November 10, 2005

Not just yet. . .

“Just when I thought I was out . . . they pull me back in.”  Al Pacino, one of my favorite short actors (together with Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Danny De Vito and Robert Downey Jr.), said this memorable line.

It describes how I felt when Dean Carlota asked me, at the start of this current semester and at the start of his term as Dean of Law, to take over as Director of the U.P. Office of Legal Aid (OLA), the legal clinic of the College of Law.  I had plans (which I had been praying for over the last two years) of leaving the College of Law simply because I felt that it was no longer worth fighting for as Dean Carlota’s predecessor was simply too much of a politician and a salesman for my tastes (note the number of “shortcuts” he allowed in enlistment procedure, which a lot of students are now “paying” for when Dean Carlota quoted chapter and verse of the rules to justify a “stricter” policy;  note also the number of rooms forming the College’s patrimony and history that have been “sold” to those who have the millions to fund the renovation and name the rooms after them).  I felt that law had been so “commercialized” such  that the sheer joy I felt teaching law had evaporated;  of course, it did not help that the former office holder was not one who believed in letting bygones be bygones.

I had been planning to finish the second semester, out of deference to Dean Carlota, and then ride off into the sunset as far as my teaching career was concerned.  But then, Dean Carlota had other plans.

I prayed about accepting the OLA directorship.  Having served at OLA, first as a law intern, and then for several years as Supervising Lawyer, I know just how difficult it is to serve there.  Also, as a lawyer who has served  indigent clients from the get-go, I know how challenging it is to serve such a clientele.  But one thing that really prevented me from accepting it immediately was because of my current service as Branch Leader of Lingkod QC (a singles community of young professionals);  my commitment to them was clear, definite and unwavering and I knew that taking on OLA would mean a slice of the 24/7 pie that was already small enough considering all the things I’m handling.

Yet,  the Lord just assured me of one thing:  abounding grace.   The excitement I felt, similar to what I felt when I first became Supervising Lawyer at OLA, was an indication of blessing and, yes, grace;  there was not only peace that I felt but also excitement and some joy at the prospect of serving again at OLA.  I  put my burdens upon Him and He assured me of the ease of His yoke and the lightness of  His burden.

So, I accepted the Directorship of OLA and that means that I won’t be riding off into the sunset, just yet.  The Directorship carries with it an academic credit of 6 units and an automatic load of 8 units or a total of 14 units—2 units in excess of the 12 units I’m required every semester to teach;  so that means I won’t need to teach any subjects, unless I want to.  Right now, I’m still discerning whether I should teach again or just simply devote my time to OLA. Offhand, I may handle one subject a semester just to keep my hand in but things may change with time.

Change does not come easy for a lot of people.  My new post may mean changes, for many people, myself included.  But abounding grace to take on this new service means also abounding grace to accept change—I pray for grace to be able to see clearly what needs to be done but also the grace to accept whatever change brings in my life.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Sir.

Now, we shall strive to reach Senior year. We have one thing more to look forward to.

God bless.

Ella said...

Ted, I think you are perfect for this job. I had my best days of litigation while in OLA under your direct control and supervision. Which means that when I had to practice lit on my own I realized it wasn't for me, Haha. Seriously, I agree with you that God's grace is sufficient. He will make a way. God bless bro! Sir!!!

Leon said...

Theodore T...adiar! Hahaha. If you hang around long enough, you may yet get to remind that other former office holder about the bygones he just couldn't let be.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you accepted the directorship. Another reason for us to strive and really make good so we can reach senior year, although I've heard a lot of people voicing out their disappointment when they found out that you had to drop your civpro class this sem.
yes, a lot of people have being paying for the former dean's shortcuts, most of them my classmates, but i hope that they had announced the changes earlier and not during reg. a lot of people are kind of disgruntled because they were "assured" certain things when they decided to drop certain subjects and now, they're beginning to realize that those "assurances" don't hold water at all.
in any case, i'm very happy you decided to postpone your ride into the sunset :)

Daisy said...

congratulations Ted. I believe that UP remains to be a great Law school because there are people who put their heart in what they do. Inspiring indeed to hear about abounding grace in times of change. Indeed it is hard but He alone enables. God bless bro.

claudette said...

hi sir! congratulations, im sure OLA will benefit so much with your leadership. But please dont stop teaching!!! i may not have been such a great intern but i was so much better than the others who were not your crimpro students haha. some did not even know there was such a thing as an inquest (di ko nalang sabihin ang section :)) anyway, i hope PVO can still help out sa OLA as we did before. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

congratulations sir!
please don't stop teaching... :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations sir!
Wasn't it Horace Spencer, a teacher, who said,
be ashamed of having died without giving some service to humanity?
Please don't stop teaching!

uberjam said...

1st time to drop by this blog. :)

congrats on your new(?) post, sir!

I'm particularly anxious about the OLA, since I'm not sure whether I'll fare well or not. But I look forward to it, nonetheless. :o

And thanks for your talk during the PVO PLTS seminar. :)

jm said...

Congratulations, sir! I'm so happy that you accepted the post. It almost makes me want to be an intern again. Almost lang naman. Hehehe. I'm sure you will do great things for OLA and the entire institution will be much better for it. I hope you decide to continue teaching. You serve not only as a teacher but as an inspiration. And that is something we all - especially the students - badly need right now.

from maan dp:

tell him congratulations and that I hope he continues to teach over and above his duties as OLA director because I, for one, believe I am a better person (not just a lawyer) for taking his classes and witnessing first-hand (apart from his interactions with PVO) the passion with which he handles them. =)

Grace said...

Congratulations, Sir!

My blockmates and I always thought that if ever Ma'am Rowie were to retire from her post as OLA Director, you would be the perfect man for the job. Although a lot of students are disappointed that you dropped your CivPro class this sem, we're all happy you decided to stay longer in the College of Law. We don't get too many professors who are living examples that integrity and morals are not irreconcilable with success in the profession we are preparing ourselves for.

Anonymous said...

just like some of the other comments: i'm really looking forward to my senior year for the OLA internship. :)

to professors who dare to have intelligence, integrity and ideals: cheers! :)

"it may be a college of law, but it should also be one of justice."