March 31, 2006

Rising higher than the source

Ever since I started teaching law (in 96), this time of year has always been special.  It’s the time of the year that the Bar results come out.

For the civilians (read: non-lawyers) out there, this is going be totally difficult to understand because you just have to experience it to know what I am talking about.  The Bar, that is, and the seemingly interminable wait for the results.

When the results of my bar exams came out, I and a classmate (now my law partner) were outside the Supreme Court well into the early hours of the April morning;  we had commandeered a public pay phone and, with the help of classmates and batchmates inside the Court, were listing as many names of classmates and batchmates we could remember.  I remember whooping out loud when I finally heard that my name was on the list (because of my initials, my name would appear on the last few pages).  And suddenly, the four years of studying suddenly took on some meaning.

Now that I am teaching law, this time of year takes on special significance—it’s the time of the year that I remember those whom I’ve taught and are now officially members of the legal profession.  As I was scanning the list on the net earlier this morning, I started conjuring up faces and even seating positions in the various classes they took under me.  Funny (for me) and tragic (for them) moments of inane recitation came back unbidden—sometimes, I even remember what I said as riposte to particular gems of “how not to recite in law school.”

I remember all of these even as I hope that they will become better lawyers than I am for otherwise, all I did then was to mold mediocrity.  Unlike the saying, I believe that the stream must rise higher than its source for it is only then that there can be change, for the better.

The Bar is a rite of passage, of sorts.  But now the real test starts:  you join a profession that is far from perfect and far from noble, you will soon be among the ranks of men and women who, in their all too human moments , will succumb to the temptation to use the law for reasons other than to do justice and to transform society and its inhabitants. Your passage from onlooker and bystander to actor and participant in the stage of Philippine life and society is at hand.   The choice is always yours.

May you make a choice to make this far from perfect and far from noble profession one that will truly live up to its calling to do justice to every person and to transform society.

Until then, congratulations Batch 2005!  See you in court!

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