Message from Co-Chairpersons, Young Lawyers Committee
Heartiest congratulations to the newly called Advocates and Solicitors of the Supreme Court of Singapore! We are the Co-Chairpersons of the Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) and this is our brief message to you.
Reflecting on the Journey Thus Far
First, we invite you to reflect on the journey you’ve taken to arrive here. For many, it has been 10 years of primary and secondary school education, two to three years in junior college or polytechnic, at least three years in university, and at least one year of training! Phew!
Getting called to the Bar is a remarkable achievement and reflection of your years of labour. Yet, getting called is also just the start of a brand-new journey, with many more years of learning and hard work to come.
Any seasoned lawyer would tell you that there is never a dull day in legal practice. Practice is likely to test your mettle and character, bring joy and sorrow, and anxiety and satisfaction all at the same time. Feeling intimidated? Do not fret! Here is a list of 2 ‘Dos’ and 1 ‘Don’t’ to start you off on your journey as a young lawyer.
DO volunteer with the Law Society’s standing committees. The Law Society’s statutory ambit is to “represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession in Singapore”.
The Law Society has a diverse set of nearly 30 standing committees. Certain committees are practice-oriented, such as the Family Law Practice Committee and the Advocacy Committee. Others relate to demographic interests, such as the YLC and the Women in Practice Committee. You will probably find something that interests you.
Our own journeys within the Law Society saw us volunteering with various committees soon after getting called to the Bar. We found this is a great way to meet other members of the profession beyond (the typically adversarial nature of) client matters and expand our social networks.
We encourage you to do the same! Do look out for the volunteer/sign-ups for standing committees of the Law Society, which are typically circulated in November of each year via e-mail, and indicate your interest accordingly.
Don’t be Afraid to Reach Out for Support or Guidance
DON’T be afraid to reach out for support or guidance if you need to. The YLC and the Law Society have implemented various support schemes available to address the concerns you may face as a young lawyer.
- Frontline assistance via the Members’ Assistance & Care Helpline at 6530 0213: The team can assess how to best help you through the myriad programmes and schemes available. For instance, if you have mental health or stress-related concerns, the team may recommend the LawCare counselling service on a strictly confidential basis.
- Relational Mentorship Scheme: A mentorship scheme to pair young lawyers with a senior lawyer, who could offer career guidance and stress management tips.
- Young Lawyers Law Mentors Scheme: An informal peer-to-peer support scheme that pairs law graduates, trainees and newly qualified lawyers with young lawyers in the YLC.
These schemes are all confidential and at no charge to you. Also, for some informal and anonymous (and hopefully at times insightful and/or humorous) advice, there is the Amicus Agony column which is published regularly in the Singapore Law Gazette by the Young Lawyers Committee. Please feel free to drop an e-mail to [email protected] with your query and look out for your query in the next column!
Do Participate in Upcoming Events
With the onset of COVID-19, many young lawyers have bemoaned the lack of opportunities to interact with the wider legal fraternity. We certainly miss the days spent hanging out in the Bar room before or after hearings, listening to the war stories that veteran lawyers shared candidly.
Nonetheless, in the coming months, DO look out for the various CPD events and webinars, especially those organised by the Law Society which are available at low-cost or free for Society members.
In addition, YLC will be hosting the third edition of our dialogue with newly qualified lawyers and law graduates sometime in the coming months. We will have two or three young lawyers share their experiences about learning the ropes during their first few years in practice. We will then have breakout rooms with YLC facilitators so that participants can have discussions in a less intimidating setting.
Event mailers are circulated via e-mail so please ensure that your e-mails from the Law Society do not go to your “spam” or “junk” folder.
As Singapore gradually reopens, more of these events will shift towards being hybrid or physical events. We certainly look forward to seeing all of you in person soon! In the meantime, we warmly welcome you to the Bar and wish you all the best in your journeys ahead.