Law academy waives membership fees for 4,500 young lawyers, those in small to medium-sized firms

SAL announced on Oct 29 that it has pledged $1 million to waive the mandatory fees for over 4,500 legal professionals.
SAL announced on Oct 29 that it has pledged $1 million to waive the mandatory fees for over 4,500 legal professionals.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Young lawyers and those from small and medium-sized law firms will not need to pay mandatory membership fees to the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) for next year in the light of the economic fallout from Covid-19.

SAL announced on Thursday (Oct 29) that it has pledged $1 million to waive the mandatory fees for over 4,500 legal professionals, in its second relief package for the profession.

Those eligible for the latest relief scheme include lawyers who were called to the bar from 2016, and those working in a law firm with 10 lawyers or fewer. The membership fees, which all lawyers must pay, would have cost them between $128.40 and $374.50 each.

SAL chief executive Serene Wee said this group needs the most support, based on a survey carried out by the academy in April.

Said Ms Wee: "Five months after we announced our first-ever relief package for members, the economic fallout from Covid-19 continues, with no sign of abating any time soon. Many members continue to face challenging times and SAL stands in solidarity with them."

In the first relief package, each member received $150 in credits to purchase SAL publications or sign up for learning programmes.

Those who subscribed to legal research portal LawNet also had their basic subscription fees waived for two months. Small law firms received a free business process re-engineering package to streamline their work practices.

To ensure they qualify for the waivers, SAL urged members to update their particulars with the academy. Those who do not meet the criteria but still require financial support can approach the SAL for assistance, and requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, said SAL.