To new passers: ‘Be the best lawyer that money cannot buy’
We heartily congratulate our new sisters and brothers who will now join the swelling ranks of the legal profession.
To those who successfully hurdled the Bar, take this as a privilege bestowed upon a few. To those who did not make it, take another shot, for you should not be less worthy and judged for not making the grade in what is a yearly rite of passage and formality.
In the end, passing the Bar alone does not a “good” lawyer make. It is a necessary requirement but by no means the only—much less infallible—gauge of how one can use one’s legal education, skills and training to serve clients, deal with the bench and the bar, and help change society for the better.
What matters to the ordinary people on the street is what choice you make, regardless of the formal title, and how you practice what is putatively the second oldest profession in the world.
There is a running honor roll of those who put the poor and needy before oneself. Experience has shown that such commitment is not dictated by one’s performance in the Bar. Yet taking the Bar successfully once, regardless of which law school one comes from, and even topping it, are admirable feats in themselves. But being a lawyer can only be truly meaningful and fulfilling if you use your title with honor, principle, fairness, dignity, in the service of the poor, the underdog, the exploited and oppressed; instead of siding, or even encouraging, condoning or aiding those who use the law against those who have less in life.
The elegant and fancy legal niceties you learned in law school will ultimately be tested in the reality outside. Legal fictions will be unraveled, and the awakening to the fact that power relations actually resolve conflicts will be frustrating and temper your idealism.
The choice is yours to make: Be the best lawyers that money cannot buy, more than being the best lawyers that money can buy.
For now, we share your and your family’s exuberance and joy today. It is a fitting culmination to a lot of things. We shall await you with open arms on the battlefield, in the continuing struggle for the rule of justice for the great majority of our people.
—EDRE U. OLALIA,
National Union of People’s Lawyers
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