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Grit and Grind: An Interview with Atty. Jumrani

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

By: Archiebald Faller Capila

“Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.”

We often hear this statement from pillars of the law who believe that with the proper grit and grind, one can eventually succeed in his or her journey towards becoming a great lawyer. Indeed, law school is not only a place where wits are tested. It is an avenue wherein only the strong survive—where only those who keep on fighting see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, there are a few who are gifted with skills and mindsets who do not only work hard but maintain their talents to further improve their respective crafts. There are law students and practitioners who continue to work hard amidst having the innate talent to be great. For them, it is the only way to maximize their potential. For them, it is the only way to further touch the lives of others so that their talent and hard work could be put to good use.

The profession of law is meant to be upheld by practitioners who believe in something. It is meant to be promoted and protected by lawyers who continue to work hard to see improvements in the current status of our legal landscape. Accordingly, the profession of law will always be meant for lawyers who want to effect change in the world for the greater good—for the betterment of the people.

Atty. Aliakhbar A. Jumrani is among the few lawyers who personify such a statement. As a legal practitioner also engaged in legal education, Atty. Jumrani continues to inspire his students by sharing valuable experiences and knowledge in the study of law. Accordingly, he maintains the fact that with hard work, perseverance, and dedication, one can reach his or her dreams and be able to make a change in a great way.

In an exclusive interview with Barrista Solutions, Atty. Jumrani shares with us his life as a practitioner and as a law student. Also, he shares as well his thoughts on the legal profession, on legal education, and on what students could do to succeed not only in law school but also in life.

Barrista Solutions: What inspired you to become a lawyer? Looking back at your career, did everything work out just the way you planned it?

Atty. Jumrani: I became a lawyer for two practical and real reasons. First, it was my father’s dream to become a lawyer but he did not finish law school. So, I wanted to become the lawyer in the family. Second, I did not want to work yet after graduating AB Political Science. I felt it was just a preparation for law school. So, I went straight to law school. Looking back, I think it turned out exactly how I wanted it. I wanted to be the lawyer in the family to make them proud and I have exactly completed what I was supposed to take after my first baccalaureate degree.

Barrista Solutions: The current pandemic has affected all professions in the country, including that of the practice of law. What do you think should be the major adjustments of practicing lawyers in order to keep up with the “new normal”?

Atty. Jumrani: Now that many government transactions, including court proceedings, are being done online and remotely, lawyers should be adept with the technology, get themselves the right equipment and have the proper attitude. Lawyers should not hesitate and must be willing to learn. Looking forward, the new normal will make litigation more efficient and cost-effective.

Barrista Solutions: Our legal education is one of the aspects gravely affected by the said pandemic. As a professor of the law yourself, what major changes have you done with respect to the manner of teaching?

Atty. Jumrani: To prepare for the change, I purchased a new Lenovo laptop because my three-year old laptop was already too slow. I also attended courses online on effective online teaching. Then, I converted all my written lectures to PowerPoint Presentations. Lastly, I made videos of my lectures and uploaded them on my YouTube channel. During my classes, I would have a mix of lecture, interaction, viewing of my videos and presentations, and, of course, online quizzes. Everything is done now using the computer and internet.

Barrista Solutions: You also serve as a reviewer for a handful of bar review centers in the country. With respect to that venture, what are the changes that you noticed in the conduct of reviews all over the country? Is it more of an advantage or a disadvantage?

Atty. Jumrani: Bar review has not been spared from the changes. I have already recorded with Academicus, Legal Edge, Villasis and Jurists in the past year, and will still record with PUP soon. All my lectures have been before a video camera or the laptop’s webcam. There is no audience. It is sad because review is supposed to be interactive. Traditionally, I give a fun and interactive lecture. But now, it’s just straight lecture, without any feedback. While recorded lectures are convenient because they can be viewed anytime and anywhere, I still believe that face-to-face interactive review lectures are more effective in clarifying confusing legal doctrines and provisions.

Barrista Solutions: How do you inspire your students in their respective struggles and doubts on becoming a lawyer?

Atty. Jumrani: I inspire them by telling them my own struggles, failures and successes. I was once like every law student. Thus, I can feel their struggles and I can relate. I tell them, if I made it, you can also make it.

Barrista Solutions: What are the similarities and differences with respect to your methods compared to that of today’s students?

Atty. Jumrani: My study habits then are both the same and different to today’s students. First, they are the same because we all need to do our research. Questions in law school are not questions merely seeking opinions. We have to have legal basis which we can only know by legal research and study. Second, they are different because back then I was confined to what was available in the library, but students of today have the internet. Just Google the question or problem and they can find many resources, even suggested answers. Research may be easier for present-day students, but I think this ease has compromised the quality of their work.

Barrista Solutions: For you, what are the lessons you have learned in your practice that you could apply in your personal life?

Atty. Jumrani: I think the most valuable lesson that I learned from my practice which I apply to my personal life today is that all problems have solutions. If the desired solution is not feasible, there is always a Plan B—an alternative remedy. So, when you are overwhelmed by life’s struggles, sit down, keep calm, think out of the box and consider the alternative remedy. It doesn’t have to end so badly.

Barrista Solutions: What are the things that you look forward to seeing or having in the near future as a practitioner of the legal profession?

Atty. Jumrani: For practicing lawyers, I hope to see an easier and less formal way of trying cases—less of the formality and more of the practical. I am referring to acceptance of non-traditional evidence, remote conduct of hearings even after the pandemic, resolution of motions as they are made in open court, and the like.

Barrista Solutions: If you could give advice or any form of a message to your younger self, what would it be?

Atty. Jumrani: None, to be honest. I had the best law school life you could possibly imagine. I studied diligently—without being pressured by anybody—but at the same time, I had a great time outside of school with my classmates and friends. I had extracurricular activities and I did not miss out on life. Of course, if I partied hard, I also studied harder to quell my guilty conscience.

Barrista Solutions: What are your tips to all law students out there dreaming of passing the Bar exams in the near future?

Atty. Jumrani: For law students, my advice is to set your eyes on the Bar Exam. Take up law not just for the diploma. Take up law because you want to be a lawyer. So, study hard every semester, every step of the way. Prepare yourself for the final battle which is the Bar Exam. Don’t waste the years in law school. Build up your mind and your body in those four or five years that you are in law school. Now, for the graduates and bar examinees, the Bar Exam is the culmination of all your years of toil in law school. Don’t slack now. Study harder than usual. But keep your mind and body fit and healthy. The Bar Exam is a mind game, and the mind works well with a healthy body. As you go through the ordeal of the Bar Exam, have the right attitude—be positive, determined and grateful that you have gone this far. With all the right elements in place, nothing can stop you from claiming what is rightfully yours.

· Atty. Aliakhbar A. Jumrani is a professor of law is Far Eastern University, Adamson University, University of the East. He is also an MCLE Lecturer and a Bar reviewer. He graduated Cum Laude at Siliman University College of Law.

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