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  #461 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2015, 11:36 PM
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Actually I don't think lawyer working hours are really that bad considering the pay. Most of my friends in this field are reporting 80 hour work week on average and drawing 5k+ for associate and bonus easily 4-6 mths depending on firm.

Compare to let's say an audit associate in Big 4, all-in maybe 70 hours a week drawing 2.8k + 2 months bonus. Given a choice most people will still choose lawyering.
i'm a junior associate in a mid - big law firm (in SG means > 50 lawyers). base pay for midsized to big firms around 5 to 6.5k sounds abvout right. bonus not so much, maybe 3 to 4 months if lucky.

we are really underpaid and if you average out our pay with hours, a home tutor makes more than us. sigh. as compared to the international/ang moh firms that pay double digit starting salary, the local firms pay is crap.

the global firms demand long hours too but at least the remuneration is commensurate. local firms with their "asian" mindset force you to grind for peanuts and then call you strawberries when you cant hack it.

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  #462 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-2015, 11:54 PM
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i'm a junior associate in a mid - big law firm (in SG means > 50 lawyers). base pay for midsized to big firms around 5 to 6.5k sounds abvout right. bonus not so much, maybe 3 to 4 months if lucky.

we are really underpaid and if you average out our pay with hours, a home tutor makes more than us. sigh. as compared to the international/ang moh firms that pay double digit starting salary, the local firms pay is crap.

the global firms demand long hours too but at least the remuneration is commensurate. local firms with their "asian" mindset force you to grind for peanuts and then call you strawberries when you cant hack it.
well its about who you compare with. those intl ang mor law firms is only the best in law can go, it is like those investment banking only the good finance ppl can go.

for average ppl, at least u guys as law associates get decent pay/bonus for working long hrs. those average ppl in finance even worse, work almost same hrs as u guys, but end up less than half ur pay.

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  #463 (permalink)  
Old 20-11-2015, 06:42 AM
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I don't think any of us really has an answer to this question.

Let's face it. Most of us in this world have to make a living doing things that we don't absolutely love. Lawyers are no different. I wish I could tell you I was passionate about my job, but I'm not. I'm just another paper pusher trying to get by in a harsh, expensive world. My job pays for three square meals and allows for some trappings of luxury, and I'm satisfied.

You seem like you're close to graduation, and if you choose to do something non-law, you do so with your eyes wide open. You'll be forsaking the safety of an industry which pays well above market rate for the wild unknown. If you are confident that you're a smart, enterprising individual who can find a better job or start a successful business, by all means follow your dream.

If however you simply wish to "do something else" because our hard work and long hours seem unpalatable, you'll probably end up disillusioned because there's no free lunch (or in fact, no easy lunch) in this world unless you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Everywhere you go in this country, your employer will work you to the bone. If you're destined to work hard anyway you might as well do law, which at least compensates you for it.
im the original poster of the question. fortunately, i have graduated a while ago and am now an associate in a big 4. i am in an practice area that i hate and am deciding either working in a different practice area in another firm (which means starting afresh and potentially competing with the NQs) or non-law.

i am not against the "hard work and long hours" - if i am, i will probably sit tight and wait until i can move to a cushy in-house job. i just never liked law or the practice thereof and have always wanted to pursue a non-legal career. my question is, since i eventually want to do something non-law, should i just embark on it now or should i nevertheless stay on and get a couple more PQE. in other words, do my PQE make a difference if i want to pursue a non-law career?

FYI, i strongly disagree that associates are paid more than market rates, if you consider our meager bonuses and extremely long working hours. also i guess that i don't want to be, and am not satisfied with working in a sweatshop at the beck and call of partners and clients and doing research and churning advice day in day out. lastly, i don't think it is true that every employer "will work you to the bone"... not in the way that law firms do.

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  #464 (permalink)  
Old 20-11-2015, 10:03 AM
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im the original poster of the question. fortunately, i have graduated a while ago and am now an associate in a big 4. i am in an practice area that i hate and am deciding either working in a different practice area in another firm (which means starting afresh and potentially competing with the NQs) or non-law.

i am not against the "hard work and long hours" - if i am, i will probably sit tight and wait until i can move to a cushy in-house job. i just never liked law or the practice thereof and have always wanted to pursue a non-legal career. my question is, since i eventually want to do something non-law, should i just embark on it now or should i nevertheless stay on and get a couple more PQE. in other words, do my PQE make a difference if i want to pursue a non-law career?

FYI, i strongly disagree that associates are paid more than market rates, if you consider our meager bonuses and extremely long working hours. also i guess that i don't want to be, and am not satisfied with working in a sweatshop at the beck and call of partners and clients and doing research and churning advice day in day out. lastly, i don't think it is true that every employer "will work you to the bone"... not in the way that law firms do.
What exactly is it you want to do besides law? If you are thinking of doing something completely different then really PQE is totally irrelevant right?

You could go into legal related areas like compliance, corporate counsel, contracts management etc, but that's kind of doing even more routine work with the same hours and 2/3 your current pay.

Truth is without any relevant qualification or experience, the only jobs you can take up outside law are generic administrative ones like marketing, hr, sales, admin. Chances are if you jump into something completely different, expect at least a 50% drop in income.
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  #465 (permalink)  
Old 27-11-2015, 12:33 PM
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im the original poster of the question. fortunately, i have graduated a while ago and am now an associate in a big 4. i am in an practice area that i hate and am deciding either working in a different practice area in another firm (which means starting afresh and potentially competing with the NQs) or non-law.

i am not against the "hard work and long hours" - if i am, i will probably sit tight and wait until i can move to a cushy in-house job. i just never liked law or the practice thereof and have always wanted to pursue a non-legal career. my question is, since i eventually want to do something non-law, should i just embark on it now or should i nevertheless stay on and get a couple more PQE. in other words, do my PQE make a difference if i want to pursue a non-law career?

FYI, i strongly disagree that associates are paid more than market rates, if you consider our meager bonuses and extremely long working hours. also i guess that i don't want to be, and am not satisfied with working in a sweatshop at the beck and call of partners and clients and doing research and churning advice day in day out. lastly, i don't think it is true that every employer "will work you to the bone"... not in the way that law firms do.
You know why you hate your work? Because you're incompetent at it.

It's not your fault of course. You're new, so you're naturally incompetent. You've got a steep, daunting learning curve ahead, and whilst climbing that already painful curve, some a**hole partner or SA is throwing you meaningless grunt work to do.

The older birds have been there, done that. I started out where you are now, almost 5 years ago. I stuck with it, pulled the hours and took the crap. Hard times don't last forever, and things got better with the passage of time. I became more competent and efficient, making work easier and my hours shorter. New NQs and pupils came in year after year, taking on what used to be my grunt work and filling the bottom bun roles.

With better competence and a support base of junior associates came more time, more sleep and more confidence. As a 5PQE senior associate in a Big4 now, life is oddly cushy. I wouldn't dream of leaving my job for anywhere else - not even for double pay. I couldn't stand starting from the bottom again.

Bottom line my friend - stick out the hardships at the start and things naturally get better. If you keep jumping around, you'll always be the new bottom bun, and your life will never get better. All the best!
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  #466 (permalink)  
Old 27-11-2015, 12:34 PM
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What exactly is it you want to do besides law? If you are thinking of doing something completely different then really PQE is totally irrelevant right?

You could go into legal related areas like compliance, corporate counsel, contracts management etc, but that's kind of doing even more routine work with the same hours and 2/3 your current pay.

Truth is without any relevant qualification or experience, the only jobs you can take up outside law are generic administrative ones like marketing, hr, sales, admin. Chances are if you jump into something completely different, expect at least a 50% drop in income.
Spot on advice.
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  #467 (permalink)  
Old 28-11-2015, 02:10 PM
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What exactly is it you want to do besides law? If you are thinking of doing something completely different then really PQE is totally irrelevant right?

You could go into legal related areas like compliance, corporate counsel, contracts management etc, but that's kind of doing even more routine work with the same hours and 2/3 your current pay.

Truth is without any relevant qualification or experience, the only jobs you can take up outside law are generic administrative ones like marketing, hr, sales, admin. Chances are if you jump into something completely different, expect at least a 50% drop in income.
Why is corporate counsel routine? I was under the impression that it is the 'holy grail' of legal positions and in-house lawyers get decent salaries for less pressure and grind than in private practice.
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Old 28-11-2015, 04:11 PM
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Why is corporate counsel routine? I was under the impression that it is the 'holy grail' of legal positions and in-house lawyers get decent salaries for less pressure and grind than in private practice.
I think he/she was referring to corporate legal executive/associate. I don't think MNCs that can afford in house corporate counsel will take in junior lawyers without the required experience in practicing law outside.

Most of the corporate counsels I see are either mid careers who have been practicing or consulting for some years outside or those who slowly moved up the internal legal department ranks over many years.
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  #469 (permalink)  
Old 28-11-2015, 07:51 PM
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You know why you hate your work? Because you're incompetent at it.

It's not your fault of course. You're new, so you're naturally incompetent. You've got a steep, daunting learning curve ahead, and whilst climbing that already painful curve, some a**hole partner or SA is throwing you meaningless grunt work to do.

The older birds have been there, done that. I started out where you are now, almost 5 years ago. I stuck with it, pulled the hours and took the crap. Hard times don't last forever, and things got better with the passage of time. I became more competent and efficient, making work easier and my hours shorter. New NQs and pupils came in year after year, taking on what used to be my grunt work and filling the bottom bun roles.

With better competence and a support base of junior associates came more time, more sleep and more confidence. As a 5PQE senior associate in a Big4 now, life is oddly cushy. I wouldn't dream of leaving my job for anywhere else - not even for double pay. I couldn't stand starting from the bottom again.

Bottom line my friend - stick out the hardships at the start and things naturally get better. If you keep jumping around, you'll always be the new bottom bun, and your life will never get better. All the best!
I'm in a practice area that deals with regulations and compliance. It's boring and dry as ****. I'll like to see you not hate it. I doubt I'll ever raise to your cushy position because the team is fairly small (just a handful of associates), the attrition rate is high so there will never be a support base of junior associates. In fact, we did not retain any one this year and dont think we will do so next year. Most files have only one associate OR one SA. Really appreciate the advice though! Maybe it's a matter of finding a better team.
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  #470 (permalink)  
Old 28-11-2015, 10:35 PM
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You know why you hate your work? Because you're incompetent at it.

It's not your fault of course. You're new, so you're naturally incompetent. You've got a steep, daunting learning curve ahead, and whilst climbing that already painful curve, some a**hole partner or SA is throwing you meaningless grunt work to do.

The older birds have been there, done that. I started out where you are now, almost 5 years ago. I stuck with it, pulled the hours and took the crap. Hard times don't last forever, and things got better with the passage of time. I became more competent and efficient, making work easier and my hours shorter. New NQs and pupils came in year after year, taking on what used to be my grunt work and filling the bottom bun roles.

With better competence and a support base of junior associates came more time, more sleep and more confidence. As a 5PQE senior associate in a Big4 now, life is oddly cushy. I wouldn't dream of leaving my job for anywhere else - not even for double pay. I couldn't stand starting from the bottom again.

Bottom line my friend - stick out the hardships at the start and things naturally get better. If you keep jumping around, you'll always be the new bottom bun, and your life will never get better. All the best!
True. No point to keep jumping ship if you don't get to move up the rank. You may get more pay but you will always be at the bottom rung.
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