In this series, SuccessGoGo interviews successful professionals from banking, consulting and law to provide helpful insights on climbing the corporate ladder. In this interview, SuccessGoGo sat down with Mel, a litigation lawyer who is a senior associate at a leading firm in Singapore.
What's the best part about being a lawyer?
The intellectual challenge, cases / disputes are interesting, and other litigation lawyers make fun colleagues.
Did anything at school help prepare you for the job?
The law clinic module at NUS was helpful! For general litigation, contract, credit security, torts, equity and ICA modules were useful. Moots are also useful experience for litigators / good for your CV and definitely do internships during vacation time.
What advice would you give to an undergrad to help maximize internships?
Get to know the lawyers at the firm. They can tell you about office culture, give practical career tips and even be your future referees. Most importantly, try to do as much work as possible during your time there, be proactive and ask for work. You can also ask to sit in meetings or shadow the associates to court, try to make yourself useful wherever possible.
What are 3 things during your interview preparation process that made a difference?
I revised my contract, tort and equity muggers as well as anything specific to the department. Some interviewers do ask about legal developments. It is also a good idea to find out as much as you can about the nature of work the department does, including recent high profile cases they have handled. In this regard, do adequate research about the firm/department/team before the interview.
I also prepped for the interview by having a serious think about my career goals. Being confident about my goals conveyed my commitment to being part of the firm in the long term. Also, I prepared responses to standard questions such as where do you see yourself in 5 years, why do you want to do litigation etc.
How do you approach CV writing? Do you have any tips?
Make it clean and logically organized with sub headings. This will leave the impression that you can format docs and write subs, something you will be doing a lot of as a junior associate.
What do you feel made you stand out as a candidate in the hiring process?
In my view, partners are most interested in your reasoning process and whether you can make decisions in a logical/strategic way. In the interview, you should demonstrate these qualities when you are asked challenging questions.
Check out other installments in this series: Interview with a Litigation Lawyer, Corporate Lawyer, Private Banker, Portfolio Manager and Management Consultant.
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