omnibus omnia

Congratulations, new lawyers!

In Law, Manila, News, Philippines, Pinoy on April 1, 2008 at 10:20

The joy and relief the bar passers must feel right now is beyond measure, for they’re finally through with one of the most harrowing periods of their professional lives…

The results of the 2007 Bar Examinations have finally come out, beginning with those fateful bulletin boards in front of the Supreme Court gates in Manila. Many, indeed, thought they’d come out before the Holy Week, but surely matters are no worse for a little more waiting.

The joy and, perhaps more importantly, the sheer relief the bar passers must feel right now is beyond any measure. And how not, when the news of their passing the exam marks the end of one of the most harrowing periods of their professional lives? From the 4th Sunday of September to the end of March, “barristers” wouldn’t know if they would have to take the exams again, or if they would still have jobs at the end, or even if they’re secure enough to get married and have kids. Many turn to prayer, sometimes for the first time in their lives, and trek to different churches, embarking especially on that de rigeur pilgrimage to the Shrine in Manaoag, whose customary association with the Bar this writer cannot yet fathom. For to turn their gazes down instead of heavenward is to see the abyss, which has that annoying habit of gazing back to remind them of wrong answers and badly worded responses, and to ask whether, heaven forbid, they committed any “marking”.

The length of time involved is the worst part. Since Bar examinations in the Philippines are given only once a year, the barrister is forced to virtually put his/her life on hold for a year, unable to make any long-term plans, prepared with a postdated letter of resignation and other measures for that dread contingency. Another problem is that the essay-type exam is checked manually, with all the potential arbitrariness the method entails. Oh, Lord, the barrister might pray for 6 whole months, let the examiner be on a good mood when he/she reaches my booklet, and not after quarreling with his/her spouse! One therefore wonders why the Supreme Court doesn’t make things easier by making the Bar exam a matter of multiple choices that can be checked faster–and can therefore be held a little more often–and has less scope for subjective interpretation.

On a somewhat more sober note, Professor Florin Hilbay, a former topnotcher himself, has a less than rose-colored view of the Bar exams and of the practice of publishing rankings, on which he argued at length in an article published on the IBP Journal. I think he’s right on the need to reform the Bar and to reorient legal education; but enough of that for now, for it surely merits discussion on another day when there are no parades to rain on. The day belongs to exultation and not introspection, and I hope the new lawyers will savor this moment for a while, or at least until the Oath. And so, to the new compañeras y compañeros, congratulations!

  1. […] the rest of this enthusiastic place here Author: Time: Monday, March 31st, 2008 at 9:20 pm Category: Lawyers Comments: You can […]

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