made up of cases *other* than complex multi-million dollar disputes. Even commercial litigation. We are looking at sub-SGD $10M disputes between local corporates and SMEs, or between HNWs. That's the 'middle and working class strata' of the litigation world. If that pie shrinks to unviability, the litigation sector in Singapore is pretty much finished.

The Big4 and DSC teams have their own problems being squeezed from int'l arbi by the foreign firms.

If you can't see a problem with hollowing out of the existing pool of local litigators and inability to replenish the next gen of litigators because there's no market for it, then you need to come down from your ivory tower. Access to justice is very important not only to the common man, but the typical Singapore local corporate.

I have no skin in this as I'm in-house counsel and we regularly instruct a variety of firms on the corporate panel. Cost control is my priority. Most of our disputes are not bet the company type, and even if we instruct B4, we push their rates down to mid-tier levels because we're not paying SC rates to deal with a simple $2M performance bond case.

I work for a "shitty chinatown law firm".

Most of my clients are local SMEs who need lawyers to assist with smaller cases. I'm talking about disputes in the range of $10k to $5mil. There is a big market for lawyers who are willing to take up these cases.

These clients can't afford/don't want to pay B4 fees for non complex litigation. In the event the dispute becomes more complex than we can handle halfway through, we have contacts with lawyers in all the B4 firms whom we regularly pass cases on to.

Yes, you can't bill as much for these cases.

Yes, salaries cannot compare to B4 salaries.

But generally speaking, most of us who choose this life choose it becuase of the good hours, nice people, decent money, the ability to choose clients and also i think the ability to dictate your life as you wish - there is a certain value to being able to dress as you wish (and not be judged), to come in late (and not get **** for it), to leave office to run errands when you need to (and not have seccys bitching), to take leave/long leave when you need to (without feeling guilty) and to generally have a life outside of work.

Mind you, most of us accept that the we will never be rich or famous or have many reported cases... but i think most of us also believe that we are giving good value-for-money services to clients to who need it.

Anyways. Life.

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  #16854 (permalink)  
Old 26-05-2022, 11:52 PM
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I work for a "shitty chinatown law firm".

Most of my clients are local SMEs who need lawyers to assist with smaller cases. I'm talking about disputes in the range of $10k to $5mil. There is a big market for lawyers who are willing to take up these cases.

These clients can't afford/don't want to pay B4 fees for non complex litigation. In the event the dispute becomes more complex than we can handle halfway through, we have contacts with lawyers in all the B4 firms whom we regularly pass cases on to.

Yes, you can't bill as much for these cases.

Yes, salaries cannot compare to B4 salaries.

But generally speaking, most of us who choose this life choose it becuase of the good hours, nice people, decent money, the ability to choose clients and also i think the ability to dictate your life as you wish - there is a certain value to being able to dress as you wish (and not be judged), to come in late (and not get **** for it), to leave office to run errands when you need to (and not have seccys bitching), to take leave/long leave when you need to (without feeling guilty) and to generally have a life outside of work.

Mind you, most of us accept that the we will never be rich or famous or have many reported cases... but i think most of us also believe that we are giving good value-for-money services to clients to who need it.

Anyways. Life.
I think the above applies if you have little to no financial obligations. If you have ailing parents, or kids with special needs, for heck you will choose this cushy chinatown office job.

I work in B4 and I know some who have very heavy financial burdens - they have no choice but to stay because of the pay. Yes, the toxicity is there but this is the price they are willing to foot to get the money for their family or loved ones.

I have a colleague whose family is involved in a legal battle and they need money. You think she likes to work in B4? Puiii! But in this world, 99% of the things can be solved with money and there is no choice.

So yeah... not all B4 people are mercenary jerks. Some do it because they have no other choices, nor do they have rich fathers to provide strong financial support


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  #16855 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 01:32 AM
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Thanks for the insight. Just a follow up - any reason why one should seek internal transfer before looking else where?
Just a bunch of practical reasons:
(i) Less disruptive to your CV, which is important if you want to apply elsewhere - recruiters / firms don't like it if you move firms too frequently.
(ii) Less likely to have to deal with the silliness that sometimes comes with changing firms, e.g. probation periods, bonus getting pro-rated / docked, pay getting docked, your PQE level taking a hit etc.
(iii) Easier to adept, as you already know your colleagues, the wider firm culture, the tech and admin aspects.

No harm in seeking other firms concurrently, just that all else remaining equal I would always choose an internal transfer.
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  #16856 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 08:03 AM
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Default in house

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Those who went in house from private practice do you regret it?
yes, you should explore and look. a few years for me already and making more than would have made in practice. look hard and long for perfect role
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  #16857 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 12:37 PM
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Just a bunch of practical reasons:
(i) Less disruptive to your CV, which is important if you want to apply elsewhere - recruiters / firms don't like it if you move firms too frequently.
(ii) Less likely to have to deal with the silliness that sometimes comes with changing firms, e.g. probation periods, bonus getting pro-rated / docked, pay getting docked, your PQE level taking a hit etc.
(iii) Easier to adept, as you already know your colleagues, the wider firm culture, the tech and admin aspects.

No harm in seeking other firms concurrently, just that all else remaining equal I would always choose an internal transfer.
For internal transfers, do you apply directly to the partner of the other team or go through HR? Most HRs I know are quite bureaucratical and do not like helping in such things.
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  #16858 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 12:49 PM
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For internal transfers, do you apply directly to the partner of the other team or go through HR? Most HRs I know are quite bureaucratical and do not like helping in such things.
They don't help because they cant. Which HR will dare to step on a partner's toe by facilitating the poaching of an associate to another team?

HR are powerless in law firms. In fact, think of most law firms as a collection of fiefdoms ruled by various bigshot EPs and their right hand men/women, and youll get the organisational picture as a starting point
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  #16859 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 03:50 PM
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Sorry to burst your head-in-the-clouds bubble, but the bulk of local litigation is made up of cases *other* than complex multi-million dollar disputes. Even commercial litigation. We are looking at sub-SGD $10M disputes between local corporates and SMEs, or between HNWs. That's the 'middle and working class strata' of the litigation world. If that pie shrinks to unviability, the litigation sector in Singapore is pretty much finished.

The Big4 and DSC teams have their own problems being squeezed from int'l arbi by the foreign firms.

If you can't see a problem with hollowing out of the existing pool of local litigators and inability to replenish the next gen of litigators because there's no market for it, then you need to come down from your ivory tower. Access to justice is very important not only to the common man, but the typical Singapore local corporate.

I have no skin in this as I'm in-house counsel and we regularly instruct a variety of firms on the corporate panel. Cost control is my priority. Most of our disputes are not bet the company type, and even if we instruct B4, we push their rates down to mid-tier levels because we're not paying SC rates to deal with a simple $2M performance bond case.
Exactly. Have a candid talk to any commercial litigation partner in the B4 and they will say the future is bleak for commercial litigators when MNCs will rather pick their compatriots to represent them in international arbitration than the B4. No matter how globalised the world is, tribalism is still a thing. Those who still think there is a hot demand for "complex commercial litigation" are clearly not in the industry themselves. Or trolls.
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  #16860 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 04:02 PM
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I work for a "shitty chinatown law firm".

Most of my clients are local SMEs who need lawyers to assist with smaller cases. I'm talking about disputes in the range of $10k to $5mil. There is a big market for lawyers who are willing to take up these cases.

These clients can't afford/don't want to pay B4 fees for non complex litigation. In the event the dispute becomes more complex than we can handle halfway through, we have contacts with lawyers in all the B4 firms whom we regularly pass cases on to.

Yes, you can't bill as much for these cases.

Yes, salaries cannot compare to B4 salaries.

But generally speaking, most of us who choose this life choose it becuase of the good hours, nice people, decent money, the ability to choose clients and also i think the ability to dictate your life as you wish - there is a certain value to being able to dress as you wish (and not be judged), to come in late (and not get **** for it), to leave office to run errands when you need to (and not have seccys bitching), to take leave/long leave when you need to (without feeling guilty) and to generally have a life outside of work.

Mind you, most of us accept that the we will never be rich or famous or have many reported cases... but i think most of us also believe that we are giving good value-for-money services to clients to who need it.

Anyways. Life.
Hear hear. Legal practice is not an efficient way to be rich anyways. And famous? You aren't going to be famous just because you are an excellent commercial litigator, the masses only care about sensational criminal cases. If you really want to be famous, you should consider picking up LASCO cases and hope that your arguments will convince the judges not to sentence your client to death, then you be famous.

It is already telling when one of the youngest lawyers to be made SC has made a mid-career switch to be a JC in the Supreme Court and now a HCJ.
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