I am finally halfway through my legal education journey! It felt like yesterday that I was going through my introductory modules in law school. For those who are about to enter our beloved SUSS law school, we term the first two modules boot camp.
One of the considerations when considering a legal education would be the financial cost. I just made payment for semester 1 of 2023 and it came up to a grand total of…
$22,090.15! Ok, so that is twenty-two thousand, ninety dollars and fifteen cents!
The typical reaction would be “alamak! why so expensive?”
This is the full cost of a semester without any subsidy. I am one of those who obtained a subsidised education for my first degree. I graduated from NUS just under two decades ago and I paid the subsidised rate for my first degree with NUS. Hence, I am not entitled to a subsidised rate for my second degree.
The question then is “is it worth it?”
After four semesters with the SUSS School of Law, I would answer resoundingly that it is worth it. I would admit that if the fees were lower, it would leave me with more money to do other things. I am not blessed with a silver spoon and even my first degree with NUS, I took a study loan and paid for the fees in instalments once I started working. The total cost of my legal education with SUSS would eventually cost around $170,000. Me, I have come to terms with the fees and I think the true cost is not about money. It is about spending time and energy going to campus, preparing for classes and sacrificing all the leisure time away from my family and friends. However, in exchange, I have learned to become even more disciplined as a person and truly treasure every single minute that is made available to me. I have also gotten to know many brilliant soon-to-be lawyers and have made invaluable friends with so many of them. In fact, since I entered law school, because of the added discipline I had to instil in my daily routine, my humble start-up had an exceptional year. The train of thought that law school has instilled in me. To clearly decipher a contract, and to better understand the Companies Act, these have trickled down to my present career and benefitted me very positively. In my first semester, one of my friends, a lawyer, remarked “go in, get a good legal education, get really good and your school fees will be earned back really quickly”. I do believe that I am earning it back in my current work already.
However, a legal education is not for everyone. I believe there are quite a few in my cohort who have decided not to continue pursuing their legal education. For some, the opportunity cost is just too great for them and for some, the rigours of the course and the sacrifices that have to be made are perhaps too arduous. Then, of course, there are some that after a while realised that the law is just not for them. Some of these would have no problems completing the course with the required grades to gain admission to the bar exams. They go out with their head held high and a greater realisation of themselves.
Personally, I am halfway there but I am not halfway broke. As I enter the second half of my legal education journey, I feel reinvigorated and even more in love with the law. While I do wish that the fees could be a lot cheaper, I am personally in an extremely blessed situation to be able to afford the fees and pursue my goal of becoming a lawyer.
Hence, I am just halfway there and even at this juncture, I am reaping the rewards of my legal education.
To one and all, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! To all my schoolmates and tutors… see you all on campus!