26 Sep 2016 Posted in Press releases
The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) announced today the establishment of the MinLaw-UniSIM Study Award for UniSIM School of Law students.
The UniSIM School of Law, which started accepting applications from 1 March this year, received 388 applications in its first admissions exercise. Over 90 percent of the applicants are working professionals, including paralegals, law enforcement officers, court employees, and social workers.
Students who had previously received Government support or sponsorship for their undergraduate or higher degrees will not be eligible for the Ministry of Education (MOE) Tuition Grant. The MinLaw-UniSIM Study Award will help defray part of the tuition fees for these Singaporean students.
Each MinLaw-UniSIM Study Award recipient will receive $75,000 for the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) programme, or $60,000 for the Juris Doctor (J.D.) programme. The award will be given based on need.
Award recipients will be required to practise family and/or criminal law for five years in a Singapore law practice upon graduation and admission to the Singapore Bar.
When they graduate, these UniSIM students will join 240 NUS students and 180 SMU students who graduate annually from local law schools. Surveys conducted between 2011 and 2015 showed that our local law students were highly sought after by employers and 99 percent obtained employment within six months of graduation.
The large number of applications to the UniSIM School of Law shows that there is strong desire amongst Singaporeans to pursue a legal career. Many who have chosen another career also have a strong desire to read law. Some who do not get into local law schools have sought to do so at overseas universities instead. However, during the period 2011-2015, only around 70 per cent of overseas trained graduates managed to secure training contracts.
While Singaporeans aspiring to do law have a wide range of local and overseas choices, the demand for legal services and lawyers is market driven, and dependent on the economy and societal needs. Those wishing to study law should therefore enter knowing that competition will be stiff if they wish to pursue a career as a lawyer. This is a point that the Ministry has highlighted since 2014 and made relevant statistics available so that students contemplating law programmes can make informed choices.
Background and Eligibility Criteria on MinLaw-UniSIM Study Award
- Singapore Citizens who are not eligible for the MOE Tuition Grant scheme can be considered for the MinLaw-UniSIM Study Award. To qualify, applicants must additionally meet the following criteria:
- Not sponsored by any organisation for the LL.B. or J.D. programme; and
- Monthly household income per capita does not exceed S$2,600 or face financial difficulties.
- The eligibility of the applicants will be assessed by UniSIM School of Law.
Background on the UniSIM School of Law
- The UniSIM School of Law was set up in February 2016 to address the shortage of lawyers in the fields of criminal and family law. Fresh graduates have generally not chosen to enter family and criminal law. There is also high attrition among young lawyers practising family and criminal law due to the stresses and emotional demand of these practice areas. As a result, there is a shortage of practitioners in these fields, and the problem will become more acute as senior practitioners retire.
- At least 80 percent of the students will be mature students with work and life experience, to provide an opportunity for such individuals to embark on law as a second career, while leveraging on their prior work experience. It also provides an additional path for prospective law students who may otherwise have to go overseas. Professor Leslie Chew, S.C., has been appointed the Dean of the new law school.
MINISTRY OF LAW
26 SEPTEMBER 2016
Last updated on 26 Sep 2016