Saturday, March 28, 2009

Help with Full Subsidy of Compulsory Qualification Expenses

LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE ON 28 MARCH 2009

Last week, I wrote to you about the need for the Law Society to extend help to pupils, who have not been retained by various law firms. I am happy that the Law Society has acted quickly to look into this matter and is continuing to do so.

I want to highlight to you another disturbing practice that I think the Law Society should look into and help resolve in relation to unretained pupils: reimbursement of PLC, EFS, dining and other compulsory filing fees.

At least one large law firm has a commendable practice. This large law firm fully subsidises PLC, EFS, dining and other compulsory filing fees, provided pupillage is completed with them.

However, there are law firms, who do not observe this practice. Instead, what follows in the next paragraph has been a typical story so far.

Several of these pupils were made to work long hours, burn their weekends and holidays, and consciously take steps to distance themselves from their loved ones. These sacrifices were made with the promise and expectation of lucrative retention contracts. Now, as the end of their pupillage period draws near and the utility of the pupil to the law firm comes to an end, these pupils have been told that they will not be retained. In most cases, this is no fault of the unretained pupils but attributable largely to the ambitious recruitment planning of their respective law firms. These unretained pupils will now be penalised by the forfeiture of PLC, EFS, dining and other compulsory filing fees.

As young lawyers enter practice, they are told legendary tales of the unity of our profession and about how we never fail to help one of our own in trouble. It is time to bring such legends home.

I hope the Law Society will enter into discussions with law firms, who have not retained pupils, to help the affected pupils get their PLC, EFS, dining and other compulsory filing fees reimbursed.

Happiness,
Dharmendra Yadav

Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this?

1 comment:

Max NG said...

I note your comments, with some emphathy for the situation of the current pupils. To an extent however, I feel that perhaps some of the fault lies in the hands of the pupils when selecting law firms to join. Most of the them are simply drawn to the biggest and the the best-paying firms (at that time), without regard for other factors. Perhaps more can be done by the Law School Class Committees to assist them with undertaking more due diligence, before making their decisions. In any case, I think that the current economic situation impacts all lawyers, not just the pupils - so we all just have to keep our chins up, and learn to survive this recession. With sufficient fortitude and strength of character, we will all get through this together! :)