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Be best lawyers money can’t buy, bar passers told

/ 06:48 AM March 21, 2014

Law students enter De La Salle University for the Bar exam at Taft avenue in Manila in this 2010 file photo. The National Union of People’s Lawyers on Thursday, March 20, 2014, reminded the new lawyers that passing the tests was not merely about getting the title “attorney” but about how they would practice their profession. ARNOLD ALMACEN/INQUIRER PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—“Be the best lawyers that money cannot buy.”

This piece of advice was given by a lawyers’ group to the 1,274 law graduates who passed the 2013 bar exam.

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The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) reminded the new lawyers that passing the tests was not merely about getting the title “attorney” but about how they would practice their profession.

“[P]assing the bar alone does not make a good lawyer. It is a necessary requirement but no means the only, much less infallibly reliable gauge, of how one can use the legal education, skills and training to serve clients, deal with the bench and the bar, and help change society for the better,” said NUPL secretary general Edre Olalia.

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What matters, Olalia said, “is what choice you make, regardless of the formal title, and how you practice.”

The NUPL, founded in 2007, is a nationwide voluntary association of human rights lawyers. According to its website, the group is “committed to the defense, protection and promotion of human rights, especially of the poor and the oppressed.”

Service to the underdog

Olalia, who passed the bar in 1991, said that being a lawyer could only be truly meaningful and fulfilling “if you use your title with honor, principle, fairness, dignity and service to the poor, the underdog, the exploited and oppressed rather than side or even encourage, condone or aid those who use the law against those who have less in life.”

“The elegant and fancy legal niceties you learned in law school will be ultimately tested in the reality outside. Legal fictions will be unraveled and realizations that power relations actually resolve conflicts will be frustrating and temper your idealism. The choice is yours to make. Be the best lawyers that money cannot buy, more than the best lawyers that money can buy,” he said.

The Supreme Court announced the results of the bar exams on Tuesday. Of 5,292 examinees, only 22.18 percent passed. The topnotcher was University of the Philippines graduate Nielson Pangan, who obtained a rating of 85.8 percent.

The new lawyers will take their oath on April 28 at the Philippine International Convention Center.—Jerome Aning

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TAGS: Advice, bar passers, lawyers, National Union of People’s Lawyers
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