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mburg 11-09-2009 12:17 PM

Lawyer Salary
 
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!!

pp151 15-09-2009 11:45 PM

1. junior lawyers: average $4000/ mth (HK ones are paid double)

2. average salary amongst Singapore lawyers $8775/ mth

3. Ranks 11th among professions in Singapore

info from an article found on the net, dated Mar 2008

"Singapore Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong attributes the lack of lawyers to the low salaries and suggests an upward review. Local media reported last year that junior lawyers are paid more than double in Hong Kong, about S$11,650 a month compared to about S$4,000 in Singapore. According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, the average monthly income among employed residents was S$6,830.

A doctorate in law in Singapore takes anywhere from two to five years, according to the National University of Singapore. At an average salary of S$8,775 a month, the legal profession ranks 11th among professions in Singapore, according to the Ministry of Manpower, well behind such occupations as financial futures dealer, at S$13,449 a month (although far above journalists, a profession relatively despised by the Singapore government, and ranked 104th at S$3,711 per month)."

lalacower90 15-08-2010 09:57 AM

law or medicine
 
is it true that the average lawyer doesn't make much in Singapore anymore? I'm considering between the legal and medical profession, with monetary incentives being one of the influencing factors. So, is it true that doctors make considerably more than the average lawyer, esp. considering that specialists make at least 20-30 K per month?

Unregistered 24-08-2010 09:43 AM

Bump! Interested in finding out too. What about prospects of a law/medicine double degree (if possible)?

lazyplane 24-08-2010 11:26 AM

What is your motivation here ? $ or knowledge ?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7075)
Bump! Interested in finding out too. What about prospects of a law/medicine double degree (if possible)?


Unregistered 24-08-2010 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lalacower90 (Post 6938)
is it true that the average lawyer doesn't make much in Singapore anymore? I'm considering between the legal and medical profession, with monetary incentives being one of the influencing factors. So, is it true that doctors make considerably more than the average lawyer, esp. considering that specialists make at least 20-30 K per month?

Historically, it had always been the case that the average doctor makes more than he average lawyer.

However, top lawyers typically make more than top doctors.

Hence whether the medical or legal profession is more suitable for you depends on whether you are "average" or "top".

elitejc 27-08-2010 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lazyplane (Post 7079)
What is your motivation here ? $ or knowledge ?

JC student here. What is the average pay of doctor (GP) v average pay of lawyer (small firm partner/inhouse)? Yesh I am money-minded, but pls don't tell me IB 'cause thats all connection (I mean, you don't need 10 As for IB if your daddy is head of Goldman Sachs).

Unregistered 27-08-2010 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elitejc (Post 7111)
JC student here. What is the average pay of doctor (GP) v average pay of lawyer (small firm partner/inhouse)? Yesh I am money-minded, but pls don't tell me IB 'cause thats all connection (I mean, you don't need 10 As for IB if your daddy is head of Goldman Sachs).

Your daddy doesn't need to be the head of Goldman Sachs for you to get into IB. Richard Li also managed to become an investment banker with just a Stanford computer engineering degree which he later admitted was fake.

Sometimes they also take in some straight As students to give themselves some respectability. You can be one of them.

Anyway you cannot compare an average GP with the average lawyer because GP is the lower-half of the medical profession. You should compare a top GP with an average lawyer.

I don't have the exact figures with me, but gut feel it should be $25k per month versus $15k per month, respectively.

Unregistered 30-08-2010 03:52 PM

Top lawyers earn more than top doctors, because law is about how much business you can bring in. For the average professional I'm not sure but my gut feel is that doctors earn a bit more, but anyway one must consider that it takes more years of study both undergrad and specialist training to move up as a doctor, lawyers start earlier and at higher pay (currently 5k or so at big firms, more at foreign firms), and no need to study further.

Unregistered 30-08-2010 11:04 PM

@eliteJC

Lawyers make money the hard way. We slog and earn peanuts (literally) compared to other professions. What we currently have though is stability. If you slog away long enough, you are able to progress to a certain stage/income which is not shabby but will never make you rich.

I suspect that it is the same for doctors.

The simple reason is that our professions are not scalable. How can it be when we bill an hourly rate or a per patient rate? Every ounce of effort brings in the commensurate amount of cash.

If you want to strike it rich, you need a scalable profession. Where exerting an ounce of effort may be met with a disproportionate return. Examples include traders, private equity guys and businessmen. A few big successes may sometimes be enough for them to retire. Note, the downside is that they take on greater risks in that they have lower job security.

My classmates who want to strike it rich did not practice law (despite their law degree). They became traders.

My advice in short? Consider neither, if money is the be all and end all. Unless of course you don't think you are good enough to make it as a trader (my case, sadly).

Sam

Unregistered 31-08-2010 01:58 AM

law of averages, my friend. i've met plenty of struggling entrepreneurs and traders who are dead-broke. but almost no poor lawyers/doctors.

So the bottom line is, if you want an almost certain way of living a comfortable lifestyle (read: BMW, Condo) in SG, law or medicine seems to be the way to go.

But if you're the kind who thrives on luck, then I agree, becoming a successful trader or a businessman would definitely be a lot more lucrative (read: Ferrari/Bentley, GCB) than law or medicine.

Unregistered 31-08-2010 08:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7149)
law of averages, my friend. i've met plenty of struggling entrepreneurs and traders who are dead-broke. but almost no poor lawyers/doctors.

So the bottom line is, if you want an almost certain way of living a comfortable lifestyle (read: BMW, Condo) in SG, law or medicine seems to be the way to go.

But if you're the kind who thrives on luck, then I agree, becoming a successful trader or a businessman would definitely be a lot more lucrative (read: Ferrari/Bentley, GCB) than law or medicine.

well said.

Unregistered 31-08-2010 10:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7149)
...
But if you're the kind who thrives on luck, then I agree, becoming a successful trader or a businessman would definitely be a lot more lucrative (read: Ferrari/Bentley, GCB) than law or medicine.

Many successful traders and businessmen, especially traders, would disagree with you. They will say it's due to their skills, acumen, intelligence, experience that they become successful. Some will go on to write books, give interviews and seminars to talk about their road to success... and make more money along the way. There are also a few who aren't even successful by any measure, and yet went ahead on the seminar circuit, and if they are lucky enough, there are idiots who willingly pay them to attend such seminars.

Unregistered 31-08-2010 10:35 AM

To be a lawyer or a doctor, you need above average grades so its not really about choosing your career, but your inate ability. Lawyers and doctors are not poor, but most are not rich either.

I think its more about how much risk you want to take. The doctors and lawyers that I observed becoming rich have largely been successful businessmen. They have taken the risk to go out on their own to start their own firms or clinics. Equivalently smart colleagues who stayed in hospitals or established law firms, have not become anywhere as rich. However, starting your own business involves risk, worry and affects your quality of life, particularly family life. So, its back to square one. If you want to sacrifice your quality of life for money, then head in that direction. Doesn't matter if you are lawyer, doctor, financier or hawker.

In fact, in finance, many become quite wealthy (like the wealthiest doctors and lawyers) without taking risk in starting their own business. They just work for global banks. Doctors and lawyers usually have to risk their own capital. Those in finance that take the risk to break away and start their own hedge funds often fail, but those who succeed like Tan Chong Koay of Phiem, can be worth hundreds of millions to billions, which is far greater than any doctor or lawyer that I know of.

Unregistered 31-08-2010 12:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7153)
To be a lawyer or a doctor, you need above average grades so its not really about choosing your career, but your inate ability. Lawyers and doctors are not poor, but most are not rich either.

I think its more about how much risk you want to take. The doctors and lawyers that I observed becoming rich have largely been successful businessmen. They have taken the risk to go out on their own to start their own firms or clinics. Equivalently smart colleagues who stayed in hospitals or established law firms, have not become anywhere as rich. However, starting your own business involves risk, worry and affects your quality of life, particularly family life. So, its back to square one. If you want to sacrifice your quality of life for money, then head in that direction. Doesn't matter if you are lawyer, doctor, financier or hawker.

In fact, in finance, many become quite wealthy (like the wealthiest doctors and lawyers) without taking risk in starting their own business. They just work for global banks. Doctors and lawyers usually have to risk their own capital. Those in finance that take the risk to break away and start their own hedge funds often fail, but those who succeed like Tan Chong Koay of Phiem, can be worth hundreds of millions to billions, which is far greater than any doctor or lawyer that I know of.

Thanks for this! Do you have hard salary figures? Its difficult to find these without contacts in the industry (fyi I did try asking during my hospital attachments and the med student scolded me :( ) and the previous-lawyer poster guy was very vague on this.

Unregistered 31-08-2010 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7155)
Thanks for this! Do you have hard salary figures? Its difficult to find these without contacts in the industry (fyi I did try asking during my hospital attachments and the med student scolded me :( ) and the previous-lawyer poster guy was very vague on this.

Edit: I am 'elitejc'.

Unregistered 31-08-2010 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7155)
Thanks for this! Do you have hard salary figures? Its difficult to find these without contacts in the industry (fyi I did try asking during my hospital attachments and the med student scolded me :( ) and the previous-lawyer poster guy was very vague on this.

If you read the papers, you can see that entrepreneur doctor Susan Lim charged her patient from Brunei $20m and Teng Ngiek Lian of Target Asset Management was winding down his $2.7bn fund.

I know that locum GPs earn about $7-8K per month and GPs with group chains like Healthway earn about $10-12K pm all in.

Unregistered 31-08-2010 06:37 PM

hi, just curious what is the general consensus of definition of "rich"? how much $ a month, then will u be considered rich? (monetary sense im not talking about work-life balance etc here)

it seems to me that most of you do not consider lawyers and doctors to be rich. only comfortable. but the average lawyer/ doctor would rake in $10-$15k per month after 6 or 7 years of work. Plus their spouse who may/ may not be in the same profession, it adds up to quite a bit.

Is that not rich enough?

(sorry im just a student who does not have any idea of what working life and expenses is like. it would be great if anyone could clarify)

Unregistered 31-08-2010 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7167)
hi, just curious what is the general consensus of definition of "rich"? how much $ a month, then will u be considered rich? (monetary sense im not talking about work-life balance etc here)

it seems to me that most of you do not consider lawyers and doctors to be rich. only comfortable. but the average lawyer/ doctor would rake in $10-$15k per month after 6 or 7 years of work. Plus their spouse who may/ may not be in the same profession, it adds up to quite a bit.

Is that not rich enough?

(sorry im just a student who does not have any idea of what working life and expenses is like. it would be great if anyone could clarify)

10-15k is the norm nowadays. 100-200k per month will make you rich.

Unregistered 31-08-2010 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7169)
10-15k is the norm nowadays. 100-200k per month will make you rich.

100-200k per month is only well-off. 1-2 million per month will make you rich.

Unregistered 01-09-2010 11:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7167)
hi, just curious what is the general consensus of definition of "rich"? how much $ a month, then will u be considered rich? (monetary sense im not talking about work-life balance etc here)

it seems to me that most of you do not consider lawyers and doctors to be rich. only comfortable. but the average lawyer/ doctor would rake in $10-$15k per month after 6 or 7 years of work. Plus their spouse who may/ may not be in the same profession, it adds up to quite a bit.

Is that not rich enough?

Say you earn $15K/pm, thats $225K per year and you are thrifty and save 40% of your income = $90K/year, which you put in the bank. After 10 years, you have $1m saved. That's only enough for a 2-bedroom apartment in the suburbs.

A rich guy should have at least a fairly new sports car, another luxury family mover and a bungalow in Sentosa. Let's see how much to need to earn to afford that the basics for the rich? Since you are rich, you buy cars with cash, but we can look at the depreciation. A new mid-range sports car like a Porsche 911 C4S would halve in value in the first 3 years or a depreciation of around $80K/yr. Get a slightly cheaper BMW X5 for the tai tai wife, which would depreciate at around $60K/yr for the first 3 years so total $140k/yr depreciation. That is around $12K/mo just for the cars. Bungalows in Sentosa start at $15m, so say you put down $5m (new govt rules) and take a $10m loan. Even with todays low interest rates, we're talking a mortgage payment of $70K/mo. So far, we have $82K per month for the basics. Say miscellaneous expenses are $30K a month (2 maids, 1 gardener, 1 driver etc etc), we are up to $112K/month so you would need to earn maybe $1.2-1.5m per year to live the rich life without any savings. However, most rich people save around 80% of their earnings, so for the typical guy with supercars and a sentosa bungalow, the $112K expenditure per month is just 20% of his earnings so he would be earning around $500K per month.

Unregistered 01-09-2010 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7172)
Say you earn $15K/pm, thats $225K per year and you are thrifty and save 40% of your income = $90K/year, which you put in the bank. After 10 years, you have $1m saved. That's only enough for a 2-bedroom apartment in the suburbs.

A rich guy should have at least a fairly new sports car, another luxury family mover and a bungalow in Sentosa. Let's see how much to need to earn to afford that the basics for the rich? Since you are rich, you buy cars with cash, but we can look at the depreciation. A new mid-range sports car like a Porsche 911 C4S would halve in value in the first 3 years or a depreciation of around $80K/yr. Get a slightly cheaper BMW X5 for the tai tai wife, which would depreciate at around $60K/yr for the first 3 years so total $140k/yr depreciation. That is around $12K/mo just for the cars. Bungalows in Sentosa start at $15m, so say you put down $5m (new govt rules) and take a $10m loan. Even with todays low interest rates, we're talking a mortgage payment of $70K/mo. So far, we have $82K per month for the basics. Say miscellaneous expenses are $30K a month (2 maids, 1 gardener, 1 driver etc etc), we are up to $112K/month so you would need to earn maybe $1.2-1.5m per year to live the rich life without any savings. However, most rich people save around 80% of their earnings, so for the typical guy with supercars and a sentosa bungalow, the $112K expenditure per month is just 20% of his earnings so he would be earning around $500K per month.

How many people earn $500K a month!? That's $6M a year!

According to Iras annual report, only 3799 + 39 people had an income of more than $1M/yr. At $6M, maybe only 100 people?

That said, I think many ultra-rich got a lot of money from investments. For example $100M invested in Starhub gives you about $8M a year in dividends (non-taxable).

lalacower90 01-09-2010 10:09 PM

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.

Unregistered 02-09-2010 09:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7173)
How many people earn $500K a month!? That's $6M a year!

According to Iras annual report, only 3799 + 39 people had an income of more than $1M/yr. At $6M, maybe only 100 people?

That said, I think many ultra-rich got a lot of money from investments. For example $100M invested in Starhub gives you about $8M a year in dividends (non-taxable).

Those 3799 people earned S$8.1bn so the average is $2.1m. I doubt its 100 people, but more like 500-1000. Most Sentosa bungalows are owned by foreigners, but some of those 500-1000 are truly rich.

You may think the $8M in Starhub dividends is non-taxable, but in reality, the changes to the dividend franking rules mean that everyone is paying the corporate tax rate on dividends instead of their marginal tax rate. For high earners, their marginal tax rate is probably similar to the corporate tax rate though (could even be slightly higher)

Unregistered 02-09-2010 09:29 AM

in that case i doubt any of us in this forum would fall under the catergory of "rich" hahaha. not even ministers with their $1-$2m salary, thats only considered "well-off".

Unregistered 02-09-2010 11:03 AM

I am guessing most of the folks asking these questions are JC boys or girls wondering about which course to take in university.

I can't speak for doctors as I am not one, but the starting pay for a lawyer, as well as for young lawyers (1-3 PQE) varies with the times.

Just 3 years ago, lawyers in big local firms started out at an average of about $4,000-$4,500. When the global financial crisis struck, the starting pay got depressed to around $3,800-$4,200 with retention rates falling drastically (especially for corp lawyers). Now, with business picking up and the law firms switching to a different pay scheme (paying more monthly wages and reducing lump sum bonuses), the starting pay is above $5,000.

In this short example, you can see how various events beyond our control affect our salaries. There will be more of such events to come.

What will happen if the property bubble in China bursts? Or if US enters double dip recession? And combined with the additional intake from SMU and foreign grads?

Whatever figures we give you now are at best a tentative guide. Up or down, and by how much? No one can say.

In any case, perhaps you guys may be slightly presumptuous in thinking that you will even have a choice between med and law. Apply to both; it isn't a given that you get offers from both faculties (even if you do extremely well). Worry about which to go to when you actually get both offers.

Unregistered 02-09-2010 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7179)
in that case i doubt any of us in this forum would fall under the catergory of "rich" hahaha. not even ministers with their $1-$2m salary, thats only considered "well-off".

Not true. Crude trader at Glencore $4m

https://forums.salary.sg/income-jobs/....html#post5588

lalacower90 02-09-2010 03:11 PM

just saying
 
Well, we are comparing between the careers based on the assumption that we can get into both faculties and therefore, we try to balance between both careers; whether we can get in or not is inconsequential.
I dare say that opinions of the medical sector might change too, given that there is the new and upcoming third medical school in singapore.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7182)
I am guessing most of the folks asking these questions are JC boys or girls wondering about which course to take in university.

I can't speak for doctors as I am not one, but the starting pay for a lawyer, as well as for young lawyers (1-3 PQE) varies with the times.

Just 3 years ago, lawyers in big local firms started out at an average of about $4,000-$4,500. When the global financial crisis struck, the starting pay got depressed to around $3,800-$4,200 with retention rates falling drastically (especially for corp lawyers). Now, with business picking up and the law firms switching to a different pay scheme (paying more monthly wages and reducing lump sum bonuses), the starting pay is above $5,000.

In this short example, you can see how various events beyond our control affect our salaries. There will be more of such events to come.

What will happen if the property bubble in China bursts? Or if US enters double dip recession? And combined with the additional intake from SMU and foreign grads?

Whatever figures we give you now are at best a tentative guide. Up or down, and by how much? No one can say.

In any case, perhaps you guys may be slightly presumptuous in thinking that you will even have a choice between med and law. Apply to both; it isn't a given that you get offers from both faculties (even if you do extremely well). Worry about which to go to when you actually get both offers.


Unregistered 02-09-2010 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lalacower90 (Post 7184)
Well, we are comparing between the careers based on the assumption that we can get into both faculties and therefore, we try to balance between both careers; whether we can get in or not is inconsequential.
I dare say that opinions of the medical sector might change too, given that there is the new and upcoming third medical school in singapore.

I am just saying that you are jumping the gun slightly.

It is good that you are thinking far ahead, but in this case, I don't think it is of much use.

In any case, please note that for lawyers, the pay comes with a high price - long working hours. The hourly rate isn't all that impressive. Tuition teachers probably make more.

Just another thing you might want to consider. Do you prefer a high pay (in total) or a high pay per hour of work?

anotherjcstudent 07-09-2010 09:25 AM

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 :)

anotherjcstudent 07-09-2010 09:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by anotherjcstudent (Post 7228)
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.

Unregistered 07-09-2010 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by anotherjcstudent (Post 7229)
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.

Unregistered 13-09-2010 10:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mburg (Post 4464)
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.

Unregistered 01-10-2010 06:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lalacower90 (Post 7177)
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.

Unregistered 06-10-2010 12:03 AM

How about academia, eg, law lecturers?

partner 14-01-2011 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 7521)
How about academia, eg, law lecturers?

Law lecturers earn peanuts, with NUS considerably lesser than that of SMU.

Rorty 18-02-2011 06:15 PM

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).

Unregistered 20-02-2011 08:41 PM

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.

maximum gain 20-02-2011 10:45 PM

My legal counsel makes at least 300K a year and 250K worth of stocks every year. Good $$$$$$$

Unregistered 21-02-2011 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 9719)
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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