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Old 07-16-2014, 12:50 PM   #1
xc98
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Default Getting a Big 4 TC?

Hi there,

I'm wondering how large a factor A-level grades are in securing a TC in Singapore, especially among the Big 4.

Here's my background: I was an academic high-flyer from primary school up till JC (GEP/IP) and then I messed up A-levels. (JC was one of the two vying for #1 in Singapore btw if this helps.) Unfortunately – or fortunately – I had no extenuating circumstances; I just liked the nightlife. I did well enough to get into NUS FASS & NTU HSS, but not nearly enough to get into Law outside of Australia. I've just finished a UK Law foundation year (at one of the scheduled unis) with top grades and am about to commence my LLB. I've also interned at a Big 4 during JC, though I don't suppose this really matters.

Assuming I do well enough at uni, will my average A-levels hold me back in securing a TC? In all likelihood I'll have to explain them, but how much of an issue are they going to be to firms' HRs? I know Magic and Silver Circle firms in the UK have a preternatural fixation with A-level grades but I'm not sure about Singapore.

I've seen some practising lawyers on this forum before so I'm hoping someone can give me an answer! Thank you

Last edited by xc98; 07-16-2014 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 07-19-2014, 01:38 PM   #2
MarcusConstantine
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by xc98 View Post
Hi there,

I'm wondering how large a factor A-level grades are in securing a TC in Singapore, especially among the Big 4.

Here's my background: I was an academic high-flyer from primary school up till JC (GEP/IP) and then I messed up A-levels. (JC was one of the two vying for #1 in Singapore btw if this helps.) Unfortunately – or fortunately – I had no extenuating circumstances; I just liked the nightlife. I did well enough to get into NUS FASS & NTU HSS, but not nearly enough to get into Law outside of Australia. I've just finished a UK Law foundation year (at one of the scheduled unis) with top grades and am about to commence my LLB. I've also interned at a Big 4 during JC, though I don't suppose this really matters.

Assuming I do well enough at uni, will my average A-levels hold me back in securing a TC? In all likelihood I'll have to explain them, but how much of an issue are they going to be to firms' HRs? I know Magic and Silver Circle firms in the UK have a preternatural fixation with A-level grades but I'm not sure about Singapore.

I've seen some practising lawyers on this forum before so I'm hoping someone can give me an answer! Thank you
Hi xc98,

No disadvantage will arise from your A-level grades, although some firms may ask for you to submit them. Unlike the UK, local law firms are unconcerned about how well you did during A-levels.

You should instead focus on doing well for your LLB. It also matters which uni you are studying in. If it's not at the top tier (very much based on popular perception, by the way, rather than a reflection of the quality of teaching and curriculum), you will be slightly disadvantaged. Harsh but true. HR personnel and hiring partners are human after all, and who doesn't want to hire a handful of Cambridge law graduates? So make up for it by getting a very high 2:1 or a 1:1. Also, secure internships with the large firms.

A word of caution about competing for Big 4 TCs these days. There is a glut of law graduates from both the Singapore universities, and foreign recognised universities. I graduated at a time where a second-class upper honours from NUS could stroll into a Big 4 easily. This definitely isn't the case now. (It isn't that very long ago either )

The competition for TC places will get immeasurably tougher down the line, and will hit the hardest just as you're in your penultimate year when you're applying for them. So don't be overly fixated on landing a Big 4 law firm for your TC. They're not the be-all-and-end-all of legal positions, nor the only places where a young lawyer can receive good mentorship and training.

Singapore may eventually reach the stage, as in the UK, where a considerable proportion of law graduates will not land TC places, and in the best case scenario may have to take a couple years off to land one. These are challenging times for future law graduates, and I continually remind my aunties'/uncles'/ah soh's and anybody elses' children or younger siblings who are thinking of studying law, the realities of the legal entry-level hiring landscape these days.

So all the best, and do excellently to overcome the challenges ahead of you. Good luck!
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Old 07-23-2014, 12:22 PM   #3
xc98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusConstantine View Post
Hi xc98,

No disadvantage will arise from your A-level grades, although some firms may ask for you to submit them. Unlike the UK, local law firms are unconcerned about how well you did during A-levels.

You should instead focus on doing well for your LLB. It also matters which uni you are studying in. If it's not at the top tier (very much based on popular perception, by the way, rather than a reflection of the quality of teaching and curriculum), you will be slightly disadvantaged. Harsh but true. HR personnel and hiring partners are human after all, and who doesn't want to hire a handful of Cambridge law graduates? So make up for it by getting a very high 2:1 or a 1:1. Also, secure internships with the large firms.

A word of caution about competing for Big 4 TCs these days. There is a glut of law graduates from both the Singapore universities, and foreign recognised universities. I graduated at a time where a second-class upper honours from NUS could stroll into a Big 4 easily. This definitely isn't the case now. (It isn't that very long ago either )

The competition for TC places will get immeasurably tougher down the line, and will hit the hardest just as you're in your penultimate year when you're applying for them. So don't be overly fixated on landing a Big 4 law firm for your TC. They're not the be-all-and-end-all of legal positions, nor the only places where a young lawyer can receive good mentorship and training.

Singapore may eventually reach the stage, as in the UK, where a considerable proportion of law graduates will not land TC places, and in the best case scenario may have to take a couple years off to land one. These are challenging times for future law graduates, and I continually remind my aunties'/uncles'/ah soh's and anybody elses' children or younger siblings who are thinking of studying law, the realities of the legal entry-level hiring landscape these days.

So all the best, and do excellently to overcome the challenges ahead of you. Good luck!
I can't say how simultaneously reassuring and sobering your reply is, thank you
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Old 08-17-2014, 02:20 PM   #4
a820186
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Default food for thought

food for thought for anybody thinking that studying law is a secure path to career security and high pay. you may not even get in!

when the minister of law says that, you know things have gotten really bad. considering how slow our first-world parliament is to react to the brilliant outcomes of their social engineering.

so beware, idealistic a level students! the word 'shortage' isn't what the government thinks it is.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/...r/1316112.html --> Shanmugam concerned over jobs for law graduates

"SINGAPORE: With the rising number of Singaporean law graduates returning from overseas, Law Minister K Shanmugam is concerned there may not be enough training contracts and jobs for them in Singapore.

Speaking at the Criminal Justice Conference at the Singapore Management University on Saturday (Aug 16), he said the next three years will see some 1,500 new entrants join the legal market, which already has 4,432 lawyers with practising certificates.

He said on average, 94 per cent of local graduates got training contracts between 2009 and 2013. But only about 70 per cent of overseas graduates secured such contracts during the same period. "I'm deeply seized with the issue, and we will look at the rules to see what we can do to try and make it easier for more students to get training contracts," said Mr Shanmugam.

But he added that "the study of law provides an excellent training of the mind" and should not "be seen as discouraging people from studying law". He said there are many job options for law graduates and they must have a realistic understanding of the market and economy.

Mr Shanmugam said: "Industry as a whole is becoming more competitive than the past, and you can do many things with a law degree. You can develop skills that are useful in many fields. In-house academia, you can go into business. There are many people in banking, public service, arts sector who have law degrees and make good use of them."
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