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Building a Better Future Through the Academe: An Interview with Atty. Hofileña

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

By: Romer V. Yadao

Atty. Daniel Hofilena, an educator at CEU College of Law shares why he decided to teach Law and be a pat of the academe.

"Docendo discimus" (By teaching, we learn)

Education is an immense force as it has the power to change the course of our future. As such, the importance of educators is undisputed. During our younger years, we look at our teachers at the same level as our parents. We listen to their instructions and carry out their orders in class. We even look at them with admiration as they carry this savoir-faire. They speak articulately. They act gracefully and they think with sophistication.

But beyond these, educators/ teachers have this special calling. And this is to ensure that students get a brighter future. Undoubtedly, they have a keen ability to sort the strengths and weaknesses of students. Upon knowing these, they guide these students to become better versions of themselves, nonetheless. As educators, they have this dedication to coach and mentor their students towards achieving their life and personal goals. Teachers as educators also prepare students to become the best versions of themselves. Atty. Daniel Hofilena is no exception to this.

In an exclusive interview with Barrista Solutions, Atty. Hofilena shares what steered him to the academe, what his principles and insights on education and how important it is to maintain a well-balanced life.

Barrista Solutions: What made you decide to teach?

Atty. Daniel Hofileña:: After finishing my Master's degree in Economics in 2011, I was given the privilege to teach at the School of Economics of De La Salle University-Manila. Later, I became part of the faculty of Centro Escolar University- School of Law and Jurisprudence, where I am currently teaching International Law.

I decided to teach because I believe that education is the avenue for nation-building, I want to be part of that process. I want to help build a better future through the academe. Most of all, I want to give back to the community. Education can be used to further the common good or to foster something sinister. As a teacher, it is my goal to help my students think critically and to circumscribe their desires for the better of humanity. Finally, I was also inspired to teach by my father, who is likewise a professor of law.

Barrista Solutions: How did teaching help you in your practice?

Teaching helped me develop qualities that are essential in my quest to be a successful lawyer. As a teacher, I have to keep abreast with the latest legal developments. Moreover, as an educator, I am forced to break down legal concepts into simple terms. This helps in my mastery of the law and allows me to convey legal solutions to my clients effectively. Finally, as a teacher, I learned how to be compassionate and patient

Barrista Solutions: Reforms on the mode of the next Bar examinations was recently introduced. As a professor of law, what do you think should the students do to excel in the newly proposed setting?

Atty. Daniel Hofileña: First, examinees have to build their physical endurance. The bar exam is a feat, having to take eight exams over one month. Second, examinees should focus on reinforcing core skills: mastery of the law and issue spotting. A student has to finish the bar exam in a matter of hours, which does not leave much time for deliberation. Consequently, they must spot the core issues and immediately know the relevant legal principles that the examiner is looking for. Third, examinees should know how to be precise. They should be able to condense their answers into eight short sentences: brevity is beauty. Now that the bar examination is moving towards digitization, it will level the playing field as examiners focus more on mastery and precision.

Barrista Solutions: How do you see the method of learning and teaching changing in the coming years?

Atty. Daniel Hofileña: As we welcome the digital age, a student's drive will play a more pivotal role. Self-paced learning is the future. That way, students will be able to study in their own time. However, the learning process is more intense as students will have to overcome procrastination and invest more time in understanding the lessons. Moreover, students may find it harder to study without personal interaction with their classmates and professors, eliminating the support system necessary for law school. I also think that this will mark the end of the Socratic method. Exams would likewise shift from an exercise of memory to critical thinking. Thus, as classrooms go digital, teachers must find different ways to motivate learners. Professors should spark a student's desire to learn (not just to pass) and quench their thirst for knowledge instead of inducing fear.

Barrista Solutions: You are also a book author. What made you decide to write a book?

Atty. Daniel Hofileña: My father and I decided to write a book on International Extradition because we wanted to further the knowledge in a largely uncharted field. Being professors of the law, we wanted to contribute to the literature regarding the subject.

Barrista Solutions: What important lessons have law school instilled in you and that you continue to use until now?

Atty. Daniel Hofileña: Law school taught me how to persevere and to learn to fight another day. In law school, things will not always go the way you want them to be. Still, you would have plenty of opportunities to recover. The institution developed my confidence and trained me to stand my ground because professors would continuously try to break you. Finally, law school taught me the value of teamwork. Like a law firm, a study group comes together to overcome various challenges. It isn't easy to finish law school without friends or fraternity brothers.

Barrista Solutions: What is your message to all law students out there dreaming of finishing law school and eventually passing the Bar exams any time soon?

Atty. Daniel Hofileña: Law school is not everything. As my father always says: it is not a race but a marathon. Devote ample time to study, yet also allow time for your family and friends. It is all about striking a balance between your readings, your social life, and developing your other skills. Devoting too much to one endeavor is never good.

Moreover, talk and open up to your parents or family. Without the support of my father and mother, I would not have finished law school. I am very grateful and lucky to have them by my side.

Furthermore, students must learn the value of hard work. I believe that no amount of studying is wasted in law school. If you see yourself wanting to give up studying for a particular subject, always remember that somewhere down the road, that may make or break your career. For instance, as a lawyer, people would not approach you to answer just one question in one particular field. You can expect your clients and friends to ask you many questions concerning a wide variety of topics, from the local government code to international law. Impressing clients with your vast knowledge of the law boosts your reputation. In practice, reputation is everything. Bad lawyers only get bad clients.

Also, being a lawyer requires a deep understanding of law and politics. That said, learn how to work with a team, remember who your friends are, and never pull someone down. It would be best if you didn't make enemies in law school−save it for when you are practicing.

Finally, remember your purpose. Do not forget why you want to become a lawyer. Never pursue law for glory or greed. Instead, be a lawyer so you can protect yourselves, your family, and your friends. Strive to make the world a better place for this generation and those who will come after us.

Atty. Daniel Hofileña graduated Honorable Mention with a management degree at the De La Salle University-Manila. He also has a diploma in banking from the Ateneo de Manila University, a Masters in Applied Economics from De La Salle University-Manila, and a Juris Doctor degree with a major in Intellectual Property from the Ateneo de Manila University (Second Honors). He is currently taking up his Masters of Laws in International Dispute Settlement at the Centre for International Dispute Settlement, a joint venture of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva and the University of Geneva Law School.

Since 2012, he has been teaching at the School of Economics of the De la Salle University-Manila, handling such diverse subjects as Statistics, Financial Econometrics, Microeconomics, and Macroeconomics.

He is an accredited arbitrator and the Assistant Deputy Secretary General for Education and Training of the Philippine International Center for Conflict Resolution. He is likewise accredited as an arbitrator and mediator by the Department of Justice of the Philippines. He is also a trained arbitrator of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. Finally, he successfully passed both the Initial Entry Course and the Fellowship Assessment Course administered by the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.

He is also a member of the Philippine Institute of Arbitrators, YSIAC, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, and the Economic Society of Singapore.

He has published numerous articles in journals and presented papers in conferences in the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and China on economics and intellectual property. He was also an Associate Attorney at Tolosa Javier Law Firm.

Currently, he is a litigation lawyer at Hofileña law. At the same time, he is a Senior Consultant at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines- Office of the Director General (Intellectual Property Academy) where he is deeply absorbed in the crafting of laws and intellectual property education. He is part of the technical working group in charge of drafting the proposed revision of the rules on intellectual property arbitration and on the law of intellectual property rights.

He is also a lecturer of International Law and Credit Transactions at the Centro Escolar University-School of Law and Jurisprudence. He is also a lecturer at the De La Salle University- Manila where he teaches graduate-level economics and corporation law.

He has lectured on intellectual property in numerous workshops conducted by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines and has been invited to lecture in the world-renowned summer school of the World Intellectual Property Organization. He has also conducted trainings on alternative dispute resolution in seminars hosted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution, and the Philippine International Center for Conflict Resolution.

He is currently serving as the Vice-Chairman of the committee on ways and means of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines- Cavite Chapter.

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