Young ex-lawyers left to pursue passions, in an exodus that worries legal profession

SINGAPORE – Once a corporate lawyer at a large firm, he now finds greater fulfilment selling craft matcha.

Mr Elias Tiong, 29, the co-founder of Craft Tea Fox, entered law school in 2013 after doing well in his A levels.

“People around me then said studying law was a good option, offering flexibility and open doors,” he said.

Graduating after four years, he went into training at a large law firm.

But it was after this training that he realised practice was not something he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

“To be clear, I didn’t really dislike law itself,” he said.

“But some aspects of corporate legal work felt less meaningful, and left me feeling like a paper-pusher. Part of me felt I wouldn’t be able to find meaning in this work in the long run.”

Mr Tiong co-founded Craft Tea Fox as a side hustle, building it slowly on weekends while he continued his day job as a lawyer.

But after about two years, he left the firm and decided to focus on his business full time.

He told The Straits Times that his parents were initially worried, but have been supportive.

“No parent will tell you quit your law job for something so risky,” he said.

“From our parents’ perspective, it can be seen as a waste to study four years to get this degree and now you’re not going to be a lawyer. It’s risky and scary. But the risk is mine to bear, and it’s normal to be scared.”

He added that there have been challenges such as not having a fixed income every month, but it is something he is passionate about and happy pursuing.

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