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  #4521 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2019, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ivy lawyer View Post
This is mostly true. Even if you get into an international law firm, it is not a sustainable lifestyle in the long run, esp the long hours and abuse. Usually, higher pay means more billable hours, more stress and abuse. The law firms like to tangle a carrot of partnership in front of young associates, but if you look at the statistics, very few will make it (less than 5%). Partnership probably takes about 10 years in an international law firm and there is no guarantee.

I do not think that switching to being an in-house counsel is the best option. Sure, you will likely get less stress and good working hours, but your earning ability is greatly reduced. you are just a salary man and you can't get rich from it. So no bentley or GCB for you!

A better option will be to slave it out in the law firms until you are capable of standing on your own feet, aka sole practitioner or start your own boutique law firm. I see many young lawyers doing this in HK after PQE 7 to 10 years. You are your own boss and you call the shots. I think that the mindset in SG and HK is very different, and most SG lawyers just want to be a salaryman, which is quite sad. Too many followers and not enough rain makers.
So which area of law do you do? Iím really curious because magic circle firms typically do transactional work which requires manpower, and perhaps more importantly a big base of claimable partnership assets and huge professional indemnity insurance limits. Unless youíre a really seasoned veteran, the institutional clients who loved you when you were in an MC wonít feel quite the same towards you when you become the sole proprietor of ABC Partnership. I just donít see how you can port the work over.

I used to be in an MC too, but iíve since left for greener pastures.

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  #4522 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2019, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by LegalBeagle View Post
So which area of law do you do? Iím really curious because magic circle firms typically do transactional work which requires manpower, and perhaps more importantly a big base of claimable partnership assets and huge professional indemnity insurance limits. Unless youíre a really seasoned veteran, the institutional clients who loved you when you were in an MC wonít feel quite the same towards you when you become the sole proprietor of ABC Partnership. I just donít see how you can port the work over.

I used to be in an MC too, but iíve since left for greener pastures.
civil and commercial litigation. i think these skills are transferable to a boutique firm. if i am doing ipo, then probably no. so i think if u intend to set up shop in future, u need to pick a good area of law. as for those mnc clients, they will stay with the mc firms and you need to look for new clients. you will probably get smaller clients who pay less, but this does not necessarily mean that you will earn less. being in an mc firm means that u can ride on their brand name and get bigger clients, but there is a trade off, and the mc firm takes a big cut of your profit. if u are on your own, u will get smaller clients, but u can eat the whole pie. because of this simple reason, you will be surprised to know how many owners of small firms making more than a partner at a big firm.

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  #4523 (permalink)  
Old 14-07-2019, 10:42 PM
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Can those who moved out to set up own law firm, care to share more?

Challenges
When did you move out
How did you get clients ?

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  #4524 (permalink)  
Old 17-07-2019, 09:29 AM
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Can those who moved out to set up own law firm, care to share more?

Challenges
When did you move out
How did you get clients ?
chirp chirp
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  #4525 (permalink)  
Old 17-07-2019, 07:35 PM
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Your ranking is incorrect. Compare apples to apples. On a pre-tax basis the base salary in Singapore for lawyers in MC/SC firms actually equals or even slightly exceeds that of their London counterparts. On a post-tax basis the Singaporeans are taking home far more due to much lower tax rates. For comparison, an MC London NQ would be earning 90-100k pounds (153-170k SGD), while an NQ in Singapore would be getting around 165k SGD. The London NQ would be taking home 60-66k pounds (100-115k SGD) while the SG NQ would be taking home around 135k SGD (after CPF deductions).

Don't know enough about HK and so can't comment. From what I've heard, NQs in US firms in Singapore are getting a base salary of around 20-21k per month. Make of that what you will.

Its a known fact that MC/SC firms in Singapore hire laterals primarily from the big4 (particularly for corporate roles), and that they regularly hire local grads (particularly if the hiring partner js Singaporean).
I can second and confirm this, including the figures - in fact the SG NQ with a SGD165k gross will take home closer to 150k cos SG tax rates are awesome. In the UK marginal effective rate at GBP100-125k is 60% cos of loss of personal allowance...

I'm at an international firm and decided to move to London HQ for a few years for career development but it's a terrible decision from a financial perspective cos of taxes. GBP is also getting fked every day - can't wait to move back to SG.

Some US firms in SG pay discriminate based on jurisdiction of qualification so data is more bumpy.
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  #4526 (permalink)  
Old Yesterday, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ivy lawyer View Post
The training period in SG is only 6 months, and you say that the SG NQ will get 165k SGD?! That is 13k SGD/month for a NQ in SG. I do not think that this is accurate.

I heard that the MC firms in SG must partner with the local firms, and most of them do not pay the rates in London. It is far lesser.
You really don’t know a thing about the Singapore market, or the international legal market for that matter. You’re still mired in the lame “NY > London > HK > SG” kind of thinking. Those were the kind of misconceptions people had when they were still in Law School. I urge readers to take everything you say with a fistful of salt. There are so many flaws and stereotypes in your various posts that I don’t know where to begin correcting you. Ivy Lawyer indeed.

(1) “Must partner with local firms” - ever heard of QFLP? International firms with QFLP licenses are able to practice most areas of Singapore in its own right. Take CC Singapore for example. They practice all areas of SG law except litigation, which is handled by Cavenagh.

(2) “it is far lesser” - Singapore MC associates are paid on a global scale which is at or close to parity with their global peers in London and HK (ex US), with mild adjustments for tax rate differentials. Post-tax, SG and HK associates actually fare better than London associates, with little more than a $1,000 discrepancy between the SG and HK. CC NY is forced to pay Cravath rates because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to recruit any decent talent in the US market. Also, “lesser” is not grammatically correct. In Singapore, true “white shoe” outfits such as Milbank and LW pay full Cravath to their SG associates. Given local tax rates, SG White Shoe associates are far far better off than their NY counterparts. And of course nobody does better than the White Shoe associates working out of the UAE, who take zero tax and are often offered COLA on top of salary.

(3) “NQ” - where do I even begin... An “NQ” for the purposes of an SG Big4 is someone who has just passed the Singapore Bar. An “NQ” for the purposes of an SC/MC firm is someone who has just completed two years of rotational practice (ie: four half-year seats), or lateraled in from an SG Big4 as a Year 3 associate. An “NQ” for the purposes of a white shoe firm is someone who’s either just come in fresh off a JD or a mid-tier associate who’s lateraled in from a lower tier outfit (such as MC/SC) and taken a huge PQE haircut. I’ve seen even SG 6PQEs joining white shoe firms on the “NQ” scale.

Last edited by LegalBeagle; Yesterday at 01:53 PM.
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  #4527 (permalink)  
Old Yesterday, 05:26 PM
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LW isn't a "white shoe" firm, they have west coast origins.

Actually the international legal press doesn't even use the term "white shoe" very much because it's not a well defined group, and don't share much in common other than historical origin. Cravath is often thought of as the most prestigious firm in US rankings but is not traditionally a "white shoe" firm. Milbank is usually like a middling 20-30 ranked. Kirkland is absolutely tearing up the market.

It's all about the "global elite" now.
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