Back when I was in Law School

The rivalry between the two foremost law schools in the country has been there since time immemorial.  Funny how we sometimes have a “cross over” professor who has the distinction of being a teacher in both schools.  Both are usually very parochial, sticking to their own roster of distinguished alumni to staff their faculty which is their pride and joy.  While most of us hated our professors for their arrogance and condescension, I later appreciated all that they made us go through when I left school.

Of late, UP has been topping the Bar which is really no surprise at all.  And while I have no access to the passing average, I know that Ateneo remains very consistent in having a higher passing average than the state university.  UP will say it’s because from day 1 on, the Ateneans are taught to answer the Bar, and the state scholars are taught how to be lawyers out in the world.

It’s been a decade since I left the halls of the Ateneo School of Law, and it wasn’t the sprawling grounds in Rockwell then but that solitary building on H.V. De La Costa street.  My choices for law school were only between UP and Ateneo, and I make no bones about the fact that I ended up in Ateneo because they saw something in me that UP didn’t.  (That’s not sourgraping, that’s  a fact.) 

My days in law school saw me inventing study habits that I did not have in UP where I managed to coast through on my gift of gab and my ability to write.  By my sophomore year, I was no longer being chauffered to school but commuting for the first time in my life — a nerve-wracking but humbling experience that eventually saw me skilled enough to cross the Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue end of EDSA in front of Dasma in my heels even late at night.

I entered law school after extending 2 years in college, so I somehow managed to have 2 years of world knowledge over my classmates.  They were surprised to hear me defining what a “midnight decree” was when it was not in the text books — which was simply street smarts combined with my ability to say something coherent which sounded like it was memorized from some text book.

Right about the same time I learned how to commute, I started working part time to help me with the mounting expense of books, photocopying, and dressing up according to the Corporate attire requried by Ateneo.  I also learned how to eat balot to help me keep my strenght up as I studied late into the night, waking up to hit school, then repeating that over again.

By my junior year, I was working full time and traveling to boot.  There were days when I would come to class and would be unable to give an answer during recitation for the simple reason I wasn’t able to read the assignment.  From working as a newscaster on RJFM to ending with a stint in an Advertising Agency before I took the Bar, I managed to supplement the costs of school as well by writing digests or summaries of the cases which were assigned by the professors, typing them up at work and then charging for the photocopying or print outs.  It helped me study for the lessons in advance, write coherently and succintly and find some additional spending money.

One memorable part of being in law school is how I would fall in line in the cafeteria with my dear friends Onggie and Reagan, just to make lambing that Onggie get me the arroz caldo and Reagan get me the puto.  One of the boys was behind us and asked in jest if I didn’t have any money, to which I replied that my payday was still a day away.

Those were humbling days indeed but I saw myself through law school somehow.  Although I finished law school in 1994, I postponed taking the Bar because I did not have the resources nor the time to stop work and study full time for a heads on review.  By 1995, my Mom begged me to take the Bar and told me that she knew God will provide.  And she assured me just as any mother would that it would be alright if I didn’t make it.. the important thing was for me to try..

So I filed my application before the deadline in June, and I took a leave of absence from work only the week before the Bar month of September.  (The Bar exams are 4 Sundays.)  I will reserve the Bar Experience for another post, but suffice it to say that it was not an easy task, but I made it.

I never really practiced law but have dabbled in Corporate Communications instead.  But in my heart and mind, I have achieved what I have always wanted to achieve — pass the Bar, and that is what makes me a lawyer, body and soul.  When I came here to New York, I made an agreement with Alan that I was putting aside any legal aspirations as I wanted to start a family.  Perhaps when Angel is grown up, I can go back to that one love.. for now, I have a greater love I’m nurturing.  After all, I know deep inside me — once a lawyer, always a lawyer.


Related posts (Links updated August 26, 2014)

When you don’t make it to your school of choice

Feedback on Feedback: Making it to law school

My Future History Professor

Legal Education: Where to go?

Dream on (Feedback from someone hoping to be a legal eagle someday)

Inspiration and a Mother’s Dream to be a Lawyer Some Day

(Of never-ending but very welcome) Law School Inquiries – A Reply to CONCERNED CITIZEN

Broken Links and Trying to Get into Law School

The Path You Choose to Take

The Dreams We Dream

The Path You Choose to Take

“Should I go to law school or not, Atty. Dinns?”

Feedback on Feedback: Chasing the dream to become a legal eagle

To those in their Freshman Year in Law School in Ateneo

Be not afraid to pursue your dream to be a legal eagle someday  

Another Question on Taking the Ateneo Law Entrance Exam

To all those Law school hopefuls out there..

Another Question on Taking the Ateneo Law Entrance Exam

Thinking about law school?

From a Bar Reviewee

Inspiration from Bridget

I actually found the time to bloghop this noon and I wandered into one of my favorite blogs and decided to see what was up with Jerome (a.k.a. Bridget) and came across a very inspiring post in his blog entitled “How do you keep the music playing?” .

He answers his question by ending his entry thus: .. “(more importantly), it is consistently discovering a new facet of each other that makes us anticipate each day for us to experience The Moment…which consequently keeps the music playing. (kilig)” 

I have been married almost 6 years now which doesn’t exactly equal that of my longest relationship, but I have always considered the fact that I married this man as the most significant distinction.  And although I always say in jest that I do find myself feeling like I want to strangle him from time to time, nothing is more comforting than actually reaching out across the bed beyond Angel and feeling him sleeping next to us.

We do have our peaks and valleys as he refers to them — and we have had to make a lot of adjustments with the addition of Angel to our family, but we continue to be a couple, nurturing the dynamics of intimacy in such simple activities like going home together at least once a week on the Express Bus where we hold hands and just catch up on each other’s day.  Even something as simple as sitting down in Starbucks by ourselves on a weekend, or sharing a “Gotta Have It” portion of Coldstone one afternoon counts as “couple time” for us.

We’re trying to go out more often although we are far from doing it as much as we used to before Angel came, back when we would go on a date in Manhattan once a week and try out a new restaurant or bar and just spend a romantic evening together.  We talk, we listen, we talk.. and although he would rather I read the book and just tell him what it’s all about, I can talk to him about anything under the sun and I know he would comprehend what I am saying and thinking about without missing a heartbeat. 

Continually being interested in the other leads to discovering new things — and for as long as we are interested, we see value in those little things that others wouldn’t notice or care much about, like innocent scribblings that are true works of art to us.  For me and Alan, it’s enjoying life together that keeps the fire alive. 

He would think nothing of driving to Montauk if I egged him on just so we can see my favorite lighthouse, forget that it’s 2 hours away from where we are.  And I wouldn’t mind watching a movie even if I would rather stay home with Angel, only because he’s such a cinephile and I know that’s a favorite past time for him.  So okay, I’m not going to bop him in the head tonight… he’s taking me out to dinner at a favorite seafood restaurant then what else?  We’re catching a movie!

HTML, PHP, CSS.. going nuts over web design

I have always enjoyed creating web pages and trying my hand at web design.  Although I tried it with Front Page and other web design softwares, I’ve still found it easiest to do actually coding.  So yes, I do my HTML codes by hand and have committed a few simple commands to memory.  When I am baffled, I simply right click on a page and “VIEW SOURCE” to see what language was used to create a particular design I want to do.

I haven’t really had much time to dabble in web design — that’s the reason my own commercial venture into e-commerce is now on haitus.  (Note to self: must really decide what we will do with that..)  However I had the audacity to volunteer for our batch website, being that we are now all agog over our silver jubilee homecoming 2 years from now.

So this morning I thought I’d try and check out a new photo plug in I tried to upload yesterday.  Don’t ask me why but it somehow over rode an index.php file for my survey utility which I then had to reinstall and reconfigure.  (I know, I know.. I should’ve installed the two in separate subdirectories.)  I trashed the photo utility and redid the survey.. so I’m back on track.

Before I get a monumental headache at the end of the day, I’m giving it up to go back to my first love of the moment — my scrapbook.  Half a day gone, and I’m looking forward to a weekend again =).  Here’s hoping there will be scrapbook layouts sometime next week on this site.

[11] Have some fishball, squidball and other kakaning kalye (Street food)

The weeks before I left, I ate all the street food I could find to my heart’s delight.  I stopped by the street vendors who took their place somewhere in the long stretch of Ayala Avenue to sell kakanin early in the morning.  I had my eyes peeled for the buko vendors.. I ate manggang hilaw and requested it to death that my Mom started suspecting I might be pregnant.  (Yeah, right.. )  Time to pig out again when I go home.. in 3 weeks.. yikes!!!

Feedback from a Blog hopper

I try to bloghop when I have the time but I don’t often have that luxury these days.  So if you noticed, my blogroll hasn’t particularly grown the last few weeks, and I am happy keeping it that way because I can’t even keep up with that limited list.

It is, however, rather delightful to see a comment from someone who strays into my blog.  Here’s one from Leo who wrote:

hi pinay, nice posts! i’m bloghopping and just checking your blogsite. Keep the blogs rolling!

Leo, I’m trying..I’m trying.  Blogging, for the most part, has been very therapeutic for me.  Writing has always been a good release and I find that it keeps the brain cells active, more so these days when the last book I tried reading is gathering dust by my bedside at home.  (I have to finish the book before I leave for Manila!)

I like what you write about, though.. don’t we all dream of hitting it big and becoming successful putting up our own business?  For the entrepreneurs out there, go pay Leo’s blog a visit and you’ll get some good ideas.  Thanks for visiting, Leo.

Top 10 of the Philippine Bar Exams

 THE top 10 in the 2005 bar examinations are:

1. Joan De Venecia (University of the Philippines) — 87.2
2. Jomini C. Nazareno (Ateneo de Manila University) — 86.4
3. Sheryl May B.Tanquilut (Ateneo de Manila University) — 85.9
4. Nyerson Dexter Tito Q. Tualla (Manuel L. Quezon University) — 85.4
5. Tamsin Rae N. Lucila (University of the Philippines) — 85.3
6. Gladys V. Gervacio (University of Perpetual Help-Rizal) –85.3</<BR>7. Claudine B. Orocio-Isorena (University of the Philippines) — 85.2
8. Pedro Jose F. Bernardo (Ateneo de Manila University) — 85.5
9. Dexter B. Calizar (Philippine Law School) — 84.7
10. Johnson A.H. Ong (Far Eastern University) — 84.6

*The Ateneans get special mention.. although my pre-law was with UP

So the results were finally released by the Supreme Court yesterday (or today since it is still Friday in Manila as I write this.)  I suppose that the 20% who passed are celebrating and euphoric over hurdling this task, and the 80% are all drowning their sorrows with a vow to try again.  (Unless, that is, they’ve already struck out 5 times in which case that is FIN for them.)

I remember how, in 1995, I refused to go to the Supreme Court grounds and wait it out with everyone else.  I sat at home waiting by the phone for a friend who was already a lawyer working in one of the Court of Appeals offices call to tell me I had passed.  It was a big relief to hear I had hurdled it, knowing how ill-prepared I was to take the Bar Exams in September of 1994.  I had taken a big gamble and the gamble paid off.  I knew for a fact that half my answers were wrong, but I guess the examiners found merit in my English and understood my arguments and gave me credit. 

It is heartening to see some lessesr known schools in the top 10.  They deserve it because everyone knows that a top 10 passer and high passing average means higher enrollment for the coming year.  Little do people know, though, that most — but not all – of the bar placers not in the top 3 (Ateneo, UP and San Beda) are actually kick outs of the top 3 schools who failed to make the Quality Percentile Index (QPI) requirement.  It is no joke trying to maintain one’s standing in any of these schools, but it’s the same rigorous training that allows you to think sharper and hones your mental faculties in preparation for the Bar. 

We have to give credit, though, to those brilliant minds who did not have the means or the opportunity to go to any of the top 3 schools who find their moment in time when they finally take the Bar Exam.

I know of some schools who actually give monetary rewards to Bar placers, as if forever being touted a Bar topnotcher were not enough honor for the examinee.  I remember when I took the Bar, I didn’t even hope to make it to the top 10, but I had a studio photo taken anyway because my bestfriend Jonathan, himself a lawyer by the time I took the Bar, told me libre namang mangarap.  (It doesn’t cost a cent to dream..)  I would so hate to see myself in a mugshot on the front page of a national paper just in case by some twist of fate, I landed in the top 10.  LOL

To those who passed, I am sure it was well-deserved.  To those who didn’t, there’s always next year if the dream is truly in your heart.