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  #501 (permalink)  
Old 23-12-2015, 09:44 PM
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I think we have to differentiate between connections and no connections. This is the reality. Ppl with 2:2s, below cum laude - if they have connections and bother to use it, big fours, JLVs, etc are not an issue. They do not fall into any of the categories when it comes to finding a TC. Even if they do not admit it, it's quite obvious.

Excluding these people, it is quite plain that 2:2s, below cum laude are having a bad time. 2:1s/Magnas from NUS/SMU do get the opportunities for interview, but after that it's all about performance.

Frankly CCAs are not important unless they relate to law, i.e. Moots.

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  #502 (permalink)  
Old 23-12-2015, 09:59 PM
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I think we have to differentiate between connections and no connections. This is the reality. Ppl with 2:2s, below cum laude - if they have connections and bother to use it, big fours, JLVs, etc are not an issue. They do not fall into any of the categories when it comes to finding a TC. Even if they do not admit it, it's quite obvious.

Excluding these people, it is quite plain that 2:2s, below cum laude are having a bad time. 2:1s/Magnas from NUS/SMU do get the opportunities for interview, but after that it's all about performance.

Frankly CCAs are not important unless they relate to law, i.e. Moots.
Agree 100% on the connections point. If you know someone and/or are in a rich/famous family, you are going to get a place no matter how badly you do. I have seen people like this.

Well the people I know (with 2:2s/below cum laude) did not get in through connections. Its possible that they got in through internship performance however.

The 2:2/non-cum laudes in my school aren't really having a rough time. A good proportion have places in medium (and even large) firms while the rest have settled for small/boutiques. Most got their TCs in Year 3. I know of noone without a TC from my batch.

As for CCAs, I was in a biz/finance related CCA and it was a pretty big point of interest in every interview that I had with a law firm (and I applied for disputes, not corporate). I think having a CCA does not secure you a place, but it should put you at least above another equal candidate (i.e. same grades) without any CCA.

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  #503 (permalink)  
Old 24-12-2015, 07:01 PM
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Is Oxbridge viewed so highly in singapore? Is a 2:1 Oxbridge degree viewed on the same level as a NUS first class?

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  #504 (permalink)  
Old 25-12-2015, 10:55 PM
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Agree 100% on the connections point. If you know someone and/or are in a rich/famous family, you are going to get a place no matter how badly you do. I have seen people like this.

Well the people I know (with 2:2s/below cum laude) did not get in through connections. Its possible that they got in through internship performance however.

The 2:2/non-cum laudes in my school aren't really having a rough time. A good proportion have places in medium (and even large) firms while the rest have settled for small/boutiques. Most got their TCs in Year 3. I know of noone without a TC from my batch.

As for CCAs, I was in a biz/finance related CCA and it was a pretty big point of interest in every interview that I had with a law firm (and I applied for disputes, not corporate). I think having a CCA does not secure you a place, but it should put you at least above another equal candidate (i.e. same grades) without any CCA.
I am a 2:2 from NUS and I had difficulties securing interviews (much less positions) in medium / large firms then. Most of the firms who interviewed me had less than 25 lawyers. I don't think I am alone in this as most of my 2:2 peers faced the same problems. A lot of us ended up taking positions in small firms that were a nightmare. I heard horror stories that life isn't peachy in SMU too and there were juniors who were unable to secure a TC even in Year 4.
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  #505 (permalink)  
Old 26-12-2015, 01:00 AM
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I am a 2:2 from NUS and I had difficulties securing interviews (much less positions) in medium / large firms then. Most of the firms who interviewed me had less than 25 lawyers. I don't think I am alone in this as most of my 2:2 peers faced the same problems. A lot of us ended up taking positions in small firms that were a nightmare. I heard horror stories that life isn't peachy in SMU too and there were juniors who were unable to secure a TC even in Year 4.
Thats odd. I am a magna in my final year from SMU. Most of my batchmates, myself included, with cum laude and above received multiple offers from large and medium firms
Those below cum laude (slightly above half the cohort I believe) normally got their offers from smaller firms, and later in the application cycle (usually around y3s2). I believe this is the same for my batchmates in NUS as well.

I have yet to hear of anyone in my batch without a TC; pretty much everyone in my batch knows each other well so its not really likely that there is a significant number of people that haven't secured their TCs. That said though, I have heard of horror stories of smaller firms that offer no retention (i.e. they only take in trainees but do not convert them to associates) or extremely low pay. By extremely low pay I mean under 4k as a first year - might as well have done business or some other degree haha.

It is possible that the fact that SMU forces students to take multiple internships (minimum of 10 weeks total),to do volunteer work (i think it was 80h min), and to take classes on resume writing and interview skills, coupled with our relatively small cohort size (my batch had under a 100 due to an unusually high dropout rate), may have given us a slight lead on applications. It is also very likely that, as time passes, each batch will progressively find it harder to get places.


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  #506 (permalink)  
Old 26-12-2015, 02:05 AM
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Thats odd. I am a magna in my final year from SMU. Most of my batchmates, myself included, with cum laude and above received multiple offers from large and medium firms
Those below cum laude (slightly above half the cohort I believe) normally got their offers from smaller firms, and later in the application cycle (usually around y3s2). I believe this is the same for my batchmates in NUS as well.

I have yet to hear of anyone in my batch without a TC; pretty much everyone in my batch knows each other well so its not really likely that there is a significant number of people that haven't secured their TCs. That said though, I have heard of horror stories of smaller firms that offer no retention (i.e. they only take in trainees but do not convert them to associates) or extremely low pay. By extremely low pay I mean under 4k as a first year - might as well have done business or some other degree haha.

It is possible that the fact that SMU forces students to take multiple internships (minimum of 10 weeks total),to do volunteer work (i think it was 80h min), and to take classes on resume writing and interview skills, coupled with our relatively small cohort size (my batch had under a 100 due to an unusually high dropout rate), may have given us a slight lead on applications. It is also very likely that, as time passes, each batch will progressively find it harder to get places.
Hi I'm a new voice to this conversation. Would just like to point out that regardless of the truth of this particular situation, current law students shouldn't let their guard down. Most newspaper articles have pointed to a glut of Lawyers. Yet someone is suggesting the opposite here, that anyone from a local law school will 100% have no problem getting a TC even if they have a poor second lower or non-cum-Laude. This is effectively a suggestion that there is no glut of Lawyers, and that times are still the same as 5 years ago when any local law student could get a TC easily.

The SMU year 4 situation may or may not be true. Regardless, it is not indicative of current market conditions. Students shouldn't have the mentality that "oh as Long as I am a local student I will confirm 100% get a TC no matter how poorly I perform in school". This is definitely false, and merely puts pressure on the many local students who are either unable to get a TC, or have decided not to apply because they think they can't get a TC anyway.
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  #507 (permalink)  
Old 26-12-2015, 06:26 AM
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Hi I'm a new voice to this conversation. Would just like to point out that regardless of the truth of this particular situation, current law students shouldn't let their guard down. Most newspaper articles have pointed to a glut of Lawyers. Yet someone is suggesting the opposite here, that anyone from a local law school will 100% have no problem getting a TC even if they have a poor second lower or non-cum-Laude. This is effectively a suggestion that there is no glut of Lawyers, and that times are still the same as 5 years ago when any local law student could get a TC easily.

The SMU year 4 situation may or may not be true. Regardless, it is not indicative of current market conditions. Students shouldn't have the mentality that "oh as Long as I am a local student I will confirm 100% get a TC no matter how poorly I perform in school". This is definitely false, and merely puts pressure on the many local students who are either unable to get a TC, or have decided not to apply because they think they can't get a TC anyway.
I'm the poster you quoted. In no way did I intend to suggest that conditions now are the same as 5 years ago and I apologise if that seemed to be the case. My seniors (2-3 batches above, before the glut) could secure TCs very easily, with even non-cum laudes getting places in the big 4. Students of the same standard now can only realistically aim for places at small firms, and must work doubly hard to even stand a chance against the hundreds (literally!) of students from other schools. So while most of my batchmates do have TCs, they probably had a lot less leeway in choosing in which firm to join (most of us grab the first thing that comes along).
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  #508 (permalink)  
Old 26-12-2015, 07:30 AM
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I'm the poster you quoted. In no way did I intend to suggest that conditions now are the same as 5 years ago and I apologise if that seemed to be the case. My seniors (2-3 batches above, before the glut) could secure TCs very easily, with even non-cum laudes getting places in the big 4. Students of the same standard now can only realistically aim for places at small firms, and must work doubly hard to even stand a chance against the hundreds (literally!) of students from other schools. So while most of my batchmates do have TCs, they probably had a lot less leeway in choosing in which firm to join (most of us grab the first thing that comes along).
Out of curiosity, how many trainees do the big 4 recruit in a year?

I mean the easiest way to work out how easy or difficult the current market is at the moment is to look at the numbers. Assuming each big 4 takes in 40 a year, that is 160. Assuming the foreign law firms (Magic Circle, US firms) take in 10, other mid tiers like (Rodyk, TSMP, Lee&Lee etc) take in 100. That is a total number of less than 300 (extremely optimistic).

In one batch, the number of law students from overseas (Aus/UK) + NUS/SMU easily exceed 700-800, it is likely that students are less picky.

What I'm most fascinated is that I didn't know the small firms in Singapore could absorb a few hundred grads, that is truly unexpected!


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  #509 (permalink)  
Old 26-12-2015, 09:23 AM
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Retention rates are quite bad also. Big fours retention rate is slightly above 60%. Medium firms retain less than half of their trainees. And small firms (below 30 lawyers) do not even retain. This figures are set to get worse as the market reaction is usually delayed by two years due to trainees securing their TC 1-2 years before graduation.

Therefore, the market has obviously not recovered from the glut, and with a slowing economy and possible recession next year, lesser transactions, etc, it's going to be quite a rough time ahead.

In such situations, people usually resort to whatever connections they can find.
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  #510 (permalink)  
Old 26-12-2015, 02:16 PM
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I believe the big 4s take in closer to 35 trainees each/per year. Based on the news, I don't think there are 700/800 people getting called to the bar each year, the number should be closer to 400-450. I suspect a large number of law grads seek their fortunes elsewhere whether by choice or due to their inability to secure a TC.

I don't think small firms are able to absorb a few hundred grads. Most small firms are used to not having any junior lawyers and/or may not have the budget or resources to hire any. I do see a large number of my peers working in smaller firms with less than 25 lawyers eventually. Due to the glut/poor economic conditions, retention rates are at a record low rate and many firms (both big and small) hire without any intention to retain everyone. Most trainees who are not retained tend to trickle down to smaller firms.

To clarify, it is not true that small firms do not even retain, as mentioned by another poster. I know of many friends who were offered retention by smaller firms (including myself), and the retention rate appears comparable to medium size firms. Retention rates vary vastly across different firms, so I will encourage juniors to do their homework before accepting the first offer they receive.

Anyway, please post if you hear news of pay cuts.
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