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  #3771 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2018, 01:30 AM
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Forget London - our arena is SG since we are debating about the hirability of local vs UK grads in SG. Obviously if you look at London offices theyíre going to be dominated by local grads.

In SG international offices, the local Singaporean population in MCs and the white shoes firms tend to be NUS dominated. Take a look at CC and ask the local assocs where they studied. Youíll find almost all of them came from NUS. This is a function of the MCs growing their workforce by poaching Big 4 associates, who tend to be local grads, and MC associates being poached by white shoes.

The UK grads in MCs tend to be white imports from the UK, whoíve decided to try experience life in the Far East, and spend their weekends travelling and exploring exotic Asia.
Why so few SMU grads in MCs and white shoes vs NUS grads?

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  #3772 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2018, 03:01 AM
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You are ignoring the fact that plenty of singaporean UK grads get hired into the London offices every year, something which SG grads do not have the opportunity to do. This is a significantly different (and imo far superior) career path compared to going back to work in SG.

On that basis alone, it is worth mentioning in response to the "survival bias" comment. Point being - the best of the best don't even go back to SG, they stay in London. Hence, when you compare local grads with UK grads in SG, you are comparing the best of locals with the more mediocre of UK.
I suggest you read the poster's comment more carefully - he mentioned survival bias in reference to the person who said he was working alongside UK graduates in an international firm. I consider it a fair assumption that the calibre of people who make it to international firms are largely similar regardless of location. While it is true most of the best UK graduates start their traineeship in a London firm, that does not preclude them from working in the firm's Singapore office down the line. (And even then international firms could include white shoe firms).

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  #3773 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2018, 04:24 AM
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I suggest you read the poster's comment more carefully - he mentioned survival bias in reference to the person who said he was working alongside UK graduates in an international firm. I consider it a fair assumption that the calibre of people who make it to international firms are largely similar regardless of location. While it is true most of the best UK graduates start their traineeship in a London firm, that does not preclude them from working in the firm's Singapore office down the line. (And even then international firms could include white shoe firms).
The "survival bias" poster and others in the comments above are advancing the argument that NUS grads are better than UK grads because they tend to dominate the MC/white shoe firms in singapore. My point is that they are not making an appropriate comparison. Since the best UK grads are in London, they only see a skewed representation of UK grads in SG.

I take your point that UK grads may return at some point down the line. Anecdotally however, I can think of no one amongst my peers who even wish to return. If this is representative of the SG expat community here, then any basis of comparison between SG and UK grads would be flawed if it only considered grads working in SG to the exclusion of those working in London.

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  #3774 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2018, 03:23 PM
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The "survival bias" poster and others in the comments above are advancing the argument that NUS grads are better than UK grads because they tend to dominate the MC/white shoe firms in singapore. My point is that they are not making an appropriate comparison. Since the best UK grads are in London, they only see a skewed representation of UK grads in SG.

I take your point that UK grads may return at some point down the line. Anecdotally however, I can think of no one amongst my peers who even wish to return. If this is representative of the SG expat community here, then any basis of comparison between SG and UK grads would be flawed if it only considered grads working in SG to the exclusion of those working in London.
Iím the NUS poster above who works in an international firm, and I just want to clarify my intentions. I never intended to suggest that the quality of UK grads is any poorer than that of NUS grads. All I wanted to do was to share an empirical observation that the Singaporeans you see in international firmsí offices here tend to be NUS grads. And thatís a function of corporate poaching and the upward mobility NUS grads enjoy from starting out in a local big 4 shop which MCs love to poach from - thatís all.

Personally, I found the NUS open book system easier than the UK closed book system. It was a lot less torturous for sure since I hate memory work, and Iíve no doubt that those who aced their UK exams have brilliant minds and are no less capable than NUS grads. What I do see however is a general bias in local Big 4 Firms against the grads who come out from any UK University other than Oxbridge or the top London universities (including Kings btw. No idea why thereís so much Kings bashing going on around here, since the MC outfit I joined is full of smart Kings grads).

I donít think you can put UK grads in one ďboxĒ and local grads in the other. That was never my intention.
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  #3775 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2018, 04:51 PM
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Iím the NUS poster above who works in an international firm, and I just want to clarify my intentions. I never intended to suggest that the quality of UK grads is any poorer than that of NUS grads. All I wanted to do was to share an empirical observation that the Singaporeans you see in international firmsí offices here tend to be NUS grads. And thatís a function of corporate poaching and the upward mobility NUS grads enjoy from starting out in a local big 4 shop which MCs love to poach from - thatís all.

Personally, I found the NUS open book system easier than the UK closed book system. It was a lot less torturous for sure since I hate memory work, and Iíve no doubt that those who aced their UK exams have brilliant minds and are no less capable than NUS grads. What I do see however is a general bias in local Big 4 Firms against the grads who come out from any UK University other than Oxbridge or the top London universities (including Kings btw. No idea why thereís so much Kings bashing going on around here, since the MC outfit I joined is full of smart Kings grads).

I donít think you can put UK grads in one ďboxĒ and local grads in the other. That was never my intention.
Good post, good analysis. Itís true that open book exams are easier.
Only thing is that itís hard to get a high first cos then you have to do a lot more extra readings and craft better arguments against a pool of very capable and smart peers.

On international firms having more local or foreign grads, frankly it doesnít matter where they come from after 5 years. U need to be properly trained, given ample opportunities to learn and develop. Sadly some international firms donít bother training, they just need headcount or temporary cover for manpower needs.
Going to such firms is tantamount to career suicide because there is no intention to train from the very beginning. Why big four makes better training ground? Bcos big four associates are more willing to invest time in training the juniors. They donít see their younger colleagues as threats. Cf international firms - you have to be in an international to fully appreciate this point. A senior associate earning $18-22k a month in an international is not going to be willing to train a junior who can eventually take over them. It just isnít the culture.
Granted there are exceptions and you are fortunate in life if you meet good seniors.

On KCL and second tier UK universities, everyoneís experience is different.
Sometimes people choose to go overseas because they canít qualify locally.
Other times, itís more for exposure, making connections, having peers of similar standing internationally. You can come from an inferior school, but if you have good mentors willing to train and invest their time in you (really nothing but chemistry and luck), then youíll prob be very successful anyway.
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  #3776 (permalink)  
Old 13-11-2018, 06:34 AM
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Are Big 4 associates really interested in training their juniors? I've only interned there so maybe my experience was different, but they didn't reply seem interested in mentorship or training.
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  #3777 (permalink)  
Old 13-11-2018, 08:40 AM
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Hello,

I haven't seen many responses to this question so i thought i'd give you my two cents worth.

I moved in-house after 2 years of practice and i've been in-house for a year plus now, so i'm at PQE 3+. My annual is now at 98k including bonus. I'll probably hit 100k in the next year or so.

Benefits are great and work life balance is even better. I can literally count with one hand the number of times i've stayed in the office past 6pm in the year+ i've worked with this company. Health, dental and insurance are also beyond generous (and extended to cover spouse and children, if it matters).

If you are at a big4 or international firm, this will most definitely be a pay cut. No question about it.

I advice you to consider carefully before taking the leap in house. If money is something that is extremely important to you, this may not be the route to take. I don't mean this in a judgmental way but more like if i were the sole breadwinner and had 4 kids to raise, i would not consider this option until very much later in my career (like when i have enough to pay off all my kids' uni tuition).

On the other hand, if you want a short break from life or to settle down and spend more time with your children, this is actually a pretty good option.

The down side is that work can be really boring at times. Going from practice to in-house is akin to your brain being on ten thousand cans of red bull to suddenly going back to normal again.

Happy to take questions!
Could you break that down for me? What's your monthly take home?

Ever thought about jumping back into practice? Do you foresee challenges if you do so?
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  #3778 (permalink)  
Old 13-11-2018, 04:12 PM
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Could you break that down for me? What's your monthly take home?

Ever thought about jumping back into practice? Do you foresee challenges if you do so?
Hello,

I'm on 7k a month with the rest being bonus.

I have a very good relationship with my ex-boss and i don't think it will be a problem for me to go back to private practice - but be clear that this will not be based on any kind of merit, it is very much based on connection (and our past working relationship, which was very good). I left practice because i felt i was being severely undervalued/underpaid (nothing to do with the boss mentioned above, just the culture in general). I'm currently on slightly less than twice what i used to earn and possibly a thousand more than what i would be earning had i remained in practice.

I miss practice a lot. The difference in terms of intellectual rigor is great - a lot of what i do is very much people management as opposed to hardcore legal work.

My welcome to this company was marred in equal part by the culture shock and steep learning (being the politics and people management) curve. The role of legal counsel requires you to work with many different people on a daily basis, each with their own agenda (most of the times not even hidden). It is like being thrown in a wolf's den because you know they are only working with you so they can throw you under the bus if anything blows up. It takes a certain finesse to maintain the tenuous balance between keeping people (remember that there is usually more than one person on any deal) happy and making the legally correct calls.

It is also a very lonely role - you should be used to making judgment calls on a daily basis. If you call your GC for approval on decisions often, the likelihood is that you won't have a job for much longer.

I think if you can find a firm that truly values your talents and skills and is willing to investment in your learning and progression, it is worthwhile to continue in practice. I sometimes think that if i had met seniors who were kinder (and more generous with teaching and mentoring) and firms that truly believe in the potential of their people, I would've stayed for a long time. Unfortunately, a lot of seniors are just plain assholes.

Good luck!


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  #3779 (permalink)  
Old 13-11-2018, 08:04 PM
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Are Big 4 associates really interested in training their juniors? I've only interned there so maybe my experience was different, but they didn't reply seem interested in mentorship or training.
Take it with a healthy pinch of salt, the poster is probably a Big 4 partner trying to lure the unsuspecting into the definition of modern slavery by working in a local law firm. If the inclination to teach is an inverse function of a lawyer's pay I wonder why would any junior want to work for senior counsels.

And the point made that open book exams are easier? Pffft.
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  #3780 (permalink)  
Old 14-11-2018, 12:17 AM
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Hello,
I'm currently on slightly less than twice what i used to earn and possibly a thousand more than what i would be earning had i remained in practice.
Sorry, do you mean "a thousand less"?

Also, I'm surprised you're taking in "only" (I say this with caution, of course) $7k/month before bonuses. I always heard that in-house offers match your current pay in private practice but simply freeze your pay progression for a number of years. I didn't expect one could take >50% paycut for moving to in-house...
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