THE FLASHBACK PAPERS
The UKSLSS Responds to Changes in NUS Degree Classification System
By: The 2015/16 Executive Committee
As many of you would know, the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law (“NUS Law”) recently changed their degree classification system. The UKSLSS was approached for comment. The Straits Times article incorporating parts of our statement can be accessed here.
We are grateful to the Straits Times for reaching out to us, and we understand that it would not have been feasible to publish our complete response. However, we believe that our response would be of general interest to Singaporean law students in the UK. We have thus reproduced our statement below, in full.
In particular, we would like to highlight the point we have raised concerning merit based grading as compared with bell curve grading. The degree classifications that UK law schools issue are meant to reflect individual ability. Ultimately, we believe that as long as law firms are attentive to the different assessment standards across jurisdictions, they remain the gatekeepers in ensuring a level playing field for all graduates.
We are committed to representing our members’ interests and hope that we have addressed some of your concerns regarding this issue. Feel free to personally contact any of us if you have feedback or comments. The team is tagged below.
In Aakash's President’s Address, he wrote the following: “We are currently reviewing our relationships with firms, hoping to expand beyond Singaporean Law firms in particular and Law firms in general. The UKSLSS Constitution at Article 4.3 dictates the Objects of the Society to be 'To provide career advisory support to graduating Singaporean law students.' We will take this especially seriously this year. We are thus even considering tie-ups with non-law firms to give our members the opportunity to decide on their career paths in a fully informed manner. We will also see whether we can provide you with benefits such as skill upgrading programmes.”
Perhaps it is time for an update.
The Society has always enjoyed a harmonious relationship with law firms. While we work predominantly
with Singapore firms, our partnership with international firms has increased notably this year.
We also work with law firms to organise firm visits and workshops that allow our members a chance to develop their skill-set. We publish Weekly Legal Updates to keep our members abreast of legal developments in Singapore as well as Spyglass to keep them apprised of global news. The Society publishes Lex Loci, our student-run annual legal journal, under the patronage of former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong. Our members contribute articles on Singaporean and English jurisprudence to Lex Loci with the support of our Editorial Committee.
In terms of career advisory support, we are cognizant of the need to ensure that our members are aware of the global opportunities open to English law graduates, be it in the commercial legal field or otherwise. In November 2015, we organised a networking event with a panel of Singaporean legal professionals working in the UK, so our members could be equipped with knowledge to consider working in the UK at distinguished international firms upon graduation. As we are passionate about access to justice in Singapore and concerned about the shortfall in the Criminal and Family law sectors, we hope to launch a work experience programme with a Singapore charity this summer.
For non-law opportunities, we have internalised the words of Law & Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam (“Singapore is facing a glut of lawyers: Shanmugam”, 17 Aug 2014) when he said that the law degree ‘provides an excellent training of the mind’, regardless of the path taken in the future. We are working with Contact Singapore more closely this year to connect our members to a myriad of non-law graduate opportunities. We are hoping to provide such opportunities during the Singapore Legal Forum that we organise in Singapore every August.
Keeping our fingers on the pulse of the changing global economy, we are currently exploring the possibility of collaborations with legal tech start-ups. A main focus of the Society is to facilitate our members in exploring career opportunities – wherever an English law degree may be valuable.
As always, we are thankful for the opportunity to represent you. Please do get in touch if there is any way that we can be of assistance. We are happy to receive any comments or feedback that you may have.
*This section, "The Flashback Papers", is for archived articles written by previous executive committees responding to the news at that point in time. It is only kept for the purposes of understanding the history of the society and potential references.