Law academy rolling out $1.9m support package for legal sector

The Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) will be rolling out support measures to help individuals in the legal profession as well as law firms.

More than 9,000 SAL members will benefit from a $1.9 million package to help the legal profession cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a video address to SAL members on Wednesday, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who is also president of SAL, said: "The academy is deeply aware of the daunting challenges faced by our members. It is unlikely that we will be able to return to our usual way of doing business for some time."

In a survey conducted last month with about 400 practitioners and in-house counsel, SAL found that 83 per cent of practitioners reported a decrease in new cases and revenue, while 75 per cent of in-house counsel saw an increase in workload in areas such as crisis management and employment issues.

The survey also found that 34 per cent of respondents expressed a need for business process re-engineering to save costs, while 65 per cent called for learning and development opportunities.

As part of the support measures, all eligible SAL members will receive a one-time credit of $150 tomorrow, which can be used to purchase SAL legal publications and to sign up for learning and development programmes.

Law firms which currently subscribe to legal research portal LawNet will have two months of their basic subscription fees waived. This will be reflected in their June and July invoices.

In addition, up to 40 small law firms - those with no more than five lawyers - can apply for a free business process re-engineering package to streamline their work practices. The package typically costs $5,000.

SAL has a dedicated Covid-19 microsite - covid.sal.sg - which features news on the pandemic's impact on the legal industry, as well as digital resources such as guides to practising from home, podcasts on innovation and articles on online advocacy.

SAL chief executive Serene Wee said: "We hope that (the measures) will be of some relief and will allow the profession to emerge stronger and ready for the future."

  • 83% 

  • Proportion of practitioners who reported a decrease in new cases and revenue, in a survey of about 400 practitioners and in-house counsel last month.

 
 
 
 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2020, with the headline 'Law academy rolling out $1.9m support package for legal sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe