How do I become a lawyer in Singapore?
There are many paths to becoming a lawyer in Singapore, none of which are easy.
The first step to a legal career is to obtain an academic certificate from an accredited university. In Singapore, one can enroll in the 4 year Bachelor of Law programme from either the National University of Singapore (“NUS”) or the Singapore Management University (“SMU”). Alternatively, a Juris Doctor post-graduate programme from SMU will also suffice. In addition, you will need to attain a GPA of at least 3.0 for SMU, or a lower second class honours for NUS.
Foreign degree holders are also recognised, to an extent. Graduates from Australia, New Zealand and the United States must be within the top 70% of the cohort. Graduates from UK universities must attain second-lower class honors or top 60% of the cohort. In 2006, Rule 15A was introduced, lowering the academic requirements, to attract senior lawyers who possess sufficient knowledge and skills to competently practice law in Singapore.
The second step is to pass Part B of the Bar Examinations. This would include a 5-month practical law course, where the pupil serves a pupilage under the supervision of a senior lawyer, as well as certain dining requirements. This will then culminate in a further examination, before the pupil is called to the Bar and attains his license to practise. For more details on how to be admitted to the Bar, click here.
However, life as a lawyer will seldom be as glamourous as depicted on sensationalised legal dramas such as Boston Legal. The larger part of a lawyer’s career will be spent tediously drafting legal memos and briefs. For a humourous yet somewhat truthful depiction, click here.