The Road to a More Equitable System of Legal Practice Training
This is an extended version of my post on LinkedIn,1LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/asherljh_since-the-topic-of-practice-training-has-activity-7036725414005784576-Ci0K to which the President of the Law Society responded thoroughly. I am grateful for the chance to write here in my capacity as a law student at NUS. I am grateful for all the friends that helped and encouraged me, Nicholas Khong for your incisive feedback, and especially Yong De Wei and Xavier Tan for your immense assistance. I represent my views only, and any mistakes in the article are mine alone.
Legal trainees in Singapore currently undergo a practice training period (PTP) of six months. This is set to increase to 12 months in 2025, following the recommendations by the CPTL to improve the training regime. However, the recommendations seem to make the profession even less appealing and almost hostile to potential entrants.
This is particularly relevant now as the profession attempts to attract and retain new lawyers. In 2022, the profession experienced a 1% decline in the number of practising lawyers, largely due to the departure of 7% of young lawyers and fewer new lawyers being called.2Opening of the Legal Year 2023: Address by the President of the Law Society. (10)-(18). https://law-society-singapore-prod.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/2023/01/Opening-of-Legal-Year-2023-Law-Society-President-Speech-Website-Version.pdf Despite the strong public messaging on this subject,3The Straits Times, Brain drain of younger lawyers a worrying trend as S’pore grows legal sector. (Jan 2022) https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/on-the-ground-brain-drain-of-younger-lawyers-a-worrying-trend-as-spore-grows-legal-sector 4The Straits Times, Legal sector stirred into addressing exodus of junior lawyers: Law Society president. (Jan 2022) https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/legal-sector-stirred-into-addressing-exodus-of-junior-lawyers-law-society-president there were no notable changes. Instead, it was recently reported that a senior lawyer and former member of the CPTL opined that paying trainees for 12 months means doubling their outlay, which will work out to sizable sums.5The Straits Times, Changes for stricter Bar exam and longer training for Singapore law grads pushed to 2024. (Mar 2023) https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/changes-for-stricter-bar-exam-and-longer-training-for-singapore-law-grads-pushed-to-2024 There is an intrinsic reluctance surrounding trainee pay and benefits.
But the numbers do not add up. In this article, Big 4 firms will be used as a proxy for the wider legal market because they are the biggest employers. The Big 4 firms in Singapore pay trainees an honorarium of around $2000-$2500,6Anecdotally. while their first yearers now get $7500-$7900.7Ethos BeathChapman, 2022 Legal Singapore Private Practice Industry Report & Salary Guide That means they would save around $5000-$5900 per month, for six months, per trainee kept as an associate.
When speaking with law students, trainees, and young lawyers, it was difficult to find anyone happy with the trainee situation. Even lawyers mostly remembered their time as a trainee as “awful pay, though it gets better later”. Under the new regime, trainees would have twice as long to endure.
If I could write a letter to the King of Singapore, I would plead this:
While focusing on improving the training regime, the CPTL Report recommendations overlook important pain points, making the training regime more onerous and less appealing. But with the deferment of the changes to the admission regime, we have been given an opportunity to consider including additional important changes to implement in one fell swoop.
The treatment of practice trainees in the legal profession has to evolve to fit modern expectations. The sentiments of feeling like “cheap labour” persist. There are two systemic pain points for trainees. The first is the low trainee pay – even if the law is a profession and a calling, putting bread on the table still requires dough. The suppressed pre-qualification pay also perpetuates inequality in the profession. The second is the lack of leave during the training period.
I will venture to provide a few suggestions on how the system could evolve.
Lastly, I make the case that trainee relationships could also become one of employment.
Concern of Trainee Allowances
It was heartening to hear the concern of low trainee allowance being raised in Parliament by MP Nadia A. Samdin on 28 February 2023. It is understandable that the greenhorns in the profession are paid less, being less experienced and having to spend extra time learning the ropes. But trainees under the new regime should be paid more than they are now.
Singapore trainees today are paid little
The CPTL did recognise that trainees would be financially disadvantaged by a longer PTP, and wrote that the idea that trainees provide “cheap labour” must be “banished”.8CPTL Report at (52), (102). This must resonate with every law student and trainee. But it is not seen how this goal is actualised.
Trainees in Singapore are given an honorarium to “at a minimum” cover costs, per Guidance Note 3.9.1 from the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc).9The Law Society of Singapore, Law Society’s Practice Directions and Guidance Notes 2018/2019, p 125. https://www.lawsociety.org.sg/for-lawyers/ethics-and-professional-responsibility/ This payment is an “honorarium” and not “remuneration” or “allowance”.
The Big 4 offer $2000-$2500, setting a de facto upper limit, and the Big 4 trainees only make up roughly 30-40% of each cohort of new lawyers. Smaller firms typically offer less, with recent listings as low as $800 seen online.10Listed on the Law Society Training Contracts listings. Individual firms will not be named. Anecdotes say that the rate has been $2000 for at least 10 years, with a dip during the “glut” of lawyers from 2014-2018.
Trainee pay has stagnated while the cost of living has risen. The Consumer Price Index has increased from 87.4 in 2010 to 108.4 in 2022, a 24% increase.11Singapore Department of Statistics. The HDB resale price index rose from 112.1 in 1Q2010 to 159.5 in 1Q2022, a 42% increase12Data from hdb.gov.sg. https://www.hdb.gov.sg/residential/selling-a-flat/overview/resale-statistics – relevant for young lawyers that do not own a home.
I note that in NUS, undergraduates can take on work under the Student Work Scheme as a Student Researcher, and are remunerated at $20 per hour.13NUS Student Work Scheme Policies, obtained in correspondence with the University. If trainees were paid at this rate for 22 eight-hour days, they would receive $3520 per month.
Trainee pay has also not kept pace relatively. The median pay for post-qualification law graduates has risen from $4600 in 2010 to $6200 in 2022.14MOE Graduate Employment Surveys. But trainee pay did not rise with it. Big 4 trainees receive $2000-$2500,15From speaking with trainees. while first year associates receive $7500-$7900.16Ethos BeathChapman, 2022 Legal Singapore Private Practice Industry Report & Salary Guide The tripling or near quadrupling of pay from trainee to first year associates in Big 4 firms implies that the productivity of trainees similarly triples or quadruples in the span of 12 months. This does not seem likely.
The CPTL Report echoing Guidance Note 3.9.1 means there is no call for change.17CPTL Report at (102)(a). The low trainee allowance reinforces the trainee’s unimportance while delaying young lawyers’ financial security.
Regulation of trainee pay in the UK and Hong Kong
The CPTL Report compared the PTP duration in Singapore to that in other countries, and rightly concluded that Singapore had one of the shortest PTPs.18CPTL Report at (101). The UK and Hong Kong both have a two-year PTP. But the CPTL did not consider the treatment of trainees there. Trainee pay is regulated in both the UK and Hong Kong.
The Law Society of England and Wales recommends a minimum salary of £23,703/y in London ($3100/m), with many employers paying more than that. Furthermore, this amount is adjusted annually for inflation.19The Law Society of Singapore. https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/career-advice/becoming-a-solicitor/qualifying-with-a-degree/period-of-recognised-training For reference, top firms pay around £55,000/y ($7420/m),20Legal Cheek. https://www.legalcheek.com/the-firms-most-list/?metakey=_cmb_first_year_salary while the London average is variously reported as £43,000/y ($5801/m),21Glassdoor. https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/london-trainee-solicitor-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IM1035_KO7,24.htm or £29,973/y ($4043/m).22Check-a-salary, Trainee Solicitor Salary in London. https://www.checkasalary.co.uk/salary/trainee-solicitor-london
In Hong Kong, the Law Society sets a regulatory minimum salary at HK$13,000/m ($2228/m) and will not accept registration of training contracts below this amount.23Hong Kong Law Society. https://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/-/media/HKLS/Home/Maintain-Standards/Admission-Standards/Information-Package-for-Trainee-Solicitors-20220621.pdf?rev=01059b6296244ab2825f3eb09029040c&hash=4D4168AF9BCBC976367AD9A0CCC933A8 For reference, the top firms pay around HK$55,000/m ($9427/m); Glassdoor reports the Hong Kong average as $HK42,000/m ($7199/m),24Glassdoor. https://www.glassdoor.sg/Salaries/hong-kong-trainee-solicitor-salary-SRCH_IL.0,9_IN106_KO10,27.htm while an article gives a range from HK$18,000 to HK$40,000 ($3085/m to $6855/m).25South China Morning Post, So you want to be a lawyer? The realities of this challenging career path. (Dec 2020) https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/advice/article/3114201/so-you-want-be-lawyer-realities-challenging-career-path
Systemic issues with the training contract market
A reason for the low pay in Singapore is that the market for training contracts is only free within the rules governing the admission regime. Training contracts are a requirement for qualification, which guarantees the demand for training contracts. For budding lawyers, the training contract is a matter of career life-and-death, so they are pressured to accept training contracts regardless of their terms.
Guidance Note 3.9.1 further creates an anchoring effect for all market participants, as the pay is to be called an “honorarium”. An honorarium is an ex gratia token payment made for services for which payment is not required.
These reasons systemically suppress trainee pay, and may explain why trainees are paid significantly less than first-year associates.
The pay structure perpetuates inequality
The suppressed pre-qualification allowance also raises the significant issue of widening inequality.
First, students are currently disallowed from working during the Part B course.26Singapore Institute of Legal Education, CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE PREPARATORY COURSE LEADING TOPART B OF THE SINGAPORE BAR EXAMINATIONS, at (7). https://www.sile.edu.sg/pdf/Code_of_Conduct.pdf Law students thus depend on their families through Part B.27It is noted that some firms do give a small allowance and help to pay for the Bar course. But this is not a requirement of training contracts. Then, the student’s earning potential is further delayed during training – this delay is set to increase from six months to 12 months.
Low internship pay poses a similar issue. Many firms select trainees from their intern pool, so it is the norm to do multiple month-long law firm internships during the summer vacation to remain competitive. This pressure to complete internships was recognised in the CPTL Report.28CPTL Report at (50), (161). But interns are typically paid $400 per month in the Big 4. For reference, NUS recommends that an intern be paid a minimum of $1,000 for technical roles and $800 otherwise.29NUS, Recommended Internship Guidelines for Students, https://nus.edu.sg/cfg/docs/default-source/students/jobs-internships/internship-guidelines-for-students.pdf. Students that have to work for an income during summer are thus heavily disadvantaged.
When the norm is to treat interns’ or trainees’ work as purely training, non-payment is easily justified.30For example, during the “glut of lawyers”. See The Business Times, More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay. (Jun 2017) https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/more-local-law-firms-willing-take-trainees-without-pay But the profession has to decide whether unpaid (or minimally paid) work is acceptable.
This suppression of pre-qualification allowance could contribute to the reality in which many members of the profession come from privileged backgrounds.31From personal experience. How many students do you know that own cars in Law School? Also, see (51) in the CPTL Report. The practical effect of “back-loading” pay to post-qualification is magnified with the 12-month PTP. This disproportionately affects those who lack the resources to delay their earning. There may be an inadvertent effect of forcing law students from less well-off families out of the profession.
The Concern of Leave
The second pain point for trainees in Singapore is the lack of leave and the strict attendance policy. This will be exacerbated by the 12-month PTP.
Legal trainees in Singapore are not employees, per Guidance Note 3.9.1, as law practices are instructed to “maintain the status of practice trainees as non-employees”. Thus, statutory leave entitlements do not apply to trainees in Singapore. This is unusual considering that most interns are protected under the Employment Act.32Interns are generally employees, unless they are on internships that are required by their educational institution. See: Ministry of Manpower, Interns are protected under the Employment Act. (2013) https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-replies/2013/interns-are-protected-under-the-employment-act ; Ministry of Manpower, As an intern, am I covered under the Employment Act (EA) or the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)? (2013) https://www.mom.gov.sg/faq/employment-act/as-an-intern-am-i-covered-under-the-employment-act-or-the-work-injury-compensation-act
The requirements for attendance during training are also stricter than in most employment contexts. There are requirements for the exact number of days of training. Trainees that miss days of training, even when on medical leave, must extend their training contract for the same number of days.
It is recognised that employees in other sectors may similarly not be allowed leave during their probation period. But even they must be entitled to annual leave after three months of work.33Employment Act 1968, s 88A.
Trainees in the UK and Hong Kong are treated as employees. The Hong Kong Law Society permits trainees to take up to 44 days of leave over two years.34Hong Kong Trainee Solicitor Rules, r 9(2). In the UK, trainees are typically given 25 days of annual leave per year. Employees in the UK are entitled to 20 days of leave.35Statutorily 28 days, but that is inclusive of 8 bank holidays. So effectively 20 days.
The strict attendance policy during a six-month PTP was already less than ideal.36Some firms do offer an unpaid “call break” of several weeks, after completion of the training contract. But that is not a requirement and cannot be assumed to be the norm. The same treatment for 12 months would be brutal. That is hardly the sustainable work environment to convince trainees that they can build a long-term career in the legal profession.
The Way Forward
I would like to make a few suggestions as to how the system could be tweaked.
As a general point, Singapore could take cues from the UK and Hong Kong on how the training regime is governed. Given that training contracts are a requirement for qualification, firms hold massive bargaining power. Market intervention is necessary, as recognised by the interventions by the UK and Hong Kong Law Societies.
Trainees are the weakest market participants who have no bargaining power but everything to lose. During the “glut of lawyers”, training contracts without pay were offered.37The Business Times, More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay. (Jun 2017) https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/more-local-law-firms-willing-take-trainees-without-pay There is no clearer illustration of an uncompetitive market and unequal bargaining power.
First, publication of pay and benefit information, as is done in the UK, may make the market more transparent and competitive. This builds on the excellent recommendation from the CPTL Report to reduce information asymmetry for training contract applications through publication of training and retention information by firms.38CPTL Report at (49), (165).
Second, Guidance Note 3.9.1 is the prevailing advisory on training contracts in Singapore. It could be amended to include a recommended, non-mandatory, minimum pay for trainees, like the UK. This amount can be reviewed annually to keep pace with inflation. This is justifiable on grounds that trainees deserve at least a fair and reasonable pay.
Alternatively, it could recommend that trainees be paid approximately half of what first-year associates are paid, tying trainee pay to associate salaries. As above, the tripling or near quadrupling of pay a between a trainee and first-year associate that differs by only 12 months of work experience is difficult to justify. This suggestion is supported by practices overseas. Trainees in the UK are paid at roughly 45-60% of the rate of newly qualified associates.39Chambers Student UK. How much do trainee lawyers and NQs earn? https://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/law-firms/law-firm-salaries-compared
To defray the costs of training, the CPTL Report has suggested that trainees’ work could be charged out if clients agree.40CPTL Report at (102)(a). The guideline hourly rates in England and Wales set a trainee’s hourly rates at roughly two-thirds of solicitors with less than 4-years’ PQE.41HM Courts and Tribunals Service, Guidance: Solicitors’ guideline hourly rates. (updated Oct 2021) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/solicitors-guideline-hourly-rates The Hong Kong Law Society, on the advice of the Judiciary, sets benchmark Solicitors’ Hourly Rates. The 2018 revision sets trainee solicitors’ rate at roughly one-third of that of solicitors with more than 10-years’ PQE.42See discussion by Deacons (2017) here https://www.deacons.com/2017/12/11/solicitors-hourly-rates-for-party-and-party-taxations-to-increase/ The suggestion to tie trainee pay to associate salaries as well as the notion that trainee output is of value is thus neither novel nor unworkable.
There are concerns that some clients will be unwilling to pay for trainee work.43CPTL Report at (102)(b), and also when I spoke with in-house counsel. Who should bear the “cost of training” – clients, firms, or trainees? While cost pressures on firms are significant, it is difficult to accept that the most vulnerable parties should bear the brunt of this cost. Logically, cost-conscious clients may even prefer associates or trainees on some tasks. Further, the legal profession in UK and Hong Kong show that the costs need not be disproportionately borne by trainees.
Ultimately, the cost of training is part of ensuring the longevity of the legal profession. When there are no formal guidelines on trainee pay, the cost of training is invariably shifted onto the weakest market participants. The changes suggested here would bring up trainee pay across the board, but most importantly set a reasonable floor for trainee pay, greatly boosting trainee pay at the lower end. This is particularly important in light of the doubled PTP duration, and would better support less well-off students that are especially affected by a back-loaded pay structure.
The system could be modified to provide for leave without altering the trainee-firm relationship. Trainees have no leave now as the system of practice training in Singapore expressly classifies trainees as non-employees. This arrangement could be maintained, since there are consequences involving CPF contributions, taxation, benefits, dismissal rights, and more, otherwise.
But with the 12-month PTP, trainees should be at least eligible for the 14 days of paid leave mandated for all employees in Singapore, and not be discouraged from taking them. They should also be given a reasonable number of sick leave days. Using these leave days should not require them to extend their training contract.
A change here likely depends on changes to the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011 (Admission Rules). Currently, it is provided that the PTP shall be six months,44LP(A)R 2011 r 14(2). completed within a continuous period of eight months.45LP(A)R 2011 r 17(1). The former provision is interpreted strictly to require a certain number of days, and the latter provision allows for the PTP to be extended when days of leave are taken.
The Hong Kong Trainee Solicitor Rules provide for 44 days of leave across two years.46Hong Kong Trainee Solicitor Rules r 9. https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap159J?xpid=ID_1438402753974_001 A similar approach could be taken in modifying the Admission Rules, by allowing for 14 days of paid leave and reasonable sick leave during the 12-month PTP. To ensure a high standard of training, the training contract would still be extended when these entitlements are exceeded.
This would set a minimum level of care for trainees in Singapore. It is recognised that there may be logistical and practical hurdles to cross, due to the requirements of the admission regime, requiring coordination between multiple bodies. Enacting this change may not be simple, but it is necessary to ensure a sustainable training regime for lawyers. I sincerely hope that this can be considered.
The case for treating legal trainees as employees
The issues of pay and leave can be addressed without classifying trainees as employees. But there may be a good case for doing so with the 12-month PTP. For one, the UK and Hong Kong already do so. And some interns are already considered employees in Singapore.47See note 31.
Practically speaking, trainees can be employed for a 12-month period on a contract basis, signing a new contract if retained. This would avoid having to terminate trainees for cause if they are not retained. Fixed-term contracts like this have become commonplace in both the public and private sectors, so this would not be unusual.
This would provide legal trainees with the protections accorded to all employees in Singapore. Recognising that trainees are paid for their work may also let them take greater pride in their work. They can be paid at a suitably reduced rate to account for their inexperience as discussed earlier. There may be a marginal increase in costs to the firm, but that only brings trainees in line with other employees. Employers will have to decide whether the costs are passed down to trainees.
Learning and mentorship do not end with the completion of the training contract; the CPTL Report also recommended learning programmes be implemented for young lawyers for at least their first two years post-qualification.48CPTL Report at (140). “The training and education of a lawyer is a lifelong process”.49CPTL Report at (141). An employment relationship and the mentor-trainee relationship are not mutually exclusive.
There are hundreds of bright minds with a passion for law entering the profession each year, but the current state of the profession seems almost hostile to new entrants, or out of touch with our experienced reality. The “employer’s market” for training contracts that then 2015 Law Society President, Thio Shen Yi SC, was “sanguine” about,50Asiaone, Glut of law grads: ‘Problem,what problem?’ (May 2015) https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/glut-law-grads-%E2%80%98problemwhat-problem%E2%80%99 may have created conditions in the profession contributing to the attrition of young lawyers we have now. Training contracts without pay and statements that providing training contracts are a form of “national service”51The Business Times, More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay. (Jun 2017) https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/more-local-law-firms-willing-take-trainees-without-pay are signs of a market that is not completely free. Yet without structural changes, there is nothing preventing this from occurring again.
I am glad our Law Society today is different from the unsympathetic Law Society of the past. As the CPTL Report recognised, “mentors must first and foremost be motivated by the right reasons to practise law and conduct themselves in the right way. They have to lead by example. If they are driven purely by profit and the accumulation of material wealth, it will manifest in the manner in which they conduct their practice and the treatment of their trainees as mere units of labour or as cost centres.”52CPTL Report at (10). We need the Law Society to champion better conditions for trainees and young lawyers. Else, the feeling of being “cheap labour” will continue to be a thorn in the side of trainees, a nagging reminder even after qualification that their work is unappreciated.
There are countless kind and nurturing senior lawyers and mentors in the profession that have left a mark on their trainees and juniors. I am grateful to have benefited from the guidance of numerous mentors and seniors through my legal internships. Despite that, the issue with training contracts is a systemic one and change has to come from the top. I just hope that the system can evolve to treat the profession’s freshest and most vulnerable members with greater kindness and humanity, particularly during the formative training period.
|↑2||Opening of the Legal Year 2023: Address by the President of the Law Society. (10)-(18). https://law-society-singapore-prod.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/2023/01/Opening-of-Legal-Year-2023-Law-Society-President-Speech-Website-Version.pdf|
|↑3||The Straits Times, Brain drain of younger lawyers a worrying trend as S’pore grows legal sector. (Jan 2022) https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/on-the-ground-brain-drain-of-younger-lawyers-a-worrying-trend-as-spore-grows-legal-sector|
|↑4||The Straits Times, Legal sector stirred into addressing exodus of junior lawyers: Law Society president. (Jan 2022) https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/legal-sector-stirred-into-addressing-exodus-of-junior-lawyers-law-society-president|
|↑5||The Straits Times, Changes for stricter Bar exam and longer training for Singapore law grads pushed to 2024. (Mar 2023) https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/changes-for-stricter-bar-exam-and-longer-training-for-singapore-law-grads-pushed-to-2024|
|↑7||Ethos BeathChapman, 2022 Legal Singapore Private Practice Industry Report & Salary Guide|
|↑8||CPTL Report at (52), (102).|
|↑9||The Law Society of Singapore, Law Society’s Practice Directions and Guidance Notes 2018/2019, p 125. https://www.lawsociety.org.sg/for-lawyers/ethics-and-professional-responsibility/|
|↑10||Listed on the Law Society Training Contracts listings. Individual firms will not be named.|
|↑11||Singapore Department of Statistics.|
|↑12||Data from hdb.gov.sg. https://www.hdb.gov.sg/residential/selling-a-flat/overview/resale-statistics|
|↑13||NUS Student Work Scheme Policies, obtained in correspondence with the University.|
|↑14||MOE Graduate Employment Surveys.|
|↑15||From speaking with trainees.|
|↑16||Ethos BeathChapman, 2022 Legal Singapore Private Practice Industry Report & Salary Guide|
|↑17||CPTL Report at (102)(a).|
|↑18||CPTL Report at (101).|
|↑19||The Law Society of Singapore. https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/career-advice/becoming-a-solicitor/qualifying-with-a-degree/period-of-recognised-training|
|↑20||Legal Cheek. https://www.legalcheek.com/the-firms-most-list/?metakey=_cmb_first_year_salary|
|↑22||Check-a-salary, Trainee Solicitor Salary in London. https://www.checkasalary.co.uk/salary/trainee-solicitor-london|
|↑23||Hong Kong Law Society. https://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/-/media/HKLS/Home/Maintain-Standards/Admission-Standards/Information-Package-for-Trainee-Solicitors-20220621.pdf?rev=01059b6296244ab2825f3eb09029040c&hash=4D4168AF9BCBC976367AD9A0CCC933A8|
|↑25||South China Morning Post, So you want to be a lawyer? The realities of this challenging career path. (Dec 2020) https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/advice/article/3114201/so-you-want-be-lawyer-realities-challenging-career-path|
|↑26||Singapore Institute of Legal Education, CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE PREPARATORY COURSE LEADING TOPART B OF THE SINGAPORE BAR EXAMINATIONS, at (7). https://www.sile.edu.sg/pdf/Code_of_Conduct.pdf|
|↑27||It is noted that some firms do give a small allowance and help to pay for the Bar course. But this is not a requirement of training contracts.|
|↑28||CPTL Report at (50), (161).|
|↑29||NUS, Recommended Internship Guidelines for Students, https://nus.edu.sg/cfg/docs/default-source/students/jobs-internships/internship-guidelines-for-students.pdf.|
|↑30||For example, during the “glut of lawyers”. See The Business Times, More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay. (Jun 2017) https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/more-local-law-firms-willing-take-trainees-without-pay|
|↑31||From personal experience. How many students do you know that own cars in Law School? Also, see (51) in the CPTL Report.|
|↑32||Interns are generally employees, unless they are on internships that are required by their educational institution. See: Ministry of Manpower, Interns are protected under the Employment Act. (2013) https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-replies/2013/interns-are-protected-under-the-employment-act ; Ministry of Manpower, As an intern, am I covered under the Employment Act (EA) or the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)? (2013) https://www.mom.gov.sg/faq/employment-act/as-an-intern-am-i-covered-under-the-employment-act-or-the-work-injury-compensation-act|
|↑33||Employment Act 1968, s 88A.|
|↑34||Hong Kong Trainee Solicitor Rules, r 9(2).|
|↑35||Statutorily 28 days, but that is inclusive of 8 bank holidays. So effectively 20 days.|
|↑36||Some firms do offer an unpaid “call break” of several weeks, after completion of the training contract. But that is not a requirement and cannot be assumed to be the norm.|
|↑37||The Business Times, More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay. (Jun 2017) https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/more-local-law-firms-willing-take-trainees-without-pay|
|↑38||CPTL Report at (49), (165).|
|↑39||Chambers Student UK. How much do trainee lawyers and NQs earn? https://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/law-firms/law-firm-salaries-compared|
|↑40||CPTL Report at (102)(a).|
|↑41||HM Courts and Tribunals Service, Guidance: Solicitors’ guideline hourly rates. (updated Oct 2021) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/solicitors-guideline-hourly-rates|
|↑42||See discussion by Deacons (2017) here https://www.deacons.com/2017/12/11/solicitors-hourly-rates-for-party-and-party-taxations-to-increase/|
|↑43||CPTL Report at (102)(b), and also when I spoke with in-house counsel.|
|↑44||LP(A)R 2011 r 14(2).|
|↑45||LP(A)R 2011 r 17(1).|
|↑46||Hong Kong Trainee Solicitor Rules r 9. https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap159J?xpid=ID_1438402753974_001|
|↑47||See note 31.|
|↑48||CPTL Report at (140).|
|↑49||CPTL Report at (141).|
|↑50||Asiaone, Glut of law grads: ‘Problem,what problem?’ (May 2015) https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/glut-law-grads-%E2%80%98problemwhat-problem%E2%80%99|
|↑51||The Business Times, More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay. (Jun 2017) https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/more-local-law-firms-willing-take-trainees-without-pay|
|↑52||CPTL Report at (10).|