By Atty. Eduardo T. Reyes III
Just shy of 4,000, the 2022 successful bar examination takers had taken their oath and signed the sacred Roll of Attorneys at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, Manila, on 02 May 2023. This certifies them as full-fledged attorneys-at-law.
The excitement is all over from inside the PICC, the halls, and even on the luxurious grounds that engulf it.
PICC is nestled at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex along Roxas Boulevard in Metro Manila. Stepping on its grassy molehills affords a strategic view of Manila Bay.
Looking further on, the horizon looms. Rain clouds on this rather hot yet rainy month of May conjure up like a wrapped present that holds the future of these promising attorneys.
The backdrop is reminiscent of legal practice.
The new lawyer can bask in the summer sun for a while after hurdling the bar exams, but then the rainy season patters in on short notice. Gray clouds start to gather hiding the sun behind it. Suddenly, the full bright colors of summer give way to wet, yet humid and cloudy days.
Law practice is much like the seasons. The more “seasons” one has endured, the more competent he/ she becomes as a lawyer and thus earn the appellation: “seasoned lawyer”.
Dark clouds therefore are a part of the practice of law. We “weather” the seasons because we “lawyer on” whether wet or dry.
Neither must the summer heat scare us away. The legal profession’s finest hour is when the courtroom heats up with impassioned arguments from two lawyers both seeking justice but from opposite poles. Lawyers do not back down from a legal fight even as they must maintain the dignity of the profession in terms of their language and demeanor.
Then there are the thunders.
They could come from afar as when a new lawyer (or sometimes even an older one) has a forthcoming court appearance before a stern judge. Echoes of self-doubt on one’s capability would always reverberate in the lawyer.
Yet thundering away with on-point legal arguments is another coveted quality of a lawyer worth his/ her seasons. To do so, the lawyer must harness his/ her skills and knowledge in the quiet office and make the most of the “calm before the storm”.
Next is the whirlwind.
Yes, the legal profession can be likened to a whirlwind. It is a weather phenomenon that is in rapid rotation. It changes directions swiftly on short notice. Our job in the practice of law is also a whirlwind of meetings, hearings, and beating deadlines in terms of drafting of pleadings and briefs. Once caught in it, your life twirls. It is easy to forget that there is life apart from work.
Yet just like the whirlwind, no matter how wide its diameter, it must stay connected to the ground lest it will lose strength; we, too, must always have our feet on the ground. It is not only for humility, but also for our stability under pressure; our strength.
Lawyering means years of sun, rain, twisters, and so many storms.
It is a life’s work. But it cannot just be all work.
There must be a season of rest.
At times, we have to allow the sun to stand still so we can bask in it.
The lawyer surely deserves his/ her place in the sun, too.
(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 book author. His website is etriiilaw.com).