Do you [still] want to become a lawyer?

It won’t be long until the results of the 2007 bar exams will be released. As always, the examinees (and their families) are going through a difficult stage of waiting for the release of the results. We’ve talked about the agony of waiting for the bar results, but not about the repercussions on those who are still on deck, so to speak. In the words of Lito Basilio, in his comment in one of the articles in this blog:

The fear being felt by our barristers has affected us law students to a large extent. Dignity is at stake here. Friends and neighbors who know a barrister in a community are intently observing and waiting to see him or her fail or succeed. His or her enemies may even pray for his or her failure. If such barrister fails, he is expected to be scoffed and laughed at. They may still call him or her “attorney” to make fun of him or her. His or her parents may shed tears of grief and shy away from public eye. That’s how painful a failure may be.

Sometimes I ponder whether or not I would still pursue what I have started. I’m a sophomore now, a working law student, and I find the study of law getting more and more difficult. One cannot just be complacent. You have to put your entire being if you are determined to finish LLB or JD, or take the bar for that matter. Now that the release of the result of the 2007 bar exams draws near I am as fearful as our barristers because one day I may be in what they are in today.

As Lito said, “friends and neighbors who know a barrister in a community are intently observing and waiting to see him or her fail or succeed.” This is a cultural reality that every hopeful must face. During my time, I did not go back to our province until the results were released. The sentiments of Lito is echoed by ShaSha, in her comment in the same article: “I’ll be fourth year next year and will hopefully experience the gruelling feeling of anxiety while waiting for the 2009 results…just keep our fingers crossed. Ang dakung pangutana: NGANO NI-ENTER? (“The big question: Why enter [law school]?”)

We all know the extreme pressures of studying to become a lawyer. In law school, students go through a daily routine of class recitations. Professors are expected to push you to exceed your limits. Law students read endless cases and memorize (and understand) provisions of law. It’s normal to sleep little and lose your social life. After graduation, there’s the bar exams, which is arguably one of the most difficult exams in the world, to contend with. Then there’s the agony of waiting for the results.

Why go through it?

It’s normal to ask questions. It’s normal to doubt. Way after midnight once upon a time, when my undegraduate roommates were deep in slumber, I often asked myself why I willingly go through this torture. These moments of doubt, however, reminded me why I wanted to become a lawyer in the first place. Those moments reaffirmed my decision to become a lawyer.

If you have what it takes, you’ll survive. The pressure of becoming a lawyer is, in my opinion, way lesser than the pressure experienced by those who became lawyers. Lawyers are always confronted with the misinterpreted Shakespeare line about first killing all lawyers (Dick the Butcher in Henry VI, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”). Even in relationships, there are countless articles about how lawyers are lousy love/life partners. 

Then there’s actual law practice. You’re no longer concerned with grades and passing the exams, but the life, liberty and property of clients. You commit a mistake in law school, you get a low grade. You make a mistake in law practice, your client goes to jail or loses millions.

If anyone can’t cope with the pressure of becoming a lawyer, perhaps it would do no harm to seriously think about not becoming one.

On the other hand, it’s a calling. A passion. No amount of difficulty is enough to dissuade you from achieving something that you’re passionate about. Like becoming a lawyer. So, do you still want to become a lawyer?

27 comments

  1. Just to share with you info i got from a blog (phbar.com)

    An article of former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban provides a list of law schools with the most No. 1 in the Bar Exams (1946 to 2006):

    * University of the Philippines (UP) – 25
    * Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) – 17
    * San Beda College – 6
    * Far Eastern University (FEU) – 4
    * University of Manila (UM) – 2
    * University of the Cordilleras – 2
    * University of Santo Tomas (UST) -1
    * University of the East (UE) – 1
    * MLQ University (MLQU) – 1
    * Divine Word College in Bohol – 1
    * Philippine Law School (PLS) – 1

  2. I left a high paying job at a multinational firm to enter law school.

    It has a long dream of mine to become an excellent lawyer. I find the study of law the most interesting. Why? When you know the law, you can defend yourself, and defend others as well. I believe this is the very essence of legal studies, to learn how to defend and protect your rights!

    1. We have the same situation. I left a high paying job to pursue law. I’m not alone. It was not an easy decision.

  3. When I was in first year, law school was more of a task to me- something that I needed to accomplish not because of the love of it but simply to prove myself. Now that I am almost there, I am seeing the real beauty of law. Studying is more than giving into the whims of one’s cognitive demands, rather, it is getting a step closer to self- actualization. The road may be tough and arduous, but we will thank ourselves for choosing this path over the others when that time comes.

    You’ve made the right choice! Congratulations!

  4. i’m not a smart student i ddnt study well when i was a h.s student but my no.1 dream is to become a lawyer. since i was a child i was being bullied all the times and i cannot defend my self even in my teachers bec all my classmates is denying all the accusations.

  5. i’m a fresh college grad, and an aspiring lawyer! thanks for this read Atty. Fred 🙂 though i’m quite not ready yet for this school year studying LLB ( tho i’m already enrolled, and classes start on july) i guess this line would be helpful as i venture thru this new journey ( will definitely be putting this on my planner hahaha)

    “No amount of difficulty is enough to dissuade you from achieving something that you’re passionate about. ”

    more power!

  6. In my teenage years I always wanted to become a lawyer. When people ask we why, I just said, I don’t know I just wanted to. But now, I’m 22 and still undecided if I should continue to pursue law. I am the type of person who analyze every possible outcome of my action. And it kills me that whenever I try to weigh the pros and cons of continuing my teenage dream, I can’t come up with a definite answer.

    1. I feel you, I do the same haha. But why not try? Right? “It’s better to try and fail than never to have tried at all” 😉

  7. When I was 17 years old my mother wanted me to become a teacher because it was her dream for me . Because of my love for her I did so , I took up education for good. And when I reach 3rd year college I enrolled a subject entitled SOC.SCI 03 and the description was Philippine Governance with Philippine constitution . My teacher in SOC.SCI03 was brilliant he was a law graduate and he inspires us when he recounted a story about his life. Because of my teacher’s gracefulness and sincerity and I was able to find my true dream and It was a dream of many people . I wanted to become a lawyer not only defend myself but also to know the laws to follow .Thank you so much

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