Overheard

Leaner times for lawyers as firm slashes bonuses?

They haven't been reduced to earning chicken feed - at least not yet - but times are getting tougher for the country's legal eagles.

A leading law firm is said to be slashing front-loaded bonuses for its lawyers from next month.

The cutbacks come amid a slowdown in the legal industry as firms grapple with the property slump, the dearth of new share-market listings and a slowing economy.

It remains to be seen if other top law firms here will follow suit.

A lawyer's basic salary is typically supplemented by a front-loaded bonus paid monthly. Unlike the basic salary, this is a discretionary component that can be more easily adjusted by the firm. At least one large law firm has already moderated its remuneration package for newly qualified and junior lawyers, The Straits Times reported earlier this month.

A few mid-sized firms have made similar moves or reduced their number of trainees because of an oversupply of law graduates.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2015, with the headline 'Leaner times for lawyers as firm slashes bonuses?'. Print Edition | Subscribe