LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE ON 22 MARCH 2009
Several law firms have announced that they will not be retaining all the pupils they had recruited. While announcements are pending from certain law firms, there are indications that they too may not be retaining all their present pupils. Most of these pupils affected were attached to corporate legal teams but there are some from litigation practices. This is a clear departure from past years where law firms announced 100% retention very early in the year.
There are several positive signs in this trend. It has prompted more applicants to look to small and medium law firms for possible pupillage and employment. It has encouraged more to consider advocacy work, which remains a growth area in these uncertain times. More have also tampered their expectations of pursuing lucrative retention contracts with large law firms, as the disdvantages and opportunity costs of doing so clearly outweigh the benefits.
The Law Society of Singapore can help in this regard by compiling a list of law firms willing and able to recruit newly qualified lawyers at this point. The Law Society can also serve as a resume bank for pupils and connect them to suitable opportunities in the market. I am aware the Law Society maintains a list here but I am not sure if it is updated.
Similarly, the Young Lawyers Committee of the Law Society, perhaps together with the Professional Affairs Committee of the Singapore Academy of Law, can take an active interest in this area by being more proactive in these times. There are many things it can do in this regard.
The Singapore Corporate Counsel Association has already agreed to render assistance to those pupils not retained and who are interested in doing legal work in in-house legal teams by compiling a list of employers still open to recruiting such persons in their respective legal teams.
Similarly, I understand the Workforce Development Agency is coming up with a scheme to help fresh graduates and apprentices by supplementing salaries with subsidies.
This information can be shared with the law firms who may be open to recruiting newly-qualified lawyers and current pupils or newly-qualified lawyers.
I hope you will consider these suggestions.
Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this?