Of law firm Christmas parties, birthdays, dusks and long weekends

By Atty. Eduardo T. Reyes III

It’s a long weekend that will usher in Christmas day this year.

Today is Saturday, 23 December 2023. Two days to go before the much-awaited day when Jesus Christ is said to have been born in a manger marked by The Star of Bethlehem or Christmas Star.

Indeed, it is a joyous season.

Now dusk has fallen.

There is something about twilight when it ripens into dusk. It’s kind of romantic. Or maybe not so.

Dusk evokes of something that was- a done deal, a foregone conclusion. Twilight signals its coming. The day is done.

What have we done today? Or yesterday?

The extraordinarily long weekend which will span from December 23 until December 26 will be a good time for self-contemplation. Even if we jump from one party to another, spend time with our extended family, there is still an eternity of time to ponder on the more essential things.

I am reflecting on the year that passed. Our law firm has served hundreds of clients- young and old, rich and poor, natural persons and corporations. The lawyers have gone to the trenches one day and then to the plush courtrooms in major cities, the next day.

While we are housed in one building that is our law firm, we seldom see one another but keep in touch through email. Our Christmas party would be an occasion for all twenty-one lawyers to be in one room. Our staff from the Finance, Administration and Receiving and Service Departments will also be present. Family members and loved ones would be there, too.

When the fun and laughter after the party fade, they congeal as memories. Just like the triumphs and failures of the legal teams we dispatch to fight legal battles, they become part of our track record- our history.

What kind of track record would you want for your career? And those that you lead?

The results of the 2023 Bar Examinations had just been released. Applications for junior associate positions in the law firm are starting to trickle in. We plan to increase our number of lawyers to 25.

This will be another opportunity to help shepherd freshly-minted lawyers on how to practice law, devotedly and for a purpose.

Just a few days after Christmas, the one writing this will turn 49. To state the obvious, that is one year shy of 50.   I have been a lawyer for 24 long years. I had been teaching law for the same significant fraction of my life. In effect, I have been serving the law for half of my life.

I take another glimpse of the events during our firm Christmas party in my mind. The senior lawyers who have practiced law for 5-6 years are having fun with those who have trial experience from 1-2 years to 3-4 years.

Each one of them is making their own mark in the legal profession. Many of them have become law or college professors. I’ve heard stories from clients and other lawyers how they have thundered away inside the courtroom and chased injustice out of it.

Yet today they are like children who don’t seem to mind anything as it seems that the sun is standing still. And dusk is far away.

I engage in introspection as my date of birth falls after Christmas and just before the year concludes.

My birthday each year is that time when twilight ripens into dusk.

As I turn to get back inside the venue and their voices become little, like a happy father, I am overwhelmed by one thought: that I must be doing something right in my life.

                (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 etriiilaw.com).