Lawyering on in today’s world  

By Atty. Eduardo T. Reyes III

The great divide in the practice of law is emblematic of a deep chasm in society between rich and poor.

There are expensive lawyers whose services are offered through the medium of a law firm that only the rich can afford to engage. And then there are those who would accept cases or causes for a much lower fee just to get the client’s account.

This article is not about the ethical or even moral dimensions of the legal profession, but rather a statement of fact.

With the surfeit of new lawyers that entered the fold of the legal profession this year, this could punctuate further this divide.

But to this columnist, whether it is a law firm or a small law office with few lawyers, or even a solo practitioner, in accepting cases, it must not be “the client” that should be the focal point of consideration, but rather “the client’s cause”.

Leading a pack of litigation-eager lawyers in my own law firm, my supposedly dying embers of enthusiasm in the practice of law had been fanned back to flames.

Today’s world is especially tough for the new lawyers as the skeins of society had been rumpled by discordant laws and governmental policies. Finding your way through the legal maze is difficult to do.

It also important to be mindful that there is a human factor in litigating cases in court. Mere rote invocation of the law to be applied to cases will not work. Being in touch with one’s humanity is the best way to proceed.

Having empathy for the client will help a lot. This is because you can only deliver an impassioned and convincing legal argument when you believe in your own client’s cause. Again, the human factor in litigation will come into play when oral or written arguments are submitted to the court. When the lawyer entertains a tinge of doubt in his/ her client’s cause, then the submissions will lack resonance.

And then there are the financial challenges.

Starting out in private practice will be a test of character. Do you lawyer on even with only spurts of financial rewards and months of drought? Will it be worth it?

Many will seek employment with a stable income. But the rewards in private practice are autonomy, test of mettle and the experience of tasting the full spectrum of legal conundrums that society can create.

Too, you get to travel to different places when the venue of the court case is laid elsewhere. You then realize that justice is being administered using the same laws and procedure but with different touches of culture, sensitivities, and sensibilities.

Yet still, there is this universal justice that assures us that “what you sow, you will reap”. The time for harvest may not come quickly; but it will surely come. Even jurisprudence acknowledges that a lawyer is entitled to his/ her fee in keeping with his or her standing in the community.

So, the roller-coaster ride in the practice of law goes on.

And if this columnist had inspired law students and new lawyers through this column, or as a private practitioner and law professor, then we must lawyer on.

The rewards are in store.

(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 and a law book author. His website is