Dec 01, 2022

Just In Case You Pass The Bar

NOV 26, 2022 12:02 AM





THE dreaded bar examinations have just ended, and for those who took it, let me reveal a thing or two about your past and present situation, and what your future will probably be like.

 During the Spanish colonial period, the financially disadvantaged could improve their lot by joining the military or the clergy. Lawyering was also a default career for the less adventurous because most cases then were ecclesiastical in nature. It can be argued that today, lawyering is still a default career, but let me warn you all that before you read law (i.e., study law), you first have to finish a four-year college course, after which you must fill out an application form that always asks for personal references. As a rule, never put the name of a politician even if he is a close relation or favored companion. This is because a member of the admission committee may be your politician's sworn enemy. Think of someone with no glaring affiliations like a well-known painter, your high school teacher or maybe a television host.

 After you pass the entrance exams, it is time to drop anchor and begin learning what law is all about. When you begin your days, you can be dead sure that people from different organizations or fraternities will try to convince you that joining them would be the best thing that could happen to you — never mind if you will make instant enemies of people you do not even know.

 Joining a fraternity is supposed to balance your life, if only because for every friend you make, you inevitably make an enemy; for two friends, two enemies. That is the unspoken law of fraternity memberships.

 Most of the time, you will be seated in a room in your house, or in the school library or classroom pouring over words important to the law and written in an alien language. There are many words in Latin, a dead language which only the pope can pronounce correctly: res judicata, mens rea, pendente lite. There is a surfeit of archaic words in Spanish — alevosia, prision mayor, expediente — a sprinkling of Sicilian (Heredetamenta) or middle English (certiorari). As you are called to recite everyday in class, tyranny will be a personal experience, minus actual quartering and physical torture.

 Slowly and right before your eyes, that woman who entered law school who avowedly wanted to help the poor and work for the Federation of Free Farmers suddenly develops an interest in corporate mergers and acquisitions, stocks, bonds and REITs (real estate investment trusts). Your bosom friend who wanted to specialize in criminal law purportedly to assist the downtrodden starts thinking of how much he will someday make when he starts billing by the hour in a swanky law firm. Then you realize that, as the saying goes, only the dead do not change.

 You will be constantly bullied by your teachers, heckled by some classmates; you start losing all sense of style. You will be burdened by cases that you must study all day, memorize useless facts like the name of the policeman who made the arrest, how much money was embezzled by the accused, the names of the companies that were used to hide the stolen funds.

 You become paranoid due to a lot of useless facts; your entrails begin to curdle and your eyes start to dim. You question the sanity of those around you, but never your own.

 Four years after entering law school, a veritable black hole, it is time to take the bar exams. Caffeine will become your best friend. If you got through law school because of good public relations or purloined tests — the bar exams is payback time. It is next to impossible to cheat; the tips they gave you a few days or even hours before the exams turn out to be inaccurate guesswork. (The majority are worthless duds.)

 After the bar comes your religious phase. Fervently, you pray to God and all the saints that you pass, and when you do, you will be joining what some people say is the second oldest profession. You can then apply for a job and be interviewed. Don't be surprised if the hiring partner of the law firm you wish to join may be more interested in your looks, fraternal affiliations or your father's name or the kind of car you drive.

 If you are admitted as a junior associate, your office will be your home, you become the office grunt. You lose every semblance of a love life. You begin to go to court and interview witnesses, and start pointing your fingers, a physical act to prove that the other party is lying, and you alone are telling the truth.

 After much sub-human treatment, you will be well on your way and start learning how to play golf.

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