Get lawyers to go into family, criminal law

Get lawyers to go into family, criminal law

The letter ("Panel did not highlight shortage of lawyers: Ministry" by Ms Praveen Randhawa, Press Secretary to Minister, Ministry of Law; Aug 28) may have misunderstood Miss Annia Hsu's letter ("Not easy to get law grads to enter other fields"; Aug 24).

Given the context, one would infer that Miss Hsu was advocating a cap on the number of Singaporeans with foreign law degrees entering the local market.

The ministry may have underestimated the willingness and ability of Singapore parents to send their children overseas to pursue law degrees.

I have no issues with the ministry choosing to recognise law degrees from a large number of foreign institutions, as these produce lawyers with a more global outlook. However, this contributes to an oversupply of lawyers.

The bigger problem is the mismatch between supply and demand. The 4th Committee on the Supply of Lawyers had highlighted a shortage of family and criminal practitioners, and the ministry seems to hope a third law school will ease this shortage.

It does not make sense to increase supply in an already oversaturated market.

Instead, the ministry could perhaps engage law students (studying here and overseas) on the merits of joining such practice areas, which they may have shunned because of a lack of information.

Lawyers without training contracts would certainly consider careers in these areas, which are well worth pursuing.

George Goh Chong Teck

This article was first published on Sep 5, 2014.
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