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Love, Loss and Law School

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

By: Archiebald Faller Capila

Is there love in law? Or are we all doomed to suffer a never-ending cycle of pain and regret?

Most people say that love is easy to find if we try to look for the same even in the tiniest of details. Some say love can be found between words—between the lines that sway us and melt us all at the same time. Some say that love can be found in the body language of the people we know—those simple smiles and winks whenever we are with them. Some say that love is everywhere and that love will always find a way to enter into our hearts and lives.

The same could be said as true for everything we do. Whether it pertains to our personal lives or the lives we share with other people, the concept of love is so fluid that it is a topic that we welcome with open arms. However, it is safe to say that one on an occasion or two has asked the question on whether or not there is love on the things you do.

For law students, bar candidates, and law practitioners alike, we ask: Is there love in law?

History tells us that for the first time in the history of constitution-making in this country, the word “love” is enshrined in the fundamental law. According to Constitutional Commission President Cecillia Muñoz-Palma in her closing remarks during the final session of the Constitutional Commission, “This is most significant at this period in our national life when the nation is bleeding under the forces of hatred and violence. Love which begets understanding is necessary if reconciliation is to be achieved among the warring factions and conflicting ideologies now gripping the country. Love is imperative if peace is to be restored in our nativeland, for without love there can be no peace.”

Accordingly, jurisprudence is replete with several quotable lines pertaining to different kinds of love. From the ever-famous “The heart has reasons of its own which reason does not know” to the well-quoted “Love is useless unless it is shared with another,” the Supreme Court in several cases has shared its thoughts and quips about love that we eventually read and memorize from time to time.

Indeed, the concept of love is present as well in a profession one may describe as rigid, technical, and structured. But that aside, we can say as well that the study and practice of law will always present a perspective different from what we are used to seeing. And that begs the question—for one who studies and practices law, how can you say that there is indeed love outside the legal jargons we are accustomed to?

Justice Joseph Story’s quote can be said as relevant in such a discussion. According to him, the law is a jealous mistress and requires a long and constant courtship. It is not to be won by trifling favors, but a lavish homage. True enough, the said excerpt from Justice Story has echoed throughout the history of law schools—the same has been said and preached over and over again. Some even say that the law is not even a mistress but in fact, the legal spouse. It is a choice not for the faint of heart. It is a choice not for those who are dedicated.

Sometimes, love cannot be found in law school. Kilometric codal provisions are required to be memorized and understood in just a span of a week. Landmark cases and lengthy jurisprudence are required to be read and analyzed. Annotations from several legal barons and authorities are told to be understood in full. All these taxing efforts are just for a short recitation, a simple quiz or exam, or even a Finals test that would determine a large portion of your grade for a respective subject.

This cycle is done as a part of a daily routine for four to five years in law school, excluding the review proper in preparation for the Bar. Accordingly, the studying does not stop once a former student eventually becomes eligible for practice. Keeping abreast with the dynamics of the law including amendments and new jurisprudence is a duty that must be performed.

Indeed, the taxing nature of pursuing law is on a league of its own. Heartbreaks are always present when you cannot answer a question or two amidst studying for 8 straight hours on the topics assigned for that day. Loss of will to strive further lingers after failing to reach the required mark for a passing grade amidst the curve shared by the professor. Doubts on whether or not the study and practice of law are indeed for you are always playing with your mind amidst knowing that you have gone so far in your journey already.

With all that being said, law school may be referred to as a place of loss and heartbreaks. We all know that in law school, whatever we do is not enough. We all know that in law school, brilliance and perseverance fall short of meeting the standards our law schools have imposed upon us. We all know that at the end of the day, we only feel pain and regret because we think we could have done more amidst the fact that we have given it all.

It seems like a never-ending story of stabbing our hearts every day because of the pain this journey is bringing with it. How can a law student or even a legal practitioner say that there is love in the study and practice of law? How can one engaged in the legal profession say that there exists a concept that is seemingly so foreign with respect to how things really work in reality?

We may not see or feel the same, but there is and will always be love in law.

Love exists in the reason why you are pursuing law in the first place. For some of us, it is because we want to continue a family legacy—a pronouncement of love for those who you believe serves as your inspiration. For some of us, it is because of an idea that you can do good and contribute to the betterment of your community—a symbol of love for your people. For some of us, it is because you want to serve the nation and give life to the essence of the law—proof that your love for the country is unparalleled.

Love exists in the world you built for yourself—the place where you believe that you can do your best and eventually contribute great things. For some of us, the study of the law is the only way on how we could give back to the people that believed in us and helped us. For some of us, the practice of law is the only instrument available in contributing a moral fiber to the legal system. For some of us, the law is the embodiment of what is right and what is wrong not only with respect to the legal aspect but to other personal aspects as well.

While there are no apparent and visual representations of love in the study and practice of law, the same still exists by heart. All we have to do is to remember our purpose on why we are doing this in the first place. There will always be heartbreaks, pain, regret, and gloom whenever we talk about law school. These form part of the necessary elements in order for one to fully experience the struggle of the ones engaged in the profession.

However, where there is heartbreak, there is love. And when there is love, one must be able to harness the positive thing about it and use it as a tool in order to become better. In the study and practice of the legal profession, love is just as important as brilliance and perseverance. In our chosen field of expertise, love is a necessary experience so that we may be able to fully appreciate the essence and impact of the legal profession.

Is there love in law?

Of course, there is. However, the same does not come about all by itself. It needs actors and actresses who will need to carry out and profess this element to give it life. For love in law to flourish, one must accept that heartbreak is inevitable. For love in law to be fully realized, one must need to learn to cope with losses. For love to be understood, one must look beyond the ordinary routine of a student and a practitioner. For love to be present, one must be able to accept that there is always room for an understanding of what happens in our lives and why it happens.

At the end of the day, we must all understand that love is present everywhere, including the law. Whether it refers to the technical and complicated legal world or the personal lives of law students and lawyers, love will always be there whenever there is loss and law school.

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