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Shanmugam concerned over jobs for law graduates

With the rising number of Singaporean law graduates returning from overseas, Law Minister K Shanmugam is concerned there may not be enough training contracts and jobs for them in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: With the rising number of Singaporean law graduates returning from overseas, Law Minister K Shanmugam is concerned there may not be enough training contracts and jobs for them in Singapore.

Speaking at the Criminal Justice Conference at the Singapore Management University on Saturday (Aug 16), he said the next three years will see some 1,500 new entrants join the legal market, which already has 4,432 lawyers with practising certificates.

He said on average, 94 per cent of local graduates got training contracts between 2009 and 2013. But only about 70 per cent of overseas graduates secured such contracts during the same period. "I'm deeply seized with the issue, and we will look at the rules to see what we can do to try and make it easier for more students to get training contracts," said Mr Shanmugam.

But he added that "the study of law provides an excellent training of the mind" and should not "be seen as discouraging people from studying law". He said there are many job options for law graduates and they must have a realistic understanding of the market and economy.

Mr Shanmugam said: "Industry as a whole is becoming more competitive than the past, and you can do many things with a law degree. You can develop skills that are useful in many fields. In-house academia, you can go into business. There are many people in banking, public service, arts sector who have law degrees and make good use of them."

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