I received this rather long comment from Les to a post from way back in March (Back when I was in Law School).
With the Philippine Bar exams just around the corner (it is held for four consecutive Sundays of September), I guess some barristers are finding themselves blog hopping to find a break from the stress and studying in general. This comment can be found in my comment roll but I feel a need to answer it in a blog post. Also, I thought it would be more convenient to read the full (unedited) text of the comment as a post. How can I refuse a fellow- Atenean? The mere mention of the Ateneo School of Law is enough to get my attention.
Les does not have a blog but left me an e-mail. Here’s what Les wrote:
hello ms. dinna,
i read your blog and found your entries really interesting. I was just taking a short break this morning from studying and came across your blog site. truth be told, what caught my attention was the fact that you were from ateneo law school and now living in new york. you see, right now I’m reviewing for the bar exams after having graduated from ateneo law, plus, I really am seriously considering taking the new york bar after this. i was wondering if u have any advice for me since you’re a lawyer and you’re living in new york now. there are quite a number of us who plan the same thing, and we’ve researched a lot regarding the requirements for the new york bar. So far, we’ve heard that the Barbri? review center in NY is the best law review center, that the exams are held twice a year (feb and july), and that ateneo and UP law grads can automatically take the bar exams while grads of other law schools need to take 19 units of law courses at a U.S. law school. my mom wants me to meet up with an immigration lawyer here so I can acquire a more detailed set of information regarding the requirements for pinoy grads. truth is, m quite torn because I also think that working here in the philippines for a local law firm might be more advisable before taking the NY bar, plus, it would be helpful if i save up a little before going there since based on our estimation, it would cost around P800K-P1M to enrol at a review center, rent an apartment, and spend for necessities and law materials for a period of 5-6 months. but my worry is that if i start working here, what if I end up getting stuck with my job and not being able to uproot myself anymore to move to NY, also, what if the privilege granted to law grads of ateneo gets revoked in a few years. i have no idea what NY is like. the only relatives i have in NY is a cousin who’s living with her husband and her baby, but they dont reside within the city itself. My older relatives like aunts and uncles live in New Jersey.
I was hoping u could maybe give me some idea on what it’s like to live in NY for fresh pinoy grads like us, and perhaps share some information regarding law practice there. =)
I also find it interesting that your interests include communication and the arts since my major back in college (loyola) included english literature and com arts. I also went through the same experience of passing the UP law entrance exam but got rejected during the interview phase. no regrets there =) i love ateneo, i had the greatest time and met the coolest friends =)
Pinay New Yorker says: Thanks for visiting my blog, Les, more so at this very crazy time in your life. I don’t think I will be able to give you a response to your feedback in full but I hope you will find the time to stop by from time to time to read my thoughts on the things you raised. I have been doing my own research about the New York Bar (so yes, I have NOT taken it), and I am working towards eventually giving it a try but all in due time. I came to the United States to raise a family and while I have always said “Once a lawyer, always a lawyer..”, it’s one of those things I hope to eventually do — but family takes priority at this time.
First of all, stay focused on the upcoming Bar Exams. Taking the New York Bar Exam should not be an immediate concern. While we at Ateneo have always enjoyed a high passing average compared to other schools, there are always “casualties of war” so to speak. I cannot fully describe to you what taking the Bar Exams is truly like because it is something you will have to experience yourself. It is different for each one. (I think it’s about time I started writing that long-delayed post developing in my head about my own Bar Exam experience.)
Make sure you are rested. Do not be stressed by the tips. Focus on the last minute reviewer — and get plenty of rest the night before. Writing for hours during the exam and being stressed while doing it can exhaust you. I had to struggle through my Taxation and Legal Ethics exams because I was ready to put my pen down in sheer exhaustion.
Secondly, I hope it has occurred to you that taking and passing the New York Bar does NOT guarantee you a job here. It only means you will be granted the privilege to represent a client in New York, but not to practice permanently here unless you get a firm to sponsor you or you are an American citizen. It is not adviseable to take the exam immediately because one of the requirements to take the New York Bar Examination if you are not an American Citizen is proof of a legal practice (cases handled, employment history in legal firms as an attorney). The official site of the New York State Board of Law Examiners gives the basic requirements and the law. I am hoping, though, that you will postpone visiting the site until October because you have quite a feat to accomplish passing the Bar, Ateneo or no Ateneo.
Now that I realize the things I tell you might prove quite distracting, I’ll make a deal with you and promise to give you my two cents’ worth in October, AFTER the Bar Exams. It should prove enough of a distraction from the after-Bar stress and exhaustion.
Again, thank you for visiting.. good luck