Can I finish my coffee?

By Atty. Eduardo T. Reyes III

I was having coffee one morning and thought I saw this boy whose mom was running after him to finish his chocolate drink. His mom prepared it early in the morning and packed it in a Tupperware and placed it inside a Voltes-V lunch box. It was probably recess time when she checked on him in school to ensure that it will be fully consumed.

Then my thoughts raced back to me.

I have to rush to the courthouse and conduct cross-examination of an expert witness. It is especially challenging because an expert witness will be testifying on a field that he/she is the “expert.” A lawyer must tread carefully in interloping in that area of expertise as most of the time the lawyer will fall flat in his/her face when rebuffed by the expert.

What does this have to do with the boy with a “helicopter parent” who hovers above him to ensure he gulps his chocolate drink to the last drop?


Life’s challenges are better met when one has packed the essentials. Early on, a child is trained to pack his/her lunch or snack as studying the literal ABC’s in school is like a game one has to win.

Especially in schools of higher learning and post-graduate studies like law, medicine, engineering, and other professions, preparation is always key to meeting head-on the challenges that one’s profession brings.

This week, about a hundred law students from the University of San Agustin College of Law had taken their oath as law student practitioners pursuant to Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court. The aim is to mold law students into “litigation-ready” lawyers as soon as they pass the bar.

Indeed, the practice of law is a challenge of a lifetime. Many became world-renowned for building their reputations as great litigators inside the courtroom. Others have quietly amassed a fortune closing deals for clients in the corporate world. And there are those who go to the trenches to serve “public interest” so that those who have “less in life will have more in law.”

As tough as it is, many lawyers begrudge themselves of so many fine things in life because the practice of law just takes so much from them. They cannot even finish their cup of coffee most of the time.

As I am dealing with my anxiety-attack (which is the case every time I’m about to go to court for a trial  for the last 23 years), I thought of that boy who’s running away from his mom because he does not want to finish his chocolate drink.

Finish it, dear boy. Listen to your mom. Life’s challenges are not dealt with by running away. Finish your chocolate drink. It will make you stronger, smarter.

As my thoughts lingered with that boy, I was slurping my last gulp of coffee.

It’s time to face another day. Another challenge. Another case. Another cross-examination.

Then as I lifted my empty cup, I thought I saw the boy at the corner of my eye.

He looks like me.

                (The author is the senior partner of ET Reyes III & Associates– a law firm based in Iloilo City. He is a litigation attorney, a law professor, MCLE lecturer, bar reviewer and a book author. His website is