LIFE AS A LAWYER: SHARON SAW
Sharon Saw, MA (Cantab), Dip Sing Law, LLM (UC Berkeley).
could you provide a brief overview of your career progression in the legal field, starting from when you were an undergrad?
I read law in the UK for three years at Cambridge University from 1994 to 1997 before returning to Singapore to attend the Diploma in Singapore Law course. I then took the Practical Law Course to qualify as a lawyer in Singapore. In 1998 I also started work in the Singapore Legal Service, serving in various roles such as as a Deputy Public Prosecutor, Justice’s Law Clerk, Assistant Registrar and District Judge. I obtained an LL.M at the University of California, Berkeley. I stopped working in 2015 to take care of my children.
how was your experience as a law student at cambridge university?
I had a fantastic time. The course was rigorous but fulfilling and I enjoyed the constant intellectual challenge and stimulation. I also learnt to be independent and take care of myself without relying on my parents.
what was your day-to-day like in your job?
I served in various judicial roles. For example, a typical day in the Family Court where I was a District Judge for some years, could consist of mediating disputed financial matters between divorcing parties, enforcement of maintenance orders, and managing the process of a case through its different stages efficiently and effectively. Apart from legal knowledge, working as a lawyer requires good communication skills and an ability to analyse complex factual scenarios objectively.
as a follow-up to question 3, did you find it difficult to strike a healthy work-life balance, and why?
Law is a busy and involved profession and the workload is very heavy. As such, it is challenging to strike a healthy work-life balance but it is possible if you learn to draw boundaries for yourself. In doing so, you ensure that you have protected time to recharge and do an even better job than if you kept working non-stop without a break.
what made you decide to leave the legal profession?
I wished to spend more time with my young children.
with the recent rise of junior lawyers leaving the practice, do you foresee the legal profession changing its ways? or do you think it will remain the same?
The legal profession will always be a busy one. I do not know much can change given its inherent demands but I hope that employers will give young lawyers some flexibility in the way they work and their schedules without sacrificing the quality and quantity of the work produced.