– More than 400 students from 21 junior colleges and pre-university institutions will be spending two weeks of their year-end holidays job-shadowing mentors in law firms and various legal organisations to find out more about what it takes to join the legal profession.
The students are participating in the inaugural Junior College Law Programme (“JCLP”) organised by the Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”) to expose students to various aspects of a career in law.
Students will be given not just theoretical but also practical insights into Singapore’s legal system. The programme which begins with a two-day conference at the Supreme Court will be followed by a two-week job shadowing segment where every student will be assigned to a legal practitioner who will walk them through the daily aspects of the job as it happens.
“Response to the programme has been tremendous,” said Mr Francis Xavier SC, Chairperson of the JCLP Organising Committee. The organisers received more than 400 applicants when the JCLP was offered to all the JCs and pre-university institutions in August this year. “We are pleased that all JCs and pre-university institutions are represented in this programme,” said Mr Xavier.
Mr Xavier is also a partner at Rajah & Tann LLP, one of almost 60 law firms and legal bodies who are participating in the job shadowing programme. The other organisations include top law firms like Allen & Gledhill LLP, WongPartnership LLP, Drew & Napier LLC, Rodyk & Davidson LLP and legal bodies such as the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Supreme Court and the Subordinate Courts of Singapore.
Mr Chan Poh Meng, Principal of Victoria Junior College which has the highest number of students participating in the programme, said, “JCLP provides a rare opportunity for our students who have an interest in the legal industry to get a taste of what it is like to work in the actual environment and hopefully this will help them to decide whether a law course in the university is something that they want to pursue.”
More than 440 students, principals and guests attended the opening of this inaugural programme at the Supreme Court today. The guest-of- honour, Justice Andrew Phang, Judge of Appeal, stressed the importance of having a systematic approach in allowing potential law students to find out what the law is about to enable them to make an informed choice.
A new book, Reading law in Singapore, aimed at providing potential law students with a better understanding of the major areas of Singapore law was also launched by Justice Phang today. In the foreword to the book, which is “commended to everyone interested in the law in the highest possible terms”, Justice Phang said, “An undergraduate who enters law school only to find that the course is unsuitable or (worse still) utterly inappropriate to his or her abilities leads to a situation of waste on both individual as well as societal fronts…The need to convey the necessary information has also to be tackled along several fronts. One path relates to a holistic public conference. I am very encouraged by the fact that such a conference (the JCLP) is being held for the first time this year.”
The Singapore Academy of Law is the umbrella body of the legal community in Singapore and has more than 7,000 members.
The Academy’s activities are driven by three strategic priorities – enhancing legal knowledge, improving efficiency of legal practice through the use of technology and supporting the legal industry. The work in each of these areas is directed towards raising the standards and quality of legal practice and building a strong legal community in Singapore.
Besides its role as the official law reporting agency in Singapore, the Academy’s other functions include providing continuing legal education for its members, legal publications, promoting legal research and scholarship, the reform and development of the law, and alternative dispute resolution.