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Fresh law graduates and internship

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Clarabelle
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Fresh law graduates and internship

Postby Clarabelle » Sat, 07 Dec 2013 9:49 am

Hi everyone ! I've recently chanced upon this forum and I found it to be very resourceful . So here I am and hopefully my queries can be answered (: I am considering doing bachelors of law degree in monash university next year in Melbourne however I'm having some second thoughts as I heard that the job opportunities for fresh grads would be limited and I wonder if anyone can advise if that's really the case ? Similarly . I have almost 0 idea as to how life as a lawyer would be like so if anyone has prior knowledge and would love to share, that'd be great . Last but not least, how is it possible to get an internship here in Singapore ? Thanks a lot !
(:

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Sat, 07 Dec 2013 1:22 pm

Some random thoughts:
- I think it more important to seek to pursue a career in something for which you have natural passion (i.e. rather than say because your parents are lawyers, or because you think it will bring riches, etc).
- A law degree seems to be a generally useful qualification. Not only in how it makes you consider life and go about your day-to-day business, but how those factors translate into your usefulness to an employer. I see it as a useful ‘generalist’ degree, even for those with no desire to pursue it directly as a career.
- What career are you hoping to pursue, and if law, what facet/s of it? There is such a spectrum of options right from criminal prosecutors, to ‘family solicitors’ who deal with legal matters such buying/selling property, writing wills, officiating weddings, and say arbitrating a dispute over a neighbours property boundary. I think the character behind two ends of the spectrum is very different, and should be considered (i.e. where does your temperament and ego lie within that spectrum?).

- I have a few friends who studied law, and of those still working within the field:
- - One is the corporate lawyer for a small UK TV station
- - Another manages the ‘private office’ (money, salaries, accounts, staff, taxes, bills etc) for an American philanthropist.
- - Another works in a bank, dealing mostly with contracts for financial products.
- - One is in ‘general practice’ within a law firm.

- I’d suggest trying to go and have a chat with a solicitor/lawyer for half an hour. A family friend, or your parents solicitor maybe?
- Sounds obvious but just in case, Google on ‘Why study law’.
- Look at the prospectuses of law faculties and see on what basis they ‘sell’ the merits of the degree.
- See if you can find law faculties alumni associations (on the web), and have a look at what the members studied (from basic degree, through to QC), and what they ended up doing.
- Your last point re: internship. You mean work experience during holidays whilst studying? I’d expect the law faculty to have some framework in place to facilitate internships.

> Just my 2c; and I’m not a lawyer :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 07 Dec 2013 2:28 pm

They have to find their own interships. My Boss' daughter just finished her law degree at Oxford last year. She is doing her internship with a local law firm here in Singapore (one of the well known ones). She is planning on taking a 6 month break at the end of this month as they have literally used her up with 18 hour, midnight to 2 am days 6 or 7 days a week for absolute peanuts and it's taken a toll on her health. (hospitalized last week for several days) Make sure being a lawyer is what you want cause if it isn't, you will never make the grind of a new lawyer.

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Sat, 07 Dec 2013 3:15 pm

Ah that's interesting, as the place I worked we had 'open channels' with the major US universities, so each year we had a eager supply of interns coming through that way (in which case I don't think an intern acting on his own initiative outside of that avenue, would get much attention).

But these were pre-grads, or people between semesters on their MBAs. I don't recall engaging people as interns after they'd graduated. [I'm actually not sure that I fully understand what interning after studying law entails, or seeks to achieve. In banking, it seemed to entail teaching 23 year olds how to use a photocopier, much to their indignation.].

The hours you mention don't surprise me. In some respects being an intern is a thankless almost 'right of initiation'. IME the thinking is that if the boss works 80hrs a week, then why the heck shouldn't you? If you're working on a deal you have to expect it, and if you haven't the hunger to do it before you're hired, you sure as heck won't want to ten years later....

I recall c5-7 years ago an intern at my old place, allegedly working himself to death (or as the Japanese call it, Karoshi. Very sad, but don't go into investment banking on Wall Street expecting any form of 'Work/Life balance'...

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Re: Fresh law graduates and internship

Postby taxico » Mon, 09 Dec 2013 4:42 pm

Clarabelle wrote:Hi everyone ! I've recently chanced upon this forum and I found it to be very resourceful . So here I am and hopefully my queries can be answered (: I am considering doing bachelors of law degree in monash university next year in Melbourne however I'm having some second thoughts as I heard that the job opportunities for fresh grads would be limited and I wonder if anyone can advise if that's really the case ? Similarly . I have almost 0 idea as to how life as a lawyer would be like so if anyone has prior knowledge and would love to share, that'd be great . Last but not least, how is it possible to get an internship here in Singapore ? Thanks a lot !


if you have good grades, most firms will take you in as an intern if you are singaporean.

law grads with top grades have no problem finding positions at most well established firms. most have jobs lined up (and offers) before graduating. however do note you have to go through an extra hurdle of a singpore graddiplaw. details at sile.org.sg

as another member said: a law degree does not mean you have to be a lawyer. if you choose your specialties right, it's an extremely analytical and versatile "first" degree.

realistically speaking, being a card carrying lawyer means (at least) the first few years of your working life will be sh!t as you have to work late most days and bring work home and get used to chalking up as many billable hours as possible. the pay's good though. but first you must make it through the evil hell that is law school. some adopt a socratic style of lecturing...

good luck. you'll need it.

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JR8
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Re: Fresh law graduates and internship

Postby JR8 » Mon, 09 Dec 2013 5:50 pm

taxico wrote:realistically speaking, being a card carrying lawyer means (at least) the first few years of your working life will be sh!t


True, but isn't it also true of other of 'the professions'. It is of banking and medicine.

I'm not sure I'd be too happy visiting a doctor that got through on 8hrs a week of lectures, as an English Lit student might :)

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Postby Girl_Next_Door » Tue, 10 Dec 2013 9:38 am

When you are a fresh graduate, you are at the bottom of the food chain. If you are with one of the more reputable law firms, this means you have to work 12- 14 hours a day, often during weekends as well. This will go on for 3-5 years, until you become a senior associate (if you are outstanding). I have friends who keeps sleeping bags in their office because they prefer to spend their time sleeping than traveling back home. Most (if not all) big law firms have shower facilities, for an obvious reason. I have seen law firms who have an in-house chef as well, again, for obvious reasons.

The first 5 years will be your longest nightmare, but if you pull through, everything after that is a walk in the park. Many have left the legal career to be in-house counsel for a work-life balance, including my husband. He started his career in Linklaters, and it didnt take long before he realized that he can't do this for the rest of his life. If he had stayed in Linklaters, he would probably earn a lot more money, but he will probably be completely wrinkled, stressed-bald and still single.

Having said that, I always felt that legally trained individuals (those who choose to give up being a lawyer and ventured into other fields) are a different breed, they view things differently than your business graduates. I like their thought process, and would prefer to hire someone legally trained against a business graduates, ceteris paribus. However, I was told that the new millennial legal graduates can't take stress and start quitting when they feel that there are too much work to deal with. I have not have any quitting on me, but my husband have.

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Postby PrimroseHill » Tue, 10 Dec 2013 9:56 am

Card carrying lawyer - working hours are most definitely sh**e first 5years. Then it slowly gets better. However, becareful which areas or which law firm you join whether it is a summer/Christmas internship or your articleship upon graduation.
Which law firm you join almost pre-determine which area of law you end up specializing in later on.
And specialization is key. Unless of course you are happy doing probate, wills, conveyancing.
In UK law is a a great stepping stone and there are many specialised areas too and it looks like SG is becoming that way too but a long way to go yet.
I remember doing a spell at Citizen advice Bureau where the benefits scroungers knew more of the system than I did or petty criminals, it was certainly an eye opener.
Fun days :lol:


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