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5 Things I Love About Being a Lawyer August 18, 2011

Posted by Janjan in Uncategorized.

I’ve noticed that I criticize the practice of law far more often than I appreciate it.  Granted, the grass will always look greener at the other side of the fence.  But still, I did work hard for four and a half years to earn my title, so I guess I should learn to be more thankful about what life has handed me.  I did pray for it, so I should cherish this gift.

That being said, these are the things which I enjoy most about being a lawyer:

1)  The Opportunity to Travel Often – As a private practitioner of law, I am often required to go out of town for hearings and projects.  Back when I was an associate for the Palma law firm, the traveling was far more often and far more varied than at present.  Sometimes, I had to travel to as much as 3 provinces all within the span of mere days.  This was very good for my photography hobby as it gave me varied subjects to take photos of.  I’ve seen more of the Philippines than I ever thought I would, and I cherish each visit to somewhere new and never-before traveled as an opportunity to discover new things and to have an adventure.

2)  Meeting People from all Walks of Life – To quote one of the classics, I am one of those people who “dine with paupers and sup with kings.”  I have defended urban poor clients from being ejected from their own homes by an oppressive city government.  I count Senator Joker Arroyo and Microsoft Corporation as among one of my more affluent clients.  I have been fed with lansiao (bull penis) stew at a bus station carinderia, as well as the best roast beef in the country at Prince Albert restaurant in Landmark Hotel.  I’ve been the “floor manager” at a client’s house in the country, and billeted at the famous Manila Hotel.  I’ve rode a habal-habal from Dapitan to Dipolog, and flown first class at Philippine Airlines.  The beauty of the practice is that it allows me to meet people from all walks of life.  Squatters, senators, laborers, construction workers, dockhands, presidents, CEO’s, I’ve met and worked with them all.  This has allowed me a certain versatility and adaptability in blending in with whoever I interact with, regardless of their station in life.

3)  Prestige – There’s a joke that about lawyers getting the best seat in the house during barrio fiestas, surpassed only by priests.  The joke is that it does happen often, especially in the rural areas.  People in the Philippines tend to accord a lot of respect towards lawyers, all in deference to their title (regardless of whether or not respect is well-deserved, I’ve surmised.)  I find it humorous sometimes, such as during that year when a stranger asked me to be the godfather of his grandchild, all on account of my being a lawyer.  Sometimes, I think that the prestige is misplaced (such as certain lawyers who demand deference, i.e., insisting that people call them “Attorney”).  I do try not to let it get to my head, but to be honest, the prestige attached to my title does make my life easier for me, such as when I’m riding with unscrupulous taxi-cab drivers who are not aware that I know certain rules and regulations of the LTFRB with respect to public transportation.

4)  Dining Out and Drinking – More often than not, clients are quite gracious about meeting in fine dining places, which plays right to my foodie tendencies.  Thankfully, the Cebuano dining scene has diversified and improved from the 3 restaurant options from the 2 decades of my youth (i.e., Ding Qua Qua, Sunburst Fried Chicken, Larsians).  So now, we have a plethora of dining places to enjoy.  Also, clients seem to have this tradition of giving fine alcohol as presents to lawyers, which has bequeathed me with (to date) 4 bottles of Johnny Walker Black, a bottle of Chivas Regal, and 2 bottles of red wine.  Which again, I have no qualms in accepting and enjoying.  (P.S.  Dear clients, if you are reading this, I also am partial to Emperador brandy and Tanduay products)

5)  Flexi-time – The practice allows me a lot of leeway on how I spend the day.  Hence, if you hate the 9-to-5 routine, the practice of law is right for you.  On the downside, this has required greater discipline on my part because it’s just too easy to blow off the day doing absolutely nothing.  But nonetheless, I enjoy freedom on my mobility and the absence of restrictions on my time when it comes to my work, with no supervisor or HR Manager breathing down my back and whipping me in line at the salt mines.

I guess I can think of other things but these are, to my mind, the major perks of being a private practitioner of law.  They are, of course, balanced with things I hate about the practice, but for now, I will emphasize the positive.

I hope to find more things I like as the days go by, but this will do.