By Atty. Eduardo T. Reyes III
Why do I write?
Many people have asked me why I still write for this column when on a daily basis, I write and edit pleadings bound for the courts.
Ruminating aloud, my mom asked me in wonder where I find the energy to still write when she sees me at home all the time with my laptop working even during odd hours.
Perhaps what may be shared without fear of impoverishment are ideas. Knowledge spread to as many as possible makes the writer richer, not poorer. In fact, it nourishes the soul to write and share one’s thoughts.
One of the justices who had ever lived and whom I admire the most is Justice Louis D. Brandeis. He had written some of the most enduring decisions which are still being quoted by the US and Philippine Supreme Courts today. He once remarked to his clerk who had brought him the draft decision for the umpteenth time: “Now I think the opinion is persuasive, but what can we do to make it more instructive?”
Indeed, it is not enough to write something persuasive, compelling or impressive. The article must also be instructive.
Just on April 13, 2023, the Supreme Court launched the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA) embodied in A.M. No. 22-09-01-SC. It was unanimously approved by the court en banc in its Baguio session.
Section 23 (Canon III, Fidelity) of the CPRA states:
“Section 23. Active involvement in legal education. – A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal developments, participate in continuing legal education programs, and support efforts to achieve standards of excellence in law schools as well as in the practical training of law students.
In addition, a lawyer shall assist the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, law schools, law alumni associations, law associations, or civic organizations, in educating the public on the law and jurisprudence.”
In turn, Section 45 (Canon II, Propriety), provides:
“Section 45. Legal information; legal advice.- Pursuant to a lawyer’s duty to society and the legal profession, a lawyer may provide general legal information, including the answer to questions asked, at any for a, as well as social media.
A lawyer who gives legal advice on a specific set of facts as disclosed by any person in such for a or media creates a lawyer-client relationship and shall be bound by all the duties in this Code.”
So, as congealed in the CPRA, it is every lawyer’s duty to educate society with the law and jurisprudence. While ambulance-chasing may be forbidden as it is for avarice or self-gain, sharing the law with the public for free is deemed a noble endeavor.
I recall that it was during the pandemic when I received a message from one of my notable students in law school, Lcid Crescent Fernandez (also a columnist at Daily Guardian and its Vice-President, External), inviting me to write for Daily Guardian. I immediately said yes. It was three (3) years ago and on average I had been writing 1-2 articles per week since then.
Moving forward, I don’t see myself slowing down or getting tired. I am here to stay for as long as there are readers who appreciate the legal articles of Legal Harbinger.
So, why do I write?
It is not only to fulfill a duty imposed by the Code.
I write because it is impelled by my nature.
The words are limitless, the thoughts are infinite, and the pen just does not stop moving when the writing comes from the heart.
(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 etriiilaw.com).