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  #5131 (permalink)  
Old 26-04-2020, 11:14 PM
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Here are my observations, make what you will, I don't seek to offend anyone. I agree that there seems to be some kind of preference involved.

Local grads are great hires, but at the end of the day if your client base is in the UK or the US, do you think the firm will prefer that you studied in the UK with some knowledge of English law, or Singapore with no knowledge of English law? Let's leave aside where you trained (UK, US or Singapore) for a moment.

Sure you might argue that the UK bar is the biggest leveller of the playing field but it's also the fact that you'd have spent 3 years learning UK law prior to getting UK qualified vs 1-2 months at Bar school without learning UK law.

And to add that to the mix, the international firms have partners from the UK and US. Who would fit more?

Local grads are definitely not disadvantaged in terms of calibre, but it's just that the composition of the international firms stack the odds in favour of an overseas grad. You might think that the Singapore partners should determine recruitment, but no, in most setups it's the overseas HQ of that firm that usually makes the call. Where did those partners study? Probably Ivy, Oxbridge, other feeder schools.

There'll also be some from the 'delisted schools' some pricks on this forum keep deriding based on a misguided sense of intellectual sword waving. It doesn't matter at all.

In the international firm scene, the biggest glass ceiling is that they value having trained/worked at the Magic Circle/Skadden Arps/Latham etc more than anything. You don't even need a law degree to join a Magic Circle, train there, get qualified and then transfer to the Singapore office - you'll be more valuable than anyone else.

No one cares if you did a science or engineering degree even. It may even be an advantage if you do biology, get qualified, and join the IP patents team which has the big pharma companies as clients.

My qualifications: There are some exceptions. One of them is arbitration. If you do international arbitration and in particular, with a top rated team, it doesn't matter where you train at. Some of the SG firms have very good arbitration practices. Everything else the preference seems to run this way -

Magic Circle/top US > Silver > A&G > Other big 4
Agree on everything except the last bit on the preference.

It does vary quite a bit in the corp departments (but it is always between WP and A&G). RT is the clear fav now in the liti/intl arbi sphere.

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  #5132 (permalink)  
Old 27-04-2020, 12:02 AM
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Ex NUS alumni here, currently a lawyer.

Would just like to say to my fellow male peers undergoing divorce to NOT easily give in to women's demands. The layperson who doesn't understand anything always thinks that men MUST give 50% of their assets, but that is not always the case. When deciding how to split assets and in who's favour, one of the considerations is how much has the spouse contributed to the to the family, and in some cases, it is clear that the woman has not contributed significantly to be entitled to what she asks for. Moreover, the women's charter has now also been amended to allow for husbands to get maintenance for their ex wife too (under certain circumstances), so please, do check if you can turn the tables against her, especially in unfair situations.

I have personally helped many of my male peers either settle for a more reasonable maintenance, or even turn the tables against their ex wives, so this is just to give all males out there hope; that divorce isn't the end of your assets. Personally feel that this splitting of assets is hypocritical; you want equal status and treatment in society, but you want men to give your your assets to "compensate" you when things don't go your way? But well, that is how the WC works and for now, I will continue to do my best to help my male peers in need.
Mind sharing which firm is this so can make the necessary recommendations?

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  #5133 (permalink)  
Old 27-04-2020, 07:25 AM
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Ex NUS alumni here, currently a lawyer.

Would just like to say to my fellow male peers undergoing divorce to NOT easily give in to women's demands. The layperson who doesn't understand anything always thinks that men MUST give 50% of their assets, but that is not always the case. When deciding how to split assets and in who's favour, one of the considerations is how much has the spouse contributed to the to the family, and in some cases, it is clear that the woman has not contributed significantly to be entitled to what she asks for. Moreover, the women's charter has now also been amended to allow for husbands to get maintenance for their ex wife too (under certain circumstances), so please, do check if you can turn the tables against her, especially in unfair situations.

I have personally helped many of my male peers either settle for a more reasonable maintenance, or even turn the tables against their ex wives, so this is just to give all males out there hope; that divorce isn't the end of your assets. Personally feel that this splitting of assets is hypocritical; you want equal status and treatment in society, but you want men to give your your assets to "compensate" you when things don't go your way? But well, that is how the WC works and for now, I will continue to do my best to help my male peers in need.
Thank you for this, it's a refreshing inside perspective on a worrying topic.

Do the Family Court judges agree with you, in your experience?

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  #5134 (permalink)  
Old 27-04-2020, 10:33 AM
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Important but not crucial. A place is always better than none. But it also depends on your grades etc and practice area. Gotta be stratetic there's already a glut at the junior levels, and this economy isn't making it easier. For insolvency, places include Big 4 and Blackoak etc. If you're keen on corporate, most places seem to be freezing on retention and are involved in cost cutting (either lowering pay or freezing retention) but trainees are probably welcome.

Commercial litigation may go up, enforcement force majeure etc. Court still goes on for limited matters, liti will be okay after the CCB. Others like white collar family probate are always there.

Arbitration is hit because of difficulties in travel, but there's Zoom.

In this market unless you're really good, corporate/tax doesn't seem to have enough revenue to retain but trainees welcome.

Alternatively, if you really want corporate you can wait until the market stabilises in your grad year. By the time you get called, the economy should be recovering as we move past this climate.
Hmm I don't really agree with waiting out because you'll still be competing with those who had waited out with you plus the subsequent batches, unless you have something to distinguish yourself beyond the run-of-the-mil qualifications; perhaps an LLM, a 3rd language or some prestigious internship (eg UN).

THis downturn will hurt all the big firms hard, especially those corporate focused ones. Even if the firm has countercyclical practices, like insolv, it isn't going to make too much of a difference to stem the bleed. Lots of fat will have to be trimmed at all levels.
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  #5135 (permalink)  
Old 27-04-2020, 02:17 PM
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Important but not crucial. A place is always better than none. But it also depends on your grades etc and practice area. Gotta be stratetic there's already a glut at the junior levels, and this economy isn't making it easier. For insolvency, places include Big 4 and Blackoak etc. If you're keen on corporate, most places seem to be freezing on retention and are involved in cost cutting (either lowering pay or freezing retention) but trainees are probably welcome.

Commercial litigation may go up, enforcement force majeure etc. Court still goes on for limited matters, liti will be okay after the CCB. Others like white collar family probate are always there.

Arbitration is hit because of difficulties in travel, but there's Zoom.

In this market unless you're really good, corporate/tax doesn't seem to have enough revenue to retain but trainees welcome.

Alternatively, if you really want corporate you can wait until the market stabilises in your grad year. By the time you get called, the economy should be recovering as we move past this climate.

How important are grades to secure a TC? Say, is it difficult for a NUS >4.0 GPA undergrad to get a TC in insolv (big 4/blackoak)?
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  #5136 (permalink)  
Old 27-04-2020, 05:11 PM
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Default Why locals don't make partner in the MC firms

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Why are there so few local grads who make partners at the big international law firms based in SG? Would it not make more sense to hire locals, since they are based in SG after all??
I have had the benefit of lots of time to think about this. I was in an MC firm and left for reasons you will see below.

I speak for what i understood of the MC firm i was from, and the time i spent there. Silver circle firms, local firms, i do not speak for those, their requirements are easier to meet from what i have heard.

(1) You need a big book of business, to make partner. It is not a small number like S$500k annual revenue. Think several times that. This is a big book, and you don't make it from a one-time big deal, those count only to a small extent.
(2) Most locals are not so enterprising, they dont think about growing their book at a young PQE (think, 3 to 5 PQE). Most start when it's too late, think 10 PQE! That is way too late and you become expensive for the firm
(3) When the firm pushes you to try for partnership, obviously you do not have a book of business. And it's very, very challenging. Numerous Singaporeans fall at this. Numerous Hong Kongers fall at this. Numerous relatively senior lawyers in all sorts of Asian jurisdictions fall at this.
(4) For those who started early, good for them. I was lucky enough to be encouraged to start early, and I did. In the next 5 to 7 years, i can imagine having built a big book by then. Work comes when you are known for what you do and give good service. People recommend you! That's the best part.
(5) Yes, partnership is possible, and i knew a few others my age or several years older, from other offices in the network, whom i felt were in the same boat - junior, but when you hit senior associate, you know you will have a decent book of business.
(6) However, I left, and some of those individuals i mention above, left.
(7) Why? Because those of us who have the balls and the gumption to think we can make partner in an MC firm, contrary to what all our local friends say, or laugh at us for thinking so, or dismiss us - we realize there are some pretty good jobs out there, outside of law!
(8) With the networking skills we picked up, we found a lot more outside. Big risk, but potentially bigger reward.

So that's it in a nutshell. Looking back i wonder if i should've stayed. I still enjoy chasing work, chasing clients and winning them over, getting to know new clients. But i also enjoy doing other things now, new businesses, no longer a slave to multiple clients (yes we all have clients wherever we work, but it's very different as a legal services provider). I even get less rest now, but it's so refreshing to not check emails for an hour (i'm still checking more than i should, but that's my personal problem).

When i was in the firm i would check every 5 mins (yes immediately after i shower). Why? Because they were MY clients, and i had to take good care of them. And it is this same behaviour which helps you build a book!
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  #5137 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-2020, 10:18 AM
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How important are grades to secure a TC? Say, is it difficult for a NUS >4.0 GPA undergrad to get a TC in insolv (big 4/blackoak)?
This highly varies.

For Blackoak, they seem to be quite keen on FCH (one of the partners has told me personally that s/he would only hire a FCH, a little hypocritical given that s/he doesn't have one).

For big 4, >4.0 GPA is fine. Just apply early and do well in your interview. But of course, this also depends on the strength of the cohort applying in your year. Grades do play a major part in the hiring process without a doubt.
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  #5138 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-2020, 11:35 AM
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This highly varies.

For Blackoak, they seem to be quite keen on FCH (one of the partners has told me personally that s/he would only hire a FCH, a little hypocritical given that s/he doesn't have one).

For big 4, >4.0 GPA is fine. Just apply early and do well in your interview. But of course, this also depends on the strength of the cohort applying in your year. Grades do play a major part in the hiring process without a doubt.
Insolv work is a solid practice area. You have a stream of panel work from liquidators and you get to fight contested cases in the High Court. The security of "farmer" work with the prestige of "eat-what-you-kill" work (litigators will know what this analogy is).
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  #5139 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2020, 12:04 AM
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This lawmentors shite seems very suspicious.

Paying JPs and SAs to place you in internships and training contracts??

You don't have to be a lawyer to see how this is a bad idea for all involved. Which makes me question the abilities of the architects of this scheme.
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  #5140 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2020, 12:42 AM
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There is something real sleazy about practicing lawyers moonlighting as recruiters for fresh graduates.
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