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Thursday, October 6, 2022
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MAN CONSIDERING WORKING AS A LAWYER, NETIZENS REVEAL HOW MUCH THEY EARN

I’ve been trying to decide if I should apply for the law as I feel it’s the field that would best suit my interests in politics and debating but I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the field. Most of what I’ve found on the internet is very americocentric but some of the stuff by Singaporean lawyers also warn against going into the field saying that burn-out is very likely.

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Do you regret becoming a lawyer? What type of person is suited to being a lawyer? Any other advice for somebody considering applying to NUS law ?

Here are what netizens think:

  • If you’re in it for money and being able to make arguments in court, you won’t see any of that until maybe about 6 years after starting work.

Generally, being a litigation lawyer (especially at entry level) is all about being part of a factory, churning out the first drafts of documents and doing research on obscure points of law, and going through mountains of documents as preparation for trial. It’s nothing flashy like you see on Suits – actual legal work is the antithesis of what is seen on TV.

As for pay, the current base salary at a big 4 firm as a newly qualified lawyer is around $4,400 a month. Front-loaded bonus makes it about $5,400. The only issue is that hours are frequently 9am – 12am, and you will more likely than not be required to work weekends, especially for litigation lawyers. The hourly pay isn’t that attractive and this is why the attrition rate is so high.

As another commenter has pointed out, apply for internships to get a rough idea to see if you’ll like the work. However you have to be realistic as well – you won’t be doing any meaningful work as an intern being one that has no legal experience, especially since you’re not in law school yet. Your goal of applying for an internship should therefore just be to get a feel of what type of work you’ll potentially be facing (in law school and in a law firm) and to determine if you think that’s for you.

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  • Alternate route for money: get into a US firm. They don’t have the concept of a training contract so you’ll be an associate right off the bat. Base salary at 0 PQE is comfortably 5 digits per month. By 4 PQE you’ll be an accredited investor from base salary alone, and your peers will be wondering what they’re doing with their lives.
  • I went to law school for the money and didn’t regret it. My interests and what makes me happy lies outside of law, and a law career helps to fund that (not that I have excessively expensive hobbies) and life in general. My personal experience is that if you go into law with an aim to “be a good lawyer”, you’re more likely to get disillusioned as your ambition conflicts with reality (sacrifices you make for the long hours, mental health etc., more on that below).
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