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The Singapore Law Gazette

President’s Message

Lawyers are talking to lawyers about lawyers.

In January, I raised the issue of young lawyers leaving the profession. There was a spike in the number of lawyers in the Junior Category giving up their practising certificates.

It sparked off a national conversation. Many young lawyers responded. They told their stories on social media, as well as in press reports. They discussed the pressures of practice and the demands of the modern client. In doing so, they educated the public on the work that lawyers do for them, day after day. Singaporeans began to understand the crucial role that lawyers play in our economy, the nature of our work and the stresses and pressures we face.

Non-lawyers have told me that they now better appreciate what we do for them.

This is important because, to be honest, we are a shy profession. It wasn’t that long ago that we were barred from advertising our services. Even today, most of us find it awkward to talk about our successes and achievements. We were brought up to believe that our good work should speak for itself.

But that’s not the reality of the 21st century. In the Information Age, if we lawyers do not speak about our work, the public will not know, and our work will not be valued.

I therefore urge all our members to find ways to speak about their cases and projects. Our voices deserve to be heard. We are a vital part of this nation, and we have something to say.

On that point, may I invite you to read this month’s Law Gazette. It concerns issues raised by young lawyers, and the responses from the not-so-young lawyers.

In “To Be Or Not to Be”, Rajan Chettiar reveals how, as a teenager, he wanted to be a social worker. He tells his story of how he ended up making law his career instead.

In “The Greener Pasture is Where You Water the Grass”, Chia Boon Teck talks about the struggles facing law firm bosses to find work, pay rent, pay salaries, balance the accounts and feed their own families.

In “The Great Resignation”, Andrew Chan talks about how lawyers work together in teams, and how teams can be nurtured and kept together.

Please read these delightful accounts from fellow practitioners. Then, I ask you to consider contributing your views and stories about your professional life, and the challenges and achievements that matter to you.

President (January 2022 to July 2023)
The Law Society of Singapore