In defence of the legal profession
IT IS heartening to note that many law firm interns have positive experiences during their internships ("Internships and the making of future lawyers"; Monday).
A minority, however, were not impressed by the lawyers they encountered.
As a lawyer, I would like to say this: A vast majority of lawyers are nothing like the "off-putting" ones referred to in the article.
While I have come across such off-putting individuals in my professional capacity, these encounters are extremely few and far between.
Most lawyers I know devote significant time to volunteer work (whether in pro bono cases or otherwise), or serve the profession in some capacity (whether by volunteering for positions in the Law Society or the Singapore Academy of Law), and genuinely act as mentors.
Members of the profession also give back to the younger generation by being adjunct tutors in the law schools.
The "cash-milking machine(s)" analogy is also probably inaccurate. One only has to see the relationship between senior lawyers and their clients to understand that.
The most successful lawyers are those who solve problems for their clients and have been their trusted legal advisers for years. Such a relationship is born not out of exploitation by the lawyers, but a recognised respect for the lawyers' abilities, integrity and lateral thinking.
The imagery of the jovial lawyer who does not care about the outcome of a criminal case is also at odds with my experience.
I have witnessed many criminal lawyers argue passionately in defence of their clients. I have personally experienced many sleepless nights before such hearings. Often, the external facade may not be reflective of one's inner feelings.
One must also recognise that the practice of law is not for everyone.
We are not perfect. We make mistakes. But many, if not all of us, do not see law as a business. It is a calling and an art.
It is my hope that the negative experiences of some interns will not prejudice the right people looking to join the profession.