The legal sector has mobilized to fight against the exodus of young lawyers, according to the president of the Bar

SINGAPORE — Amid a spike in departures from the legal profession, the industry has been rattled to help stem the exodus, the Law Society’s new president has said.

“We have started a national conversation about our profession and we are listening to what everyone has to say,” Mr. Adrian Tan said in an interview with the Straits Times last Friday (January 21).

“All over social media, lawyers young and old are speaking out and telling their stories.”

In his speech to mark the opening of the judicial year, he said that 538 lawyers had left the profession in 2021, a figure which represented a high in five years. In the previous four years, between 380 and 430 lawyers left the profession each year.

Of those who left last year, 310 were junior lawyers who had been in practice for less than five years.

Mr. Tan, Partner of TSMP Law Corporation, said it was no surprise to him that junior lawyers are in high demand, as law firms are a good training ground for them to be exposed to a wide range of work.

He said: “Singapore’s legal industry is a victim of its own success.

“Singapore lawyers are known to be bright and hardworking. They are often sought after for positions not only in the field of law, but also in areas requiring compliance, risk management, corporate restructuring, finance and many other lucrative positions.”

But the legal sector cannot afford to lose too many lawyers because there must be constant renewal in its ranks, given the demands of the profession.

He said: “As older lawyers come to the end of their careers and step back, young lawyers are needed to rejuvenate the profession.”

There are approximately 6,000 practicing lawyers in Singapore.

Mr. Tan, a seasoned lawyer for more than 30 years, said the Law Society was proud of every lawyer who spoke up to share their experiences.

“Some have done it openly, and some have done it privately, in messages to me and other members of the Bar Council.

“We want to reinvent the way we can practice law in Singapore, so that we can meet the demands of the client, the court and the community, while balancing that with the modern lawyer’s desire for balance and well- be,” he said.