Sunday, April 5, 2009

Congratulations New Lawyers: Tim David most especially

My major course in college is a convenient course that automatically predispositions anyone to take law. Since my course involved Development Studies, Political Science, making policies, reading, analyzing, researching and defending, it is practically a good training ground.

Law like Medicine belongs to one of the traditional and elevated professions. There is no need to explain when you are in these fields. The law profession is so old, so respected and very common that almost all of us know a friend or two that tread that path. Being a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer are initial dreams kids have and also parents want them to have. Everyone must have passing dreamt of becoming a lawyer or a doctor in the future at least once in their lives. But the truth is people change and not all have enough passion, capability and means to pursue it.

My parents wanted me to take on medicine for the nth time. I did try, but the passion and calling weren't there. I want something research oriented, something that could pull me out of a possible human contact because I know myself too much that I wouldn't excel in a profession that deeply involved people directly depending their lives on you. I took up something that I could excel in like reading policies, making plans and doing research. I love the research, the analysis and the reading parts so much that I took up the perfect course for me. But when we were about to graduate, the largest percentage of our class planned to take up law. I tell you, their futures were already mapped right after graduation. They would either find themselves in San Beda College, Ateneo-Law or UP Law. Others who wouldn't make the glistening cut might go for UST-Law, Arellano and San Sebastian. Those are the usual choices; and it's easier to make that choice when you know a large group of people will too. There's a quick tendency that you might be carried away with the flow.

To cut it short, most of my friends and classmates in college took up law. I didn't particularly ask them why. They had their own reasons and I was not quite interested in hearing it. I've expected that it would happen anyways. Some of my closest friends even urged me to take an exam in their chosen law schools and enroll with them. I was close to doing that because right after college, I must admit, I was still clueless of how I was going to do the things that I wanted to do. I initially thought that as a graduate my path must have been positioned to take law. I love to read. I love research and analysis. Some even pointed out the strengths I have that could make me survive law. We all know that law is hard, but if most people can go through it, so could we who were trained for it.

I thought about it. I probably gave it a whole week. But the calling isn't there, never was. Like medicine, I don't see myself practicing law..passionately. Actually, it was not even one of my childhood dreams. I would always fancy lawyers and I highly admire what they do, but I never saw myself in their shoes. I tried to ask myself if I could go through four more years of schooling, a bar exam and in the end practice law in some corporation or law firm. The answer is, I can't and I won't. Again, most of the decision lies that I don't want to involve a person's entire lifeline on me. Like Medicine, it has always been a deal breaker for me. I'm better dealing with a group of people to build up enhancements or betterment of a certain procedure, but definitely not pulling them out of deathly grasps. It was an easy decision for me.

I went corporate and tried to mix other voluntary works as well. The world that I entered was hard and sometimes less rewarding than expected, but I never once had the desire to take up law. For the first year out of college, law student friends of mine still wanted to recruit me, but I never gave it a thought. And also during those times I was spending time with Diane Alindato who studied in San Beda Law and Tim David who decided late to study in Ateneo Law School. I might not have taken up law, but my companies are lawyer wannabees.

Diane has always been a study-holic. She always doesn't have time and interest to go to lunches like Tim and I do. In the first few years that Tim was studying and I was gaining ground in the corporate world, we would always meet up during weekends and experiment on restaurants as a way of catching up. I became a therapist and a listener to his rants in law school as he was left to analyze my personal EQ woes. In a way, we supported each other in our respective worlds.

Easily four years had passed and Tim had to review for the bar exams. I told him that I was very proud that he graduated law school, but just like what we all know, it wouldn't be enough until they pass the bar exams. From his stories before, I quickly knew I was not to take that lightly. Like any board exams, it is nerve wracking. It's a make or break kind situation. It is where finally you could get a license to practice what you've been studying that seemed like forever. I've always told him that it's quite unfair that they add a couple of years of studying when they should have an option of working already, and yet they had to take another exam to prove their worth. It puts a lot of pressure on them. Unlike us who have decided to take on corporate, we build our name and our skills while we work. We may take up masters, but we don't need to take an additional exam to have that license to practice what we've studied. Tim said that it comes with the nature of profession. Professions like medicine or law would leave public to entrust the essential safety of a person's life. A collective body that works for the benefit of the public should ensure that the graduates who have completed study is indeed fit for the job. Hence, the bar and board exams. But unlike any other board exams, law bar exams have a different brand of fright. I's a mixture of four grueling Sundays, essay type questions, good handwriting, existential memory bank and smoldering egos in the midst.

Tim and I didn't see each other that often while he was reviewing. Even after he took the bar exams and he was still incognito. It was then that my mom told me last Friday that the results of the bar exams would be released on that day. She remembered my friend Tim and Diane. I quickly called them up during lunch to push their spirits. Diane attended mass while Tim developed a phone screening to fend off his law colleagues who were expected to call. I was able to talk to Tim about other stuff to get his mind off the exam results and he confessed that he was "restless" and not "nervous." Nervousness comes in when you knew you were not prepared. You rely on chance. Restlessness however is a feeling that you want to get it over with immediately. He used a scene in the movie 300 where King Leonidas was about to throw a spear to Xerxes. Leonidas knew he was going to die, but he knew he would be achieving something good out of it and he was prepared. Every motion and feeling is magnified a prime example of restlessness and not nervousness.

After the quick call, I decided to leave him alone to preoccupy himself. I continued cleaning my room, went to Makati, called a couple of friends about the Bar exam results and watched Fast and the Furious with SV friends.

By the time that I got home at around 11 in the evening, I got a text and it was a foreign number. Even though there was no name, I immediately knew who texted it. The message was clear. "Dude, it's time to celebrate! Will treat you and Lalah! Woohoo!" Clearly it was Tim and he is now a lawyer. My sudden drowsiness was wiped away. I congratulated him back and felt the wave of euphoria reach for me at the other line. I felt his excitement and success as if I passed as well. Of course, I wouldn't know the exact feeling. I never took up a bar or board exam, but according to those who did like my mom, my bestfriend and Tim, the feeling is priceless. Four years of additional study and hard work seem to just melt away. My mom said it feels like you could conquer the world.

The morning after, I went to the office and quickly googled the entire list of bar passers. There are some names that I recognize in the list who are my batchmates in St. Scholastica's. I remember the times I've spent with them worrying about nonsensical things. And now they are lawyers. Some names I recognize from college and most especially I saw Tim's name. Regret and envy didn't show up. I felt mightlily PROUD and HAPPY for them. Genuinely and seriously proud.

To all the law passers, Congratulations. You deserve it. Enjoy the feeling and celebrate till you drop.

And to Atty. Timothy David, congratulations! You were right about restlessness!

*Tim brought the game boggle in Mandarin Hotel, New Year's Eve. Writer extraordinare.

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