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  #191 (permalink)  
Old 30-05-2014, 02:23 AM
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Does anyone know if it is possible for a lawyer with 2 years work experience in India to get a job in Singapore?
May be able to be registered as a foreign lawyer if you could find any law firm willing to hire you to as legal counsel on indian law (usually commercial/financial related).

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  #192 (permalink)  
Old 30-05-2014, 02:29 AM
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Its from India unfortunately. So what else can I do?
I don't think I would even be eligible for the Singapore or the British certification as I do not have the requisite 3 years experience.
://.mlaw.gov.sg/content/minlaw/en/practising-as-a-lawyer/admission/alt.html

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  #193 (permalink)  
Old 30-05-2014, 06:39 PM
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It is not unheard of to practise as a foreign associate but in general I think there aren't too many firms who are ready to employ a foreign associate when there is a large pool (relatively speaking) of Singapore-qualified lawyers to pick and choose from.

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  #194 (permalink)  
Old 29-07-2014, 02:53 PM
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Hi, I'm 19 in ite, can I still be a lawyer?
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  #195 (permalink)  
Old 29-07-2014, 08:21 PM
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Hi, I'm 19 in ite, can I still be a lawyer?
Sure, why not.
2 routes
Take O level -> Take A Level -> Local Law degree / approved overseas law degree
Take O level -> TP Law Diploma -> approved overseas law degree / Local law degree

they are by no mean consecutive, if you have no fundings, you may have to work inbetween. Best to work for law firms, minlaw, courts, agc.
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  #196 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2014, 01:02 AM
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Frankly, law is not for everyone. As a prerequisite, one must have the tenacity and interest to last in this line.

Fresh graduate starting at any of the local big 4 (A&G, R&T. WongP and D&N) should be looking to get about 6K monthly. Yearly increments should amount to about 12k i.e. increment of 1k/month right until junior partner level where the next bump occurs. I believe this has been the case since July 2013. The catch is, this amount often includes a front-loaded component of the year end discretionary bonus, which would effectively dwindle the bonus amount received in real terms. It is not uncommon to hear of complains during year end that a 3 to 4 month bonus effective gets reduced to less than a month in real terms due to front loading. You could argue that a Singapore law firm provides firm grounding in local law and hence you are 'paying' for your education vis-a-vis a foreign firm.

If you're one of the luckier SG qualified lawyers starting at any of the QFLPs (i.e. one of the UK or US firms awarded a qualifying foreign law practice license), you could be starting anywhere from 130k to 140K per annum. That works out to about 10k to 11k monthly, excluding bonus. Yearly increments should be about 20k on average i.e. about 1.6k/month. Of late, QFLPs have started offering training contracts directly and may become serious competitors for graduates right out of school with any of the local big 4. We are in the midst of re-shaping the legal employment sector here. There are however, usually less Singapore qualified lawyers and the stress at some of the QFLPs could be tremendous, given that less mentoring may occur. Giving a few years ahead though, one could speculate that the QFLPs may have built up for themselves a critical mass of SG qualified lawyers to rival the mentoring at local law firms. This remains to be seen admittedly.

That much being said, no amount of money can keep you in law unless you have as mentioned, the tenacity or interest. It is telling that the profession has one of the highest attrition rate around.
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  #197 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2014, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Frankly, law is not for everyone. As a prerequisite, one must have the tenacity and interest to last in this line.

Fresh graduate starting at any of the local big 4 (A&G, R&T. WongP and D&N) should be looking to get about 6K monthly. Yearly increments should amount to about 12k i.e. increment of 1k/month right until junior partner level where the next bump occurs. I believe this has been the case since July 2013. The catch is, this amount often includes a front-loaded component of the year end discretionary bonus, which would effectively dwindle the bonus amount received in real terms. It is not uncommon to hear of complains during year end that a 3 to 4 month bonus effective gets reduced to less than a month in real terms due to front loading. You could argue that a Singapore law firm provides firm grounding in local law and hence you are 'paying' for your education vis-a-vis a foreign firm.

If you're one of the luckier SG qualified lawyers starting at any of the QFLPs (i.e. one of the UK or US firms awarded a qualifying foreign law practice license), you could be starting anywhere from 130k to 140K per annum. That works out to about 10k to 11k monthly, excluding bonus. Yearly increments should be about 20k on average i.e. about 1.6k/month. Of late, QFLPs have started offering training contracts directly and may become serious competitors for graduates right out of school with any of the local big 4. We are in the midst of re-shaping the legal employment sector here. There are however, usually less Singapore qualified lawyers and the stress at some of the QFLPs could be tremendous, given that less mentoring may occur. Giving a few years ahead though, one could speculate that the QFLPs may have built up for themselves a critical mass of SG qualified lawyers to rival the mentoring at local law firms. This remains to be seen admittedly.

That much being said, no amount of money can keep you in law unless you have as mentioned, the tenacity or interest. It is telling that the profession has one of the highest attrition rate around.
I'm a 3rd year PQE in a Big 4 law firm. I'll be hitting Senior Associate within the next 3 months. I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify the salary structure within local firms. Here goes:

(1) Salary Culture Whilst local firms tend to set a low basic monthly salary, the annual remuneration is by no means unattractive. The annual remuneration mechanism is a very, very bonus-centric one, which involves a bonus component which pushes up the base wage by a minimum of 50%. A minimum 6 month bonus is given to flat-out average performers. Better performers typically get 7-8 months, while star performers (very rare) may get up to 9 or more. Anything less than a 6 month bonus is typically the firm’s signal telling an associate to leave.

In order to bring monthly take-home paychecks more in line with those offered by offshore firms, part of the 6 month bonus is set aside, divided by 12 and "front-loaded" into monthly paychecks. These are set out below in Paragraph (3).

The easiest way to calculate your annual pay is to take the following formula: (12 + no. of months bonus) * Basic Salary. Typical annual packages based on a ballpark average performance are set out below in Paragrapsh (3).

(2) Basic Salary schedule for the first 4.5 years:
Year 1 (NQ, 1st 5 months) - $4,000
Year 2 - $5,000
Year 3 - $6,000
Year 4 (SA1) - $7,200
Year 5 (SA2) - $8,500

(3) Take-home Salary schedule for the first 4.5 years (pre-CPF):
Year 1 (NQ, 1st 5 months) - $5,800
Year 2 - $6,800
Year 3 - $7,800
Year 4 (SA1) - $9,000
Year 5 (SA2) - $10,500

(4) Aggregate Annual Salary schedule (based on 6-8 months bonus, ie 18-20 months basic salary)
Year 1 - $30,000 over 5 mths.
Year 2 - $90,000 to $100,000
Year 3 - $108,000 to $120,000
Year 4 - $129,600 to $144,000
Year 5 - $153,000 to $170,000

It is thus clear that the yearly increment in annual pay is not $12,000. Since local firms pay typically 18-20 months of the basic wage within a year, the true average annual increment ranges from $18,000 (years 1-3) to $24,000 (year 4-5 increase), often outstripping the annual increment offered by offshore firms. As a result, the income gap between a Big 4 associate and ann offshore associate shrinks every year, and by the time a local Big 4 associate hits Year 5, his annual pay really isn't too far below what his peers in the offshore firms are taking. Furthermore, the move to offshore firms starts looking less and less attractive, given the better prospects of making partner within the next 3 years.

Final Note: These figures exclude the monthly S$650 employer CPF contribution as these are useless funds that go into your Medisave and Special Account. They can't be used to pay for housing (or anything for that matter), and in most cases, you will only smell these funds when you're way too close to your deathbed... Nevertheless if you wish to include this, you can add about $12,000 to each of the annual income figures stated above.

Last edited by skydiver; 07-08-2014 at 05:13 PM.
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  #198 (permalink)  
Old 10-08-2014, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
I'm a 3rd year PQE in a Big 4 law firm. I'll be hitting Senior Associate within the next 3 months. I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify the salary structure within local firms. Here goes:

(1) Salary Culture Whilst local firms tend to set a low basic monthly salary, the annual remuneration is by no means unattractive. The annual remuneration mechanism is a very, very bonus-centric one, which involves a bonus component which pushes up the base wage by a minimum of 50%. A minimum 6 month bonus is given to flat-out average performers. Better performers typically get 7-8 months, while star performers (very rare) may get up to 9 or more. Anything less than a 6 month bonus is typically the firmís signal telling an associate to leave.

In order to bring monthly take-home paychecks more in line with those offered by offshore firms, part of the 6 month bonus is set aside, divided by 12 and "front-loaded" into monthly paychecks. These are set out below in Paragraph (3).

The easiest way to calculate your annual pay is to take the following formula: (12 + no. of months bonus) * Basic Salary. Typical annual packages based on a ballpark average performance are set out below in Paragrapsh (3).

(2) Basic Salary schedule for the first 4.5 years:
Year 1 (NQ, 1st 5 months) - $4,000
Year 2 - $5,000
Year 3 - $6,000
Year 4 (SA1) - $7,200
Year 5 (SA2) - $8,500

(3) Take-home Salary schedule for the first 4.5 years (pre-CPF):
Year 1 (NQ, 1st 5 months) - $5,800
Year 2 - $6,800
Year 3 - $7,800
Year 4 (SA1) - $9,000
Year 5 (SA2) - $10,500

(4) Aggregate Annual Salary schedule (based on 6-8 months bonus, ie 18-20 months basic salary)
Year 1 - $30,000 over 5 mths.
Year 2 - $90,000 to $100,000
Year 3 - $108,000 to $120,000
Year 4 - $129,600 to $144,000
Year 5 - $153,000 to $170,000

It is thus clear that the yearly increment in annual pay is not $12,000. Since local firms pay typically 18-20 months of the basic wage within a year, the true average annual increment ranges from $18,000 (years 1-3) to $24,000 (year 4-5 increase), often outstripping the annual increment offered by offshore firms. As a result, the income gap between a Big 4 associate and ann offshore associate shrinks every year, and by the time a local Big 4 associate hits Year 5, his annual pay really isn't too far below what his peers in the offshore firms are taking. Furthermore, the move to offshore firms starts looking less and less attractive, given the better prospects of making partner within the next 3 years.

Final Note: These figures exclude the monthly S$650 employer CPF contribution as these are useless funds that go into your Medisave and Special Account. They can't be used to pay for housing (or anything for that matter), and in most cases, you will only smell these funds when you're way too close to your deathbed... Nevertheless if you wish to include this, you can add about $12,000 to each of the annual income figures stated above.
Is this A&G's pay structure?

A 3rd year in offshore terms should equate to around NQ (2 years training contract).

Estimates for offshore associates in brackets:-

(4) Aggregate Annual Salary schedule (based on 6-8 months bonus, ie 18-20 months basic salary)
Year 1 - $30,000 over 5 mths.
Year 2 - $90,000 to $100,000
Year 3 - $108,000 to $120,000 [vs NQ 135,000 to 140,000 excluding bonus]
Year 4 - $129,600 to $144,000 [vs Y1 155,000 excluding bonus]
Year 5 - $153,000 to $170,000 [vs Y2 175,000 excluding bonus]

Bonuses for offshore firms should range from 2 to 3 months.

Year 3 - 22,500 to 33,750
Year 4 - 25,800 to 38,750
Year 5 - 29,100 to 43,750

What's nice in offshore firms is that there isn't the concept of front loading. A clawback may happen if one didn't work the entire year and left a big 4. This is because the front loaded component is also technically part of one's bonus but advanced in monthly terms to bump up one's take home salary. If one left before bonus was declared by year end, one technically ain't entitled to this front loaded component. It becomes naturally painful to leave late into the work year.

Depending on how one looks at it, one may say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The idea of a basic salary supplemented by front loaded bonus and year end bonus, may not appeal to everyone. After all, bonus is discretionary and it would be clearer to compute and compare basic salary excluding bonus.

Remuneration aside, it probably still is easier to make partner in a local firm though. And culturally, local colleagues would be of similar minds. Whether an offshore firm is suitable or not, is also a matter of being the right fit and having the right character.

Also interestingly, of recent, some local firms appear to be getting top heavy and have faced an exodus of young associates or SAs. As part of this trend, some offshore firms are getting localised in turn. Maybe the good old days of guaranteed partnership after working a fixed number of years in a local firm are over? It remains to be seen. What is sure is the legal arena is changing, and it would probably be quite interesting in the next decade.

Young lawyers of today are probably quite lucky too - they have more options today.
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  #199 (permalink)  
Old 11-08-2014, 01:25 PM
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caveat: not all the big 4 firms follow that payscale

also, if you start looking just outside of the big 4, you'll notice a drop-off in total comp
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  #200 (permalink)  
Old 12-08-2014, 06:02 PM
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As part of my salary confidentiality obligations, I can't confirm the identity of the Big4 firm referred to in my post. However, from casual chats with my peers, it appears that the Big4 pay structures tend to be largely similar, with just some subtle differences (some pay out the remaining annual bonus as a lump sum in December, while some (unconscionably) withhold half of the end year bonus till March of the following year. It does however appear that 18 months annual remuneration is the norm for average performers across the board in the Big4s.

Well, the Big4s are pretty cunning in the way they've structured their annual remuneration structure. It makes any decision to leave very, very painful. And I completely agree that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Even though the difference in annual total remuneration may not as wide as commonly imagined, the difference in terms of utility is indeed very substantial (when you factor in the "penalties" for leaving, the lack of mobility and a relatively leaner bank account until December). It is a clever ploy designed to retain manpower without having to pay nearly as much as the foreign firms.

And I can pretty much confirm that where I work, the culture of serving 7 years and being automatically made-up is gone. No more guaranteed partnership. The glory days are over. In that sense, perhaps younger lawyers in the Big4s aren't really as lucky as their predecessors - no more free lunch.
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