‘Noticeable’ rise in breaches of standards in legal occupation: Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon & More Trending News



In his speech as president of the Law Society of Singapore, Mr Adrian Tan famous that membership had shrunk for the primary time in 5 years after rising year-on-year from 2017 to 2021. 

Membership reached a excessive of 6,333 in 2021 earlier than dropping by round 1 per cent to six,273 final yr. 

This lower was “small” however its significance “large”, mentioned Mr Tan.

The drop got here from junior attorneys in follow for fewer than 5 years, in response to Mr Tan. Their numbers dipped by 7 per cent from 2,214 in August 2021 to 2,048 final August. 

“That alarming reduction should be viewed alongside another worrisome trend concerning the rate at which new lawyers are called to the Bar,” mentioned Mr Tan.

In August 2021, solely 613 new attorneys had been referred to as to the Bar, a drop of greater than 100 from 2020. In 2022, the quantity of attorneys referred to as to the Bar dwindled additional to 597. 

“In brief, after years of regular progress, we’ve had successive years the place the quantity of incoming attorneys has declined. And final yr noticed the quantity dip under 600 for the primary time in half a decade.

“To sum up, more young lawyers are leaving the profession, and fewer new lawyers are replacing them, such that the overall number of lawyers has dipped for the first time in half a decade,” mentioned Mr Tan, including that the Law Society has commissioned a examine to analyze the explanations behind the decline. 

He added: “Before the pandemic, attorneys would have had a interval of orientation and adjustment. They would have labored shoulder-to-shoulder with their colleagues, accompanied their seniors at conferences and hearings, and celebrated or commiserated over midnight suppers. They would have fought in the trenches, met with victory and defeat, and seen how seasoned attorneys coped with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

“Because, after all, for young lawyers, training happens in the gaps and spaces between cases and tasks, where questions are asked and answered, tricks are learnt, jokes are told, and friendships are made, meaning is found in the work that we do.” 

The cohorts of 2020 and 2021 misplaced these alternatives and solely noticed the comfort of working from house, Mr Tan mentioned. 

New attorneys have missed the camaraderie and sense of unified function from working as a staff, he added. 

“The truth is that, after the pandemic, young lawyers have tasted a new way of working … with flexible hours. And they like it. Today, increasing number of young lawyers expect law firms to support them if they prefer to work remotely.”

While younger individuals would possibly need to expertise jobs and gigs throughout totally different industries, such a mindset doesn’t work for legislation, which requires sheer expertise, long-term specialisation and maturity of judgement over time, mentioned the Law Society president. 

In order to draw younger attorneys, the legal business must reshape itself, mentioned Mr Tan.

Senior attorneys want to point out juniors why they selected the occupation whereas juniors ought to use their expertise and data to “make someone’s life better”. 

Chief Justice Menon agreed that the occupation might be perceived as much less engaging on account of an absence of group and mentorship attributable to a way of isolation from distant working. 

Another issue is likely to be wage, which was cited as a push issue by some who selected to depart the occupation, he added. 

Lawyers have historically been well-compensated, though salaries are topic to market forces, the Chief Justice famous. These forces have lately put “considerable pressure” on salaries, with the Legal Service and the Judicial Service lately adjusting salaries and their compensation frameworks to slim the hole, particularly for youthful officers, he added. 

“That said, we should also recognise that those who come to the law because they think it is a road to quick riches will likely find disappointment,” mentioned Chief Justice Menon.

“Law is a demanding vocation, it takes time, decades in fact to achieve a high degree of competence. It is therefore best seen as a calling to be answered … rather than as a gig to be experienced … simply stated money cannot be the reason to do what we do, in the spirit in which we are called to do it,” he added.

‘Noticeable’ rise in breaches of standards in legal occupation: Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon

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‘Noticeable’ rise in breaches of standards in legal occupation: Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon

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‘Noticeable’ rise in breaches of standards in legal occupation: Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon

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