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  #16861 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 04:44 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.
With the Courts aggressively pushing ADR to litigants, it will affect all levels of litigation regardless of its complexity. Your client may be a good client but they will take up ADR if they can avoid paying more legal costs. It won't be surprising if the judiciary will impose a "hard cap" on legal costs for even complex multi-million dollar disputes like what they did with NIMA/PIMA.

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  #16862 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 06:42 PM
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I laughed when I saw the small pp energy of posters here flexing on "Chinatown law firms". I left the industry after 7-8 years of practice and was not from one myself, but hey, you do you. But let us see, a SC decides to join the judiciary despite being one of the top commercial litigators in Singapore and another fiery litigating SC's law firm merged with an American multinational corporation law firm, it is safe to say that things aren't going too well for litigation of all complexities. And lest we forget, the litigators who are jumping at any opportunity to be a corporate legal counsel. But continue thinking that only Chinatown law firms are affected while others already saw the ship sinking and are taking the first lifeboat out.

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  #16863 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-2022, 09:12 PM
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I laughed when I saw the small pp energy of posters here flexing on "Chinatown law firms". I left the industry after 7-8 years of practice and was not from one myself, but hey, you do you. But let us see, a SC decides to join the judiciary despite being one of the top commercial litigators in Singapore and another fiery litigating SC's law firm merged with an American multinational corporation law firm, it is safe to say that things aren't going too well for litigation of all complexities. And lest we forget, the litigators who are jumping at any opportunity to be a corporate legal counsel. But continue thinking that only Chinatown law firms are affected while others already saw the ship sinking and are taking the first lifeboat out.
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I laughed when I saw the small pp energy of posters here flexing on "Chinatown law firms". I left the industry after 7-8 years of practice and was not from one myself, but hey, you do you. But let us see, a SC decides to join the judiciary despite being one of the top commercial litigators in Singapore and another fiery litigating SC's law firm merged with an American multinational corporation law firm, it is safe to say that things aren't going too well for litigation of all complexities. And lest we forget, the litigators who are jumping at any opportunity to be a corporate legal counsel. But continue thinking that only Chinatown law firms are affected while others already saw the ship sinking and are taking the first lifeboat out.
Lol, I love it when people don't know what they are talking about but act like they do (not only this poster but the preceding posters talking about litigation "dying" as well). Litigation is an evergreen industry in SG. Both the amount of cases and the average quantum involved in SG has been trending upwards for quite some time, so I'm not sure what you mean. Yes, there's been an upwards tick towards arbitration, but you do realise that the top liti teams usually also do arbitration right? Or at least have another team doing arbitration that they push the work to.

In terms of the two SCs you mentioned.... You do realise that SCs joining the Judiciary is almost like a rite of passage? They have to do it so that they can call in favours in the future, not to mention build their resume for Tribunal work in arbitration. Most SCs dun stay in the judiciary longer than the fixed two-year term for Judicial Commissioners (specifically because they earn too much in private practice to continue staying). They aren't doing Judiciary work because they can't make a living in private practice (as you are implying).

Additionally, merging with large law firms is just good marketing, and also highlights that the SC's firm is profitable enough to bring him in as a global partner.

Also, you speak of litigators jumping to go in-house as though it proves anything, when it's just a general trend in every practice area. Most lawyers want to have work-life balance which is easier to find as in-house Counsel (not because they earn less or can't find work).

Are you an ex-litigator who couldn't cut it, so you now feel the need to act like you left because the industry was dying?

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  #16864 (permalink)  
Old 28-05-2022, 11:59 AM
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Additionally, merging with large law firms is just good marketing, and also highlights that the SC's firm is profitable enough to bring him in as a global partner.
Who is the SC that joined the US firm?
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  #16865 (permalink)  
Old 28-05-2022, 12:29 PM
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I think someone posted before that legal academia requires so much more sacrifice than just going straight into practice.

For this, itís very easy to assess.
If youíre from branded universities, like your Oxbridge and Harvard, your trajectory in academia will be much more luminous than say someone with just local degrees.

If you are from local universities might be better to go straight into practice.

Academia is reserved for the very top but the very top inside also have no sure or guaranteed path of success. Now also need PhD. Not like 20-30 years ago a branded masters can get you quite far.


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  #16866 (permalink)  
Old 28-05-2022, 12:39 PM
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Any opinions on PSC (Legal), studying locally, versus commercial practice in a law firm? Which should I take up? In terms of remuneration, working hours, work life balance etc.

Any idea if Legal Service would be upping their salaries to compete with the law firms?
If PSC (Legal) scholarship does not allow you to go oxbridge, i think forget it. Means when you join legal service, youíll fight with ur PSC oxbridge peers. Wonít be a good fight
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  #16867 (permalink)  
Old 28-05-2022, 01:20 PM
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If PSC (Legal) scholarship does not allow you to go oxbridge, i think forget it. Means when you join legal service, youíll fight with ur PSC oxbridge peers. Wonít be a good fight
I guess the draw for OP is a guaranteed job in the SLS after graduation and no need to compete for a TC. Of course whether that's a good career move or not is up for debate.
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  #16868 (permalink)  
Old 28-05-2022, 01:52 PM
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Any opinions on PSC (Legal), studying locally, versus commercial practice in a law firm? Which should I take up? In terms of remuneration, working hours, work life balance etc.

Any idea if Legal Service would be upping their salaries to compete with the law firms?
If money is what you want then you should not apply PSC. Get into a top UK law school and work in a MC firm in London thereafter.

Another factor that should be considered is your interests in public law v corporate law/commercial litigation. Applying the PSC Scholarship means you will be bonded to do the former for a few years.


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  #16869 (permalink)  
Old 28-05-2022, 02:20 PM
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Lol, I love it when people don't know what they are talking about but act like they do (not only this poster but the preceding posters talking about litigation "dying" as well). Litigation is an evergreen industry in SG. Both the amount of cases and the average quantum involved in SG has been trending upwards for quite some time, so I'm not sure what you mean. Yes, there's been an upwards tick towards arbitration, but you do realise that the top liti teams usually also do arbitration right? Or at least have another team doing arbitration that they push the work to.

In terms of the two SCs you mentioned.... You do realise that SCs joining the Judiciary is almost like a rite of passage? They have to do it so that they can call in favours in the future, not to mention build their resume for Tribunal work in arbitration. Most SCs dun stay in the judiciary longer than the fixed two-year term for Judicial Commissioners (specifically because they earn too much in private practice to continue staying). They aren't doing Judiciary work because they can't make a living in private practice (as you are implying).

Additionally, merging with large law firms is just good marketing, and also highlights that the SC's firm is profitable enough to bring him in as a global partner.

Also, you speak of litigators jumping to go in-house as though it proves anything, when it's just a general trend in every practice area. Most lawyers want to have work-life balance which is easier to find as in-house Counsel (not because they earn less or can't find work).

Are you an ex-litigator who couldn't cut it, so you now feel the need to act like you left because the industry was dying?
Couple of misconceptions here:

Most of the SCs who join the judiciary eventually stay there for years, if not until they retire. The ones who have left after a JC term in recent years were the non-liti folks (eg Edmund Leow, Lee Kim Shin). So no, joining the courts is not about building the CV for tribunal work or to call in favours. It's usually a one-way street.

There has also been some talk in the market that some of the SCs who had recently joined the Courts did so because their books of business were waning, but this is purely hearsay.

It is true that there will always be demand for litigation, and there will always be the top end of the market to grab for the top tier folks. But there are a few features of being a disputes lawyer that make it "bo hua" for most people:

1. Mid to high level disputes work is very time consuming and mentally taxing, while at the same time requiring alot of detailed work and project management as well. Unlike in corp or transactional practice areas, you can't substantially rely on precedents, and you often have to relearn everything for every file. While corp life is not a bed of roses as well, and comparing on an apples to apples basis, life as a disputes lawyer is generally speaking, not as good, especially when you take into account the contentious/argumentative nature of the work. The work done for a $10m dispute can arguably even be more intensive than a $100m transaction because of the contentious nature of disputes.

2. Disputes work, at least at the higher end, is quite credentialist, more so than in non-contentious practices. Your lack of a FCH or the fact you are from a "lesser" uni will work against you more than in the non-contentious practices.

3. At the assoc level, your ability to move into high paying intl firms is very much less than your corp peers. See recent years where all of the b4 corp depts have been depleted by intl firms - not so for disputes. You are also arguably at a disadvantage for most of the best inhouse roles as well, because these typically prefer corp or reg experience.

4. At the partner level, previous posters have highlighted the squeeze in fees at the lower to mid end work, as well as the fact that you are being squeezed by intl firms at the higher end for arb work. Also, if you are keen on higher end work, disputes is a "superstar" centric practice area, i.e. all the big work naturally gravitates to the SCs, so as a junior partner in a bigger firm, it may be very difficult to build a good book or even be first chair, especially as most of the SCs will be sticking around for a long time. I think for corp this is less of an issue, as there is less pressure to be the "lead" counsel on transactions.
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  #16870 (permalink)  
Old 28-05-2022, 03:09 PM
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I think someone posted before that legal academia requires so much more sacrifice than just going straight into practice.

For this, itís very easy to assess.
If youíre from branded universities, like your Oxbridge and Harvard, your trajectory in academia will be much more luminous than say someone with just local degrees.

If you are from local universities might be better to go straight into practice.

Academia is reserved for the very top but the very top inside also have no sure or guaranteed path of success. Now also need PhD. Not like 20-30 years ago a branded masters can get you quite far.
ďlegal academia requires so much more sacrifice than just going straight into practice.Ē

Hahahhahahahahahha. Thatís all I need to say in response to the absurd suggestion.
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