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Singapore law firms urged to tap government's traineeship programme

LAW practices in Singapore that have the capacity to provide traineeship opportunities are "strongly encouraged" to participate in the SGUnited Traineeships Programme, which has now been extended to the legal sector.

These opportunities can include practice training contracts for law graduates, as well as traineeships in other roles such as paralegals, legal secretaries and legal technologists, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The traineeship opportunities will boost law graduates' employability, support them in their professional development, and help them meet the necessary practice training requirements to be called to the Singapore Bar.

"Besides providing our graduates with a meaningful traineeship experience, host organisations benefit by gaining access to a qualified pool of fresh talent and can consider hiring well-performing trainees on a permanent basis after the traineeship period," MinLaw and WSG said.

Under the scheme, trainees will receive a training allowance, of which the government will fund 80 per cent while the host organisation funds the remaining 20 per cent. The traineeships can last up to 12 months.

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The Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) provides a wide range of training programmes which law firms can access for their practice trainees under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme. These cover the black letter law, practice management matters such as ethics, risk management and anti-money laundering, as well as personal effectiveness and well-being matters, said LawSoc chief executive Delphine Tan-Loo.

LawSoc also offers training for paralegals and legal secretaries to keep them abreast of developments in legal technology, cybersecurity, and data protection for law practices, she added.

Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, SC said the extension of the programme to the legal sector is a "much welcomed move".

"During these challenging times, the funding support will help law practices continue to offer practice training opportunities to law graduates and allow them to identify talent," Mr Tong noted. As the legal sector prepares for recovery and growth, law practices and graduates are encouraged to actively tap on the traineeships, he added.

Singapore law practices may offer practice training contracts or other opportunities under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme as a host organisation if they fulfil the following criteria:

- Licensed with the Legal Services Regulatory Authority and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority;

- Offer practice training contracts lasting at least six months, or traineeships lasting up to 12 months for other roles;

- Training must commence by Dec 31, 2020; and

- The practice training contracts or other traineeships must be offered, accepted and commenced on or after June 1, 2020.

Law practices interested to become a host organisation may visit wsg.gov.sg/SGUnitedTraineeships-HostCompanies for more information, and indicate their interest at go.gov.sg/sgunitedtraineeships-lawpractices.

The SGUnited Traineeships Programme was first announced in the Resilience Budget and later expanded in the Fortitude Budget, to support up to 21,000 recent and new graduates of the Institutes of Technical Education, polytechnics, universities and other educational institutions.

It is meant to help local graduates develop industry-relevant skills, build professional networks, and improve their employability in preparation for the economy's eventual recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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