By Archiebald Faller Capila
Pursuing further studies in law is an achievement in itself. The decision on whether or not to study yet again and try your chances in law school is a commendable feat. Accordingly, it can in fact be considered as a badge of bravery and courage. For most, law school is and will always be viewed as a hurdle not easily surpassed. For most, law school is only for the selected few.
Our society views those engaged in the legal profession as well as those studying to be one as members of the community who have a different status. Lawyers are accorded with high respect because of their brilliance. They are viewed as pillars of society who serve as keys in fully attaining justice in whatever form it may be.
After years of perseverance in law school, months of preparation for the Bar, and an immeasurable amount of pressure along the way, law students also earned the right to be recognized as important members of society.
However, this particular societal affirmation sometimes goes to the head of some law students. This particular sign of respect makes some law students feel they are so important that they forget their respective purpose. This leads to some law students thinking of themselves as above all others because they have the knowledge of the law in the palm of their hands. Because of such, some law students lose sight of who they are and what they are supposed to do.
Some people say that law school changes a person. Some people believe that law school boosts the confidence of people to the extent that they forget their roots and that they are still students of the law amidst having some ample knowledge in legal proceedings. Some people believe that law school consumes its students so much that the latter could only talk about how his or her schooling went for the day or for the week. Some people see law students as changed persons if and when they step into the sacred halls of their respective law schools.
However, some people view the same differently. For them, law school does not change a person but merely shows a student’s true colors. For some, law school is but a way to finally expose who a person really is from within and who a person is if and when the odds are against him.
Either way, it can be said that law school is and will always be about the students. Take a trip down memory lane and recall how your friends or colleagues were before they entered law school. Indeed, law school has changed them. But because of the circumstances and experiences that in fact happen in law school, who would not change in the first place, right?
Never-ending reading assignments could in fact exhaust a law student. To add fuel to the fire, they are required not only to read these but to understand and memorize the same as well. And these experiences, if and when surpassed, not only serve as a benchmark for success for law students. These serve as confidence boosters as well.
Imagine spending several hours just to finish the coverage for one subject and eventually performing well in the recitation or exam the day after. Imagine sacrificing time to be spent supposedly for your family or friends in order to prepare for an examination which would then lead to a great score for the same. Imagine having to sacrifice a date or two with your loved ones so that you could finish a legal paper due for the next day which would then eventually be graded as one of the highest for the class.
Indeed, law school is about sacrifices, and more often than not, these sacrifices lead to success. Such success is a fruit or product of hard work and perseverance. Such success is a testament that you too can be successful if and when you put the right amount of dedication into the same. While it is indeed a positive thing to experience, some law students use this success in the wrong way.
While success is a thing to be proud of, some law students however see this as a license to belittle others. At times, such success reaches the heads of some law students and affects their interaction with other people. You could see some law students bragging about getting a high mark in their respective subjects. You could see some law students dismissing other arguments because he or she believes that it is only his or her opinion that matters. You could see some law students looking down on some other professions just because they know the law. You could see some law students prying on the naïve and gullible minds making them believe that indeed, they are the only ones you should listen to. You could see some law students promoting their respective names as if they have already done something which contributes greatly to his or her community.
These law students are those who we call arrogant and full of pride. These law students are those who think that because they have a degree in law or are already on their way to achieve such feat, they have the license to talk to other people with conviction and with bias. They believe that because they are successful law students, people should accord them with more respect and higher regard.
These are the law students who do not have the capability to differentiate between pride and arrogance. These are the same law students who think that they are the people who should be looked up to simply because they are future members of the legal profession. These are the law students who need to be taught a lesson.
We must always be reminded that the practice and the study of law is and will always be about attaining justice. It is an instrument to achieve justice. It is a reflection of how integrity and honor must be projected. It must be a tool meant to help those who have less in life. It is a catalyst of change—change for the greater good.
Law students must remember that law school is not meant for creating clout which would eventually grow and listen to one-sided discussions. It
Law school is a place where students must learn how to observe proper decorum. It is indeed a haven for brilliant people. However, law school does not only look at the brilliance of its students. It also looks at the moral compass they have from within.
It is the duty of law schools to teach law students the essence and knowledge of the law as well as the values of their respective institutions. It is, however, the duty of law students to uphold such values and to remain grounded whenever the opportunity presents itself. Law students must remember that humility is key. Law students must remember to keep their feet on the ground even if they have been reaching the stars as of late.
To all the law students who may be reading this, may you all be reminded that we are studying law not for ourselves but for others. May we all be reminded that the study of law is a privilege which only a few could afford. We must make the best out of this experience and use our knowledge to help other people and not build a narcissistic image of ourselves to the public. Law school is meant to uplift people, not belittle them. Law school is about honor and integrity. Law school is about humility.
Never forget your purpose on why you are doing this in the first place. Remember that it is okay to dream high. It is okay to continue being great. But you must remember that in the process, you must still be humble. Along the way, you must look back on your moral roots. In the end, what will matter most is how you are remembered not as a great lawyer but as a great person who helped people by using the law in the right way.
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