Updated: Jul 24
By: Romer Yadao and Archiebald Faller Capila
“Why do you want to become a lawyer?”
We often hear this question from relatives, close friends, and colleagues every time the opportunity presents itself. Upon knowing that you are pursuing further studies in law or even just thinking of entering law school, people always ask what your reason is on wanting to enter the world of legal practitioners.
Truth be told, there are a lot of factors that must be considered. For one, it could be a childhood dream to become an officer of the court. For another, it could be the result of the stories seen and heard involving the practice of law in general. True enough, there are a handful of possible reasons why he or she wants to become a lawyer.
Accordingly, it is not foreign to most law students that they pursue law because they want to continue a family legacy. Some students take up law studies because they want to be involved in the circle of lawyers in his or her own family. And we all know that here in the Philippines, there are a lot of family names who have established themselves as pillars and household names in practice of law.
Among the many famous names we often encounter in the legal profession is the clan of the Cayetanos. Ranging from various fields of law, members of the Cayetano clan have in fact etched their niche in the ever-growing family of lawyers in the country. Accordingly, they remain and will continue to remain a popular name in the practice for quite a long time.
Be that as it may, it can be said that members of the aforementioned legal clan still has his or her own identity with respect to lawyering. Being unique individuals in their own ways, lawyers from the said family have grown into progressive and multi-faceted practitioners of the law. Among the many lawyers of the family who continues to be her own woman is none other than Atty. Marian A. Cayetano.
In an exclusive interview with Barrista Solutions, Atty. Cayetano shares how she stands as her own in the legal profession. In which, she discusses her life as a lawyer, as a practitioner engaged in further studies, and her thoughts on the legal profession in general.
Barrista Solutions: You are well-known among lawyers and law students on various social media platforms. How do you balance your work and private life?
Atty. Cayetano: Haha! I always think that balancing my time between work, family, love life, business, social life, among other things, is my secret ability or power. I don't know, but I can multi-task things pretty well.
Barrista Solutions: As regards critics and bashers, how do you deal with them?
Atty. Cayetano: Luckily, I haven’t encountered any critic or basher. ;) Just in case, I'll encounter one, I wouldn't mind because I know that I cannot please everyone. They're entitled to their opinions after all. I'll just let them be.
Barrista Solutions: As a member of the legal profession, who are the legal personalities that you admire or look up to?
Atty. Cayetano: Growing up, this is one of my favorite stories, along with classic children's fairy tales, read to me by my elders, which goes:
At a very young age, a boy already knew that striving hard was never easy. Born the eldest in the family of six children; his mother was a teacher while his father was a mechanic. He suffered poverty because his parents could not provide enough money for them. But it didn't stop him from dreaming. He used to pick up snails along Laguna Lake (in the Philippines) on his way home from school to have something on the table for supper. He graduated from secondary school and was given a scholarship for college. With his perseverance and hard work, he became a lawyer and had three graduate degrees.
Unlike the fairy tales, this is a true story of my grandfather, the late Senator Renato Cayetano. His life is a lesson for which I draw inspiration and daily motivation to live my life to the fullest.
Barrista Solutions: If any, who is your favorite professor or book author and why? Do you have a particular book in mind that you can consider as the most influential in your life?
Atty. Cayetano: A book? I am more of a movie person, but when it comes to fictional books, I am a die-hard Twilight fan. I love reading books about vampires, witches, and angels.
Barrista Solutions: Interestingly, you are taking your Master’s Degree abroad. Can you tell us about it? How was the experience there? How does this benefit you as a lawyer and as a person?
Atty. Cayetano: Three years ago, while reading a newspaper, an article about China's one belt one road project caught my attention. As a young lawyer, I could not help but think of how China and its laws can impact the world. Its legal system is critically influential and important to other countries, as well.
Changes and reforms of Chinese Laws are not only relevant to China but also relevant to the development of the fundamental legal areas. This is true with China's one belt-one road project and the laws that are likely to generate.
My aspiration to study Chinese Business Laws widened my legal understanding of the different laws in China. I see this as a great opportunity to strengthen multicultural ties by sharing best practices and understanding both its legal systems.
Barrista Solutions: What is your message to your colleagues in the law profession who are deemed also as frontliners in this time of pandemic?
Atty. Cayetano: Take things lightly, and don't be too hard on yourselves.
Barrista Solutions: What is your message to all law students trying to survive one day at a time while trapped in the new normal?
Atty. Cayetano: Carpe diem or seize the day! I vividly remember a quote from Nelson Mandela who said that “Education is the most powerful weapon for changing the world.” The same line has been my guiding principle in all of my undertakings.
For most people in the Philippines, schooling stops when one finishes college when work beckons, and family responsibility comes in. But I was not one of them. Despite being occupied with my former corporate job, I enrolled in law school. I read, and I studied hard. Then passed the bar examination.
Learning never stops. Like my grandfather, I knew that a degree or multiple degrees would definitely take me to places and be instrumental in helping other people as well.
* Atty. Marian A. Cayetano earned her degree in public health from the University of the Philippines Manila. She graduated Law from the University of Batangas. She is set to complete her Master in Business Law at Fudan University (Shanghai). She is currently an associate counsel in the legal management and support group of Libra Law and the Chief of Staff of Libra Law's founder and Managing Partner. Before joining Libra Law, Atty. Cayetano was a legal consultant at MAVEK Korea (An international firm providing financial services.
For more inspiring stories of the esteemed members of the Philippine Bar, view more articles on Barrista Profiles.