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14-07-2019 10:42 PM
Unregistered 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 ?
12-07-2019 09:04 AM
ivy lawyer
Quote:
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.
12-07-2019 12:37 AM
LegalBeagle
Quote:
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.
11-07-2019 09:35 AM
Unregistered
Quote:
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.
I'm the OP you quoted.
In principle, i agree with you re. setting up on your own.

In theory, i think it will take some time for us to get to that stage of maturity. The fact is that a profession like law and accounting are very much economy-adjacent professions that depend on the briskness of the economy.

MNCs will stick to their international firms.
Big local enterprises will go with Big4.

Essentially, every other boutique/small law firm will be be fighting for work within a very small pool of SMEs [i'm not talking about community law here, purely corporate commercial related work]. Singapore also isn't a budding entrepreneurial hub meaning cutting edge fields like fintech work, whilst available, is unlikely to account for much.

So i think it will take a long time before we will reach the stage where setting up on your own after 7+ years is the norm.
11-07-2019 09:24 AM
Unregistered
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Glad to see a person after my own heart. But hopefully, you don't look like me with the white hair growing out at the prime age of 30
Nope. Went in house at PQE 3.
Life isn't great (culture, boss, etc) but i get to leave the office at 6/7 most days so i see it as a pretty fair trade off. I can now watch all the new marvel movies the week they come out!~ [something totally unimaginable when i was in practice]
11-07-2019 09:08 AM
Unregistered
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
yes to a certain extent. but nowadays company is willing to take in inexperienced lawyer and to train them. I am saying those that has a legal department and not sole legal type. junior legal counsel report to senior and GC. so not really that true connected or aced.

i joined directly after training and part b also. not one of the connected or aced also.
Yes. Agree with this. Having been in house for about 2 years now, i've come to realize that there are a number of companies that are willing to hire right out of part B. I suspect part of the reason is cost - it is now (arguably) as cheap to hire a freshly called lawyer as it is to hire a first year engineering/arts grad.

However, from personal experience... I would also say that pay and progression is slower compared to those moving laterally from private practice into in-house positions. Your years in private practice are still good value from a monetary perspective.
11-07-2019 08:33 AM
Unregistered
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Usually, the normal path is Bar -> Work in big law firms for 3-5 years -> Move to in-house for better work life balance.

Those whom you see going straight to in house counsels after being called to the bar are either connected to someone inside or aced their Part B with distinction. Because normally, no company will take in an inexperienced lawyer for in-house
yes to a certain extent. but nowadays company is willing to take in inexperienced lawyer and to train them. I am saying those that has a legal department and not sole legal type. junior legal counsel report to senior and GC. so not really that true connected or aced.

i joined directly after training and part b also. not one of the connected or aced also.
11-07-2019 06:40 AM
Unregistered
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivy lawyer View Post
I have long graduated from yale law school in the us. now practising in HK. i will be applying for exemption in SG soon.
Yes you should move back to SG as soon as you can. HK is a dead market
11-07-2019 03:58 AM
ivy lawyer
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Agree.
It's a really shitty industry. Nice seniors and mentors are few and far between. Low pay, long hours and lots of abuse. Not to mention, there remains prejudice against mid-career professionals. I had an ex-boss who did not look at CVs of mid-career professional at all (automatic disqualification from consideration). I asked him why and he said it indicates indecision and an inability to follow through. I don't know if this is widespread, but i know it's a mindset that exists.

It's not all bad, i guess.

If you're one of those people who want to give back to society and do community law (and are able to look past the low pay, long hours and abuse) i think you could carve out a fulfilling existence within the industry. I would say that there is more room now than there was before - there's recently been a push to raise the "status" of community law lawyers. They used to be seen as the scum of the profession and would get constant abuse from their "learned friends". It's not the case anymore.

Alternatively, if you survive the first 3-7 years and move in-house, life isn't bad at all. Sure, you don't earn millions of dollars like certain SCs (and you also don't get hauled up by law soc for overcharging), but its enough to live a pretty comfortable life.

Truth is most people leave practice at pqe 3, 5 and 7 or thereabouts. Most of these people aren't "weaklings" who "can't cut it".... they simply realize that there are perhaps other things in life that are more deserving of their time (family, kids, own business, etc).

The decision you make should really depend on what you're looking to get out of this career... and more importantly what you (and your family assuming you have a partner and children) are willing to sacrifice to see you through it.
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.
11-07-2019 03:34 AM
ivy lawyer
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
To the ivy lawyer what are your plans after u graduate?
Since your law school is not registered under Sile?
Will you apply or inquire about exemption? Or aim to practice in sg as a foreign refistered lawyer
I have long graduated from yale law school in the us. now practising in HK. i will be applying for exemption in SG soon.
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