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  #1851 (permalink)  
Old 18-11-2017, 09:53 PM
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A lot of law students I know are very hung up over the firm they can secure a TC with, retention prospects, etc. I think the anxiety over this is very misguided.

Firstly, it doesnít matter which firm you come from eventually. Some firms pay more, some pay less. The reason you turn up at work every morning (9am) is because you need a job to keep yourself going (paying mortgage, bills, etc). The fact that most of you will start off on a minimum salary of $4k means you are better off than most graduates in other fields. Please disregard the investment bankers (they are a special breed simply because of the hours they are willing to work / have no choice but to work). Furthermore IBs are only open to the top graduates in business school so again itís not a fair comparison.

A lot of law graduates seem very fixated on Bakers, CC and big four. There is absolutely no reason why people should analyze this in terms of a strict binary, i.e. you are successful as a lawyer if you come from these firms. People in law should instead analyze it in terms of where the broad majority of the practicing lawyers are at and there are successful lawyers even in the smaller firms, earning a decent salary and retaining the prestige/status of a lawyer.

Frankly, whether you make the extra $500 to $1k being in a big four or a medium to large firm has no bearing to your future in the long run. The simple economic reason is that when you earn more you tend to splurge more and this is proven. At the end of the day, you are in a legal job firstly because you need money to survive, secondly, you need a job to avoid mental and physical stagnation, thirdly, you have to do something so why not put your law degree to good use and be a lawyer. Everyone aspires to be a Razer boss, or perhaps professor in law, or maybe even the Chief Justice. These are lofty goals and ambitions and it is good to have them but bear in mind that over 95% of people who hold a law degree and are Singapore qualified lawyers do not reach such a pinnacle.

Finally, stop being so hung up over salary, retention prospects, and things like working hours or conditions. Eventually if you do something to a point youíre exhausted, naturally your body will tell you when you should quit.

Everyone holds a law job as an in-house counsel or a lawyer because they need money. Thatís a fact. As long as you earn a decent amount, whether 4K or 7k, spend within your means and try to find contentment, you will do well in life. Comparing yourself to JLCs, Oxbridge or your peers who got the first class but you didnít, will not change anything. Just live your life happily and know that when you qualify as a lawyer (whether you practice for 20 years or quit on day 1), it doesnít matter at all in the long run. You will eventually get married, have other challenges of raising your children, and other issues to worry about. Retention prospects, training contracts will seem all so small and insignificant. But at the very least you can be proud that you are a qualified lawyer and it is a prestigious profession (whether you choose to practice or not).
Thanks for your thought on this. It's certainly encouraging and practical, especially when I'm preparing for part b exams now and have not found a job yet (tc is done though).

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  #1852 (permalink)  
Old 18-11-2017, 11:15 PM
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you cannot blame ya graduates for feeling this way
we entered law school with the end in mind to make money when we graduate

then suddenly market is so bad
mamy of my friends and I are from well to do families
how you expect us to face prospects of low salary plus long hours
or even no job prospects at all

of course when we grad and started working we will want to earn as much money as possible

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  #1853 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2017, 12:06 AM
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what are prospects for jumping ship? am 1 - 3 yr pqe, big4

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  #1854 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2017, 12:22 AM
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how to jump ship? I mid sized firm trainee. may not get retained. possible to jump into big 4 and international firms?
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  #1855 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2017, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
you cannot blame ya graduates for feeling this way
we entered law school with the end in mind to make money when we graduate

then suddenly market is so bad
mamy of my friends and I are from well to do families
how you expect us to face prospects of low salary plus long hours
or even no job prospects at all

of course when we grad and started working we will want to earn as much money as possible
and society is obliged to ensure you continue to maintain your current wealth and privilege solely deriving from your parental background because...?

I hope you're not a lawyer with your atrocious grammar and entitled mindset. GTFO


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  #1856 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2017, 01:03 AM
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too bad
I am going to be a lawyer since my parents spent so much money to send me overseas
wake up ok
you are just accepting long hours and low pay because you have no options elsewhere
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  #1857 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2017, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
A lot of law students I know are very hung up over the firm they can secure a TC with, retention prospects, etc. I think the anxiety over this is very misguided.

Firstly, it doesnít matter which firm you come from eventually. Some firms pay more, some pay less. The reason you turn up at work every morning (9am) is because you need a job to keep yourself going (paying mortgage, bills, etc). The fact that most of you will start off on a minimum salary of $4k means you are better off than most graduates in other fields. Please disregard the investment bankers (they are a special breed simply because of the hours they are willing to work / have no choice but to work). Furthermore IBs are only open to the top graduates in business school so again itís not a fair comparison.

A lot of law graduates seem very fixated on Bakers, CC and big four. There is absolutely no reason why people should analyze this in terms of a strict binary, i.e. you are successful as a lawyer if you come from these firms. People in law should instead analyze it in terms of where the broad majority of the practicing lawyers are at and there are successful lawyers even in the smaller firms, earning a decent salary and retaining the prestige/status of a lawyer.

Frankly, whether you make the extra $500 to $1k being in a big four or a medium to large firm has no bearing to your future in the long run. The simple economic reason is that when you earn more you tend to splurge more and this is proven. At the end of the day, you are in a legal job firstly because you need money to survive, secondly, you need a job to avoid mental and physical stagnation, thirdly, you have to do something so why not put your law degree to good use and be a lawyer. Everyone aspires to be a Razer boss, or perhaps professor in law, or maybe even the Chief Justice. These are lofty goals and ambitions and it is good to have them but bear in mind that over 95% of people who hold a law degree and are Singapore qualified lawyers do not reach such a pinnacle.

Finally, stop being so hung up over salary, retention prospects, and things like working hours or conditions. Eventually if you do something to a point youíre exhausted, naturally your body will tell you when you should quit.

Everyone holds a law job as an in-house counsel or a lawyer because they need money. Thatís a fact. As long as you earn a decent amount, whether 4K or 7k, spend within your means and try to find contentment, you will do well in life. Comparing yourself to JLCs, Oxbridge or your peers who got the first class but you didnít, will not change anything. Just live your life happily and know that when you qualify as a lawyer (whether you practice for 20 years or quit on day 1), it doesnít matter at all in the long run. You will eventually get married, have other challenges of raising your children, and other issues to worry about. Retention prospects, training contracts will seem all so small and insignificant. But at the very least you can be proud that you are a qualified lawyer and it is a prestigious profession (whether you choose to practice or not).
lets get back to the point - agree with this.
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  #1858 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2017, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
too bad
I am going to be a lawyer since my parents spent so much money to send me overseas
wake up ok
you are just accepting long hours and low pay because you have no options elsewhere
LOL, I already have a full-time job with a top firm. I studied in the UK as well, yet I would never dream of spewing your degenerate drivel in a forum, let alone in real life. Go back to EDMW you uneducated, classless cow. There's a reason you're posting on this thread for advice and whining about your situation rather than sitting on the other side and reading this thread for the fun of it.
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  #1859 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2017, 09:34 AM
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People who enter into the legal profession for money are doing it for the wrong reasons.

Corp law = highly paid scribe. Senior corp associates at top US law firms complain about this point all the time. Only starts to get interesting when you've ascended the ranks to be a 'trusted advisor' who has some weight in business transactions i.e Marty Lipton. However, one wonders if the time and stress spent scaling the greasy biglaw hierarchy could have been better spent in another industry....

Contentious = honestly not too bad if you truly enjoy the adversarial court process, destroying witnesses with leading qns/crafting air-tight legal arguments. However, this requires serious legal acumen and brainpower - if you're not Oxbridge starred first material/NUS multiple award winner, you aren't going to go very far.

As some posters have alluded to, the commercial practice of law is essentially a derivative of volume and value of transactional work. NY is the epi-center of high-finance and where all the profitable work originates.

0.1% of 100bn M&A deal value = 100m in legal fees. ~200+ multi-billion dollar deals in US yearly.
1% of Jumbo SGX IPO 100m = ... 1m in deal fees. ~5 high profile deals in SG yearly.

Guys, simple economics - you are not entitled to high salaries in SG legal industry. Sure, deals are more complex in US and more legal issues, but there's simply not enough demand for premium legal advice in SEA region. Work with monkeys, get peanut pay.

Viewed from this lens, our SG 'Big 4's are simply local counsel to US PE drypowder etc, with 0 pricing power because they do not do any high value work - nor are competitive dynamics favourable with a supply glut of lawyers.

So then, why should people go into law? I can think of a few good reasons:

1. Like to argue and win - litigation is a zero sum game, people who have a strong winner mentality and verbiage skills do well.

2. OCD and cares about administrative minutae which majority of populace DGAF - this is genuinely value accretive because the biz folks hate reading dense language

3. Genuinely interested in pushing the boundaries of legal knowledge via academic research - as long as you're genuinely passionate and have a sharp mind, this is valuable

Bad reasons to go into law (which seem reasonable but upon further analysis falls apart)

1. safe and 'low risk' career choice - which is riskier? going into an low-growth industry (less than GDP ~1%) with worsening competitive dynamics (entry of foreign law firms) firmly in the employer's camp with pyramid-like org structures with high attrition rates? VS working in FDLP/MA programs at bluechip corps in FMCG/big tech/industrials etc....

2. intellectual - just because something is hard to understand (legal jargon and reasoning) does not necessarily make it intellectual.

3. money - headline salary numbers look good, but viewed on other metrics (return on time spent, stress levels, admin nature of work make for **** job satisfication), economics only work out for top 0.1% in profession.
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  #1860 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2017, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
People who enter into the legal profession for money are doing it for the wrong reasons.

Corp law = highly paid scribe. Senior corp associates at top US law firms complain about this point all the time. Only starts to get interesting when you've ascended the ranks to be a 'trusted advisor' who has some weight in business transactions i.e Marty Lipton. However, one wonders if the time and stress spent scaling the greasy biglaw hierarchy could have been better spent in another industry....

Contentious = honestly not too bad if you truly enjoy the adversarial court process, destroying witnesses with leading qns/crafting air-tight legal arguments. However, this requires serious legal acumen and brainpower - if you're not Oxbridge starred first material/NUS multiple award winner, you aren't going to go very far.

As some posters have alluded to, the commercial practice of law is essentially a derivative of volume and value of transactional work. NY is the epi-center of high-finance and where all the profitable work originates.

0.1% of 100bn M&A deal value = 100m in legal fees. ~200+ multi-billion dollar deals in US yearly.
1% of Jumbo SGX IPO 100m = ... 1m in deal fees. ~5 high profile deals in SG yearly.

Guys, simple economics - you are not entitled to high salaries in SG legal industry. Sure, deals are more complex in US and more legal issues, but there's simply not enough demand for premium legal advice in SEA region. Work with monkeys, get peanut pay.

Viewed from this lens, our SG 'Big 4's are simply local counsel to US PE drypowder etc, with 0 pricing power because they do not do any high value work - nor are competitive dynamics favourable with a supply glut of lawyers.

So then, why should people go into law? I can think of a few good reasons:

1. Like to argue and win - litigation is a zero sum game, people who have a strong winner mentality and verbiage skills do well.

2. OCD and cares about administrative minutae which majority of populace DGAF - this is genuinely value accretive because the biz folks hate reading dense language

3. Genuinely interested in pushing the boundaries of legal knowledge via academic research - as long as you're genuinely passionate and have a sharp mind, this is valuable

Bad reasons to go into law (which seem reasonable but upon further analysis falls apart)

1. safe and 'low risk' career choice - which is riskier? going into an low-growth industry (less than GDP ~1%) with worsening competitive dynamics (entry of foreign law firms) firmly in the employer's camp with pyramid-like org structures with high attrition rates? VS working in FDLP/MA programs at bluechip corps in FMCG/big tech/industrials etc....

2. intellectual - just because something is hard to understand (legal jargon and reasoning) does not necessarily make it intellectual.

3. money - headline salary numbers look good, but viewed on other metrics (return on time spent, stress levels, admin nature of work make for **** job satisfication), economics only work out for top 0.1% in profession.
Can confirm on your point on counsel dynamics in M&A. I work in an international bank advising on M&A and Big 4(D&N, WongP, R&T, A&G) Lawyers are ONLY retained as local counsel on deals, and typically only when either the sell or buy side is HQed in Singapore. In my time here I have not seen any of the local Big 4 being retained as international lead counsel on any significant cross border deals. There might be one or two small sub-200mn deals where there is an exception but by and large my bosses and our clients prefer the Freshfields, A&O or linklaters guys to take point on the most complicated transaction negotiations.

With this by no means am I implying that Big 4 lawyers are subpar, but the trend is perhaps more a reflection of the truly international capabilities and slick navigation of complex issues that commonly arise in cross border transactions that the Magic Circle offer a lot more confidence in. In fact, most of the MC firms frequently send their antitrust and regulatory control teams down to our office to train our bankers on regional developments and key authorities (esp with the uncertainty of Mofcom). I remember always being impressed (and still am) by how they seemingly effortlessly have a grip of the broader global regulatory environment yet still wielding an in depth understanding of technicalities at the country level.
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