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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2010, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherjcstudent View Post
Hi there, I got a question after reading this thread! What is the lowest paid Singapore-qualified lawyer v lowest paid doctor (polyclinic GP), assuming both are working full-time?

This thread has been very useful, thanks
Also, do NUS/SMU/Oxbridge lawyers face competition from those private schools LLB? I see alot of those in the newspaper ads, and wonder if they are our competitors given the relaxing of rules in the Legal Professions Act? Its such a waste of my time mugging in JC to get perfect As and student council/cca leadership posts if this is the case.

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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2010, 06:11 PM
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Also, do NUS/SMU/Oxbridge lawyers face competition from those private schools LLB? I see alot of those in the newspaper ads, and wonder if they are our competitors given the relaxing of rules in the Legal Professions Act? Its such a waste of my time mugging in JC to get perfect As and student council/cca leadership posts if this is the case.
As of today, they do not constitute qualified persons under the LPA to get called. They will need to gain sufficient legal experience before they can get called. So they cannot compete as qualified lawyers.

Having said that, it is not a necessity to be called before you can do legal work. They can still find work in law firms, in-house and in legal service. So in this sense, they are able to compete with qualified lawyers for the same jobs.

It is indeed a waste of your time mugging in JC and trying. I never got anywhere near perfect grades for my A levels and I made it into NUS law. Furthermore, if your parents are wealthy enough, you just need to do well enough to get into a scheduled university in UK or Aus and graduate with a 2nd lower to get called. Why waste the best years of your life studying instead of hitting on the sweet young things?

As for your earlier question on lowest paid lawyers; no one will be able to answer that. It depends on each person's aspirations and what practice they choose.

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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 13-09-2010, 11:56 PM
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HI all

helping out a friend to find out about starting lawyer salary nowadays, and what sort of progression she can expect once she gets in.

thanks!!
from:
all the world's a stage: Singapore Law Firms Hike Salaries

Singapore Law Firms Hike Salaries

Came across this Singapore Business Times article on the salary increase across the board for the larger law firms in Singapore. The article reads:

Singapore's largest law firms have upped the monthly salaries of their lawyers significantly, as they brace themselves for the onslaught of competition from the foreign law firms, amid the liberalisation of the legal industry here.

BT understands that Allen & Gledhill (A&G), Drew & Napier and WongPartnership have all raised monthly pay by 20-25 per cent, within the last week or so - such that their starting salaries are now in the region of $5,200.

This takes them closer to the pay scale of the foreign firms, which BT understands typically pay between $8,000 and $10,000 for first-year associates.

What this also means is that the fight for talent has just become that much tougher for the medium and smaller-sized firms.

'The liberalisation of the market means our local talent pool is now available to all - firms from all over the world,' WongPartnership managing partner Dilhan Pillay explained to BT. 'So, our firm has had to respond to such market changes.

'What we've done is reorientate our pay structure. Traditionally, a significant portion of our annual pay was in the form of a year-end bonus. What we've done now is to spread a large part of that bonus over the 12 months of the year and pay a smaller bonus at the end of the year.'

'This is similar to what the foreign firms do - which is to frontload and then pay out a smaller bonus at the end of the year,' Mr Pillay said. 'The market has come to expect that level of pay - along with the good training and work exposure that the top firms offer.'

While some say this is not a pay hike per se, it definitely has the effect of boosting monthly salaries significantly - 25 per cent, in WongPartnership's case - making the legal sector, already one of the best pay masters here, an even tougher act to follow.

BT understands that the larger local law firms in Singapore typically pay top performers between six and nine months' bonuses. Foreign firms tend to either not pay year-end bonuses or pay a small bonus.

A&G and Drew explained similar changes at their firms.

A&G managing partner Lucien Wong said: 'We are revising the decades-old practice of large law firms paying to their associates bonuses at year-end which are pegged to a number of months of their monthly base salaries.

'This revision will take the form of an addition of a monthly variable component to the base monthly salaries of our associates. With the introduction of a monthly variable component, it is expected that the year-end bonuses of our associates will be moderated.'

Drew & Napier CEO Davinder Singh told BT: 'We have revised our remuneration structure for lawyers. Under the revised scheme, part of the bonus for the year will be frontloaded as a variable component into the monthly salary, which will result in higher monthly pay for lawyers. So while the base will remain the same, there will be an additional monthly variable component.'

Such a change in pay structure at the larger firms has increased the pressure on the smaller and medium-sized firms - whose monthly pay packages now lag the leaders by possibly between $1,000 and $2,000.

A prominent lawyer here told BT of his concern about the impact of the recent pay changes on the industry. 'It would have been ideal if the opening of the legal market (to foreign firms) could take place after supply had increased. Where demand exceeds supply, this will increase wage costs and lead to a spiralling of legal costs and, if fee inelasticity exists, the costs will be passed on to clients.

'If not passed on to clients, some law firms may be priced out of the market.' He added: 'The impact for firms which aim to compete by paying much more is that they will have to remain lean, be less generous in hiring and quicker to axe, and staff will be made to work harder. Employers will be more demanding of these higher-paid lawyers.'

BT understands that some of the medium-sized firms are already thinking of increasing salaries to stay competitive.

Some, like TSMP Law Corporation, increased monthly salaries several years ago - while still keeping the sizeable year-end bonuses.

'We increased our starting pay for newly called lawyers to $5,000 about two to three years ago, when the big firms were paying $4,600. We wanted to send a message that we would pay for top quality talent, and that we wanted the best,' TSMP joint managing director Stefanie Yuen Thio told BT.

'Whether we will be changing our pay is something we will have to continue to monitor. While we don't want our associates' monthly pay to be too different from what other firms are paying, philosophically, we have a different mentality on bonuses.

'One of our fundamental management principles is that we must be able to pay outperformers very well, without worrying that it will rock the boat as far as the other lawyers in that batch are concerned. We will therefore want to retain the ability to reward our top performers with an exceptional pay package, and hopefully incentivise others to up their game.'


Some points jump out right away. A starting pay of S$5,200 at the Big 4 law firms in Singapore is great, and even higher is the starting pay of S$8,000-10,000 at the foreign firms in Singapore.

The ending quote about rewarding the outperformers struck a chord. I don't think this is really practiced much in Malaysia, with possibly a few firms adopting such a style.

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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2010, 07:49 PM
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what kind of lawyers earn the most in singapore? My guess would be corporate lawyers, although i cant be sure though. And most criminal lawyers dont earn as much, unless you're talking about the best few.
The professionals at the top of their fields all earn a lot of money. The top 5 lawyers in Singapore earn something between S$8 to 10m per annum. Same for doctors too. Some doctors may even earn more, e.g. Susan Lim.

For top lawyers, e.g. senior equity partners in major law firms, they would be earning anything between S$1m to S$5m per annum. Majority will be between the S$1 to 1.5m range. A junior partner in a major law firm would expect to earn between S$250k and S$600k.

Lawyers with about 15 to 20 years experience working in smaller law firms or as small proprietors earn anything between S$10k to 40k per month - depending on what they do.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 06-10-2010, 01:03 AM
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How about academia, eg, law lecturers?
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 14-01-2011, 06:21 PM
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How about academia, eg, law lecturers?
Law lecturers earn peanuts, with NUS considerably lesser than that of SMU.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 18-02-2011, 06:15 PM
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It boggles my mind how out of touch some posts in this thread are. A law professor does not earn "peanuts", unless you are using the TT Durai scale. For example, an assistant professor (lowest professorial rank) would probably be earning 8-12k a month (I'm a law student estimating based on clues dropped by my own law professors). That's many times the median monthly income in Singapore, which was 2.7k in June 2010.

The definition of "rich" offered by an earlier poster which stipulates a salary of 500k/month simply beggars belief. It reminds me of people who say that a salary of 10k/month is only "average" or "middle-class" - when such an income would place you within the top 5% of the population! "Middle-class", by definition, would be those earning the median income of ~3k. If you are in the top 5%, you are rich, period. Benchmark yourself against objective statistics, not against your peers (who tend to be in the same economic class as you) or some unrealistic materialistic ideal.

Anyway, to any JC student reading this thread to decide whether to take up law, my advice is not to decide based on pay. Instead, go pick up a random law textbook and browse through it. Download some judicial decisions to read (you can find recent ones here). This is what you will be doing for the next four years. If you don't have the requisite interest and aptitude, you will be miserable in law school, and will most likely end up doing something completely unrelated to law when you graduate (assuming you don't drop out before then).

Last edited by Rorty; 18-02-2011 at 06:20 PM.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 20-02-2011, 08:41 PM
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To the guy who said that 10-15k salary is the norm, you must be living a high life in sgp and obviously do not know what is the norm. Even a law student knows that. More than 80% of our population lives in HDB flat and a huge portion of these qualify for HDB grant which means their HOUSEHOLD income do not exceed $8k or so. Your head is in the clouds mate.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 20-02-2011, 10:45 PM
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My legal counsel makes at least 300K a year and 250K worth of stocks every year. Good $$$$$$$
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 21-02-2011, 02:37 PM
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To the guy who said that 10-15k salary is the norm, you must be living a high life in sgp and obviously do not know what is the norm. Even a law student knows that. More than 80% of our population lives in HDB flat and a huge portion of these qualify for HDB grant which means their HOUSEHOLD income do not exceed $8k or so. Your head is in the clouds mate.
80% live in HDB doesnt mean all below 8k household income. 8k limit is only for initial application for the HDB flat. there are many still living in there but way above the 8k combined. 10-15k salary for individual is actually getting common but still not norm. many just keep quiet about it, haha
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