I am a junior solicitor. In fact, a bitter one. I read law at HKU. I started off expecting to work at a city firm with decent salary. I ended up training at a small local firm with salary slightly better than that of a dishwasher.
You may say, “Hey. You didn’t graduate with good academic results. You have only yourself to blame.” Really? You think I didn’t work hard. I worked harder than most of my fellow law students (as we then were). But that ain’t good enough when you are from an underprivileged background. I had to moonlight to pay for food and shelter. If you really think that it is my fault for not getting good grades, I have only this to say to you: “Why don’t you try studying for years without enough food? See how that would work out for you. You punk ass.”
Gender Bias/Sexual Discrimination
And don’t get me started with looking for a training contract. Turned out, it ain’t only about merits, looks and whether you can work well with the partners. Recruiting partners may buy that my grades are alright. They may like my gorgeous suits. They may even enjoy having me around. But no. They ain’t gonna hire me. Why? Cause I am a man. Yeah. You hear me right. Cause I am a male.
Am I talking about gender bias or possible sexual discrimination against male trainees? Yea. Hell, yea. Think about it this way. Most partners in law firms are men. You know what many of these partners want? They want to surround themselves with young female trainees. Some of these male partners want to go around Central with young girls around them. What better ways to do this than using your law firm and your position to hire young female trainees?
There are law firms who would hire mostly female trainees, if not ONLY female trainees. A certain large local firm hired only 10 female trainees each year for a number of years and their offices are filled with junior female paralegals and secretaries. Rumour had it that one of their recruiting partners go so far as to tell one of his female mentee in the HKU mentor program that the male law students at HKU are worse than female law students at HKU. (SJ, for your reference, that law firm is [redacted] . Don’t post the law firm name in case [redacted] retaliate.)
It got worse when I started training. Some of the male partners prefer to talk to female trainee(s) and prefer to give female trainee(s) quality work. I got talked to sometimes only once a week. Yes, I “got talked to”. I am not allowed to initiate a conversation with some of these male partners. When I did, they would simply ignore you or tell you to make an appointment with their pretty female secretaries.
I am now a junior solicitor. I may still work at a small local firm. But at least I am paid a sum almost the same as that of a trainee working at Magic Circle law firm. So am I still bitter? Maybe not as much as when I was a trainee.
I have also moved to a law firm where gender bias or sexual discrimination aren’t too serious. But this ain’t over. If gender inequality continues to thrive in the legal profession, gods know how many trainees or even junior solicitors would be frustrated. The last thing we want is to plant a seed of doubt in the trainees and junior solicitors on whether they should continue to work in the legal profession.
Also on SJ: Local firm 律師行老闆最愛做的10件事
SJ讀者向來臥虎藏龍 (and in some cases, 餓虎藏龍 )
今次律師投稿，寫下如此高質行業insight，計返每個鐘 HK$3,500 hourly rate的話，真係唔知點計。SJ代表所有讀者感激你的高質分享, (不)開心share。
1. 年輕律師 2年 traineeship所吃的苦，的確非外人所能道。弱智賤格老闆多的是，很多trainees讀完PCLL以為值得慶祝，其實還有最少 2年慢慢受難。
2. 近年法律界的確女多男少。除了讀者所指出的性別歧視 (請個靚女好過)，還有讀Law者也是女多男少，讀得上PCLL更加明顯陰盛陽衰。可能是因為女仔更可以坐定定讀書? (Politically incorrect)。點都好，呢個現象值得關注及研究。
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