Wielding the Pen of Legal Fiction
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
By: Nico Angelo C. Solon
“The power of the lawyer is in the uncertainty of the law”- Jeremy Bentham
All lawyers derive their powers and abilities from an unseen dimension from the plane of legal fiction through the Constitution and the derivative laws that flow consistent to it.
With the power of the knowledge, they possess as well as the pen they hold, those who practice it have the power to create, to destroy and to change how civil realities are to be realized. Those who benefit from it have the power to choose its exercise albeit as a bystander; and those who learn from it, travel between two worlds and learn how to wield what is known as the lawyer’s pen.
A student of law travels between two worlds: the first is the world of reality; the one where natural persons live and breathe, the world filled with realistic challenges, problems, and dilemmas that can deprive people of their rights, liberty, or property. It is in this plane of existence from which a law student is born and introduced to the world.
The second world from which the law student travels to is less known by many. It is not seen by the naked eye, but it is a dimension filled with creatures and species known as States, corporations, and other species of juridical persons. The unseen world, or the plane of legal fiction, is that world where the imagination of ideas is realized and come to life in its own form of flesh and blood unchartered to the majority of the masses but are trodden by those who practice its art.
These two worlds cannot coexist independently and the actions made on one plane of existence affects that of the other. A triumph in legal fiction has in its effect, the glory of the natural world, and conversely, the doom of legal fiction spells misery to the realities of the real world.
A law student, who was brought into the world through natural means, knows how to speak the language of the reality from which they were born in; and as a traveler in the unseen world, a law student is trained to listen, understand and speak in by the principles that legal fiction was created in order to learn how to wield its pen as a weapon in such alternate reality.
Students of law have one eye on the present realities enveloping our country; global pandemics, denied civil rights, ineffective policies, political tension, and custom-made truths are just some things that darken the landscape of our times. But a law student also has another eye on the mysteries that unravel at the legal level as it sees the crux of the problems, the points of fallacies, and the causative agent of a legal disease the same way a doctor’s eyes would to an ill patient.
In upholding the rule of law, the law student should see such issues objectively beyond the cloud of personal bias and see them as they are at the legal level and objectively through critical analysis. It is the role of the student to learn how to detect legal errors in order to analyze which legal method is best used in the surgical procedure of extracting specific legal problems in the legal realm to uphold the ends of justice inside the confines of the classroom as such decisions greatly shape the future of his/her clients and the country itself.
The real world, unlike the world of legal fiction, does not need a supervening event to bring about change. Common knowledge dictates that all communities evolve and thus, the future of law can in no circumstance, operate in a vacuum lest it becomes outdated and ineffective. These events of uncertainty require law students to be abreast of present-day realities and to have a foresight of the trends to come in order to learn the rapid developments of law; to learn the wisdom behind such solutions as proposed by Congress and government agencies, to learn how to use the same and to learn to question when needed in order to subject such provisions to change to maximize its effectivity.
A law student, just like every officer of the court, should learn to observe discretion and to craft sound moral principles in the course of learning the language of the law. However, where the law of the land is inconsistent with his/her solid moral principles, the neophyte’s role is to learn that the solution is neither to submit to the harsh letter of the law nor to bend the same whimsically to his/her own beliefs, but to find a reasonable compromise by learning the circumstances on when to use one over the other. The letters of the law are flexible enough to be used as a blade to injure or a shield to defend, thus, it is the responsibility of the law student to know when to use the articles of law to attack and when to use the same to defend.
Legal ethics dictates that one cannot practice law without passing the Bar examinations. Thus, unfortunately, students of law have very little to do but learn the basic concepts and principles that govern the legalities that revolve around the system. However, organizations, advocacies, and other institutions provide diverse avenues to uphold the rule of law without the need to engage in the practice of law and in different sectors of the community. Thus, it is a law student’s role to organize, advocate and bring these principles to society to bring about change in the form of paradigm shift and if no such thing exists for a certain sector, then it is the role of the law student to pioneer in such area and to spearhead and organize with people with common ideas for the same ends to uplift the entire country in so far as their capabilities may permit.
In engaging in organizations and exercising the advocacy of, the ideologies crafted within the confines of a classroom, are brought to life and passed on to the succeeding generations to come; and when such ideas are passed forward, it has the concept of immortalizing convictions that shape and instill values etched within the very souls of the lawyers that will rewrite the history of tomorrow.
While a law student should always keep their heads on the books that they read trapped in the unseen dimension of the legal fiction, they must also learn to look around the free market place of ideas and schools of thought. Our country, as a democracy, holds paramount the freedom of expression of an unlimited number of ideas; limitless possibilities that a country can be run, a myriad of methodologies and approaches on how the law is and how the law ought to be. However, in today’s rapid diaspora of ideas, it cannot be said that the irony falls that the peril in a democracy is the use of the same vital rights that it grants.
In today’s world filled with fake news and bias, democracy is periled to face a wave of doom as the social media and emotionally driven masses, it is the role of the law student to look beyond the fog of the truth packaged by fallacies and lies and take a stand on what ought to be done free from the external influence except by that of reason and pragmatics.
The generation of today is an interesting time to practice the profession of law. While technology has rendered so many skilled jobs obsolete due to the efficiency of machine-driven substitutes, no machine has ever come near to the frontier of crossing over to the world of legal fiction. Perhaps, one can argue that the legal profession is one reserved for humans as machines are incapable of understanding the concepts of sympathy and irrational human beliefs. Which is why a law student, must learn to be less mechanical in their dealings. In being a mediator among people, the lawyer must understand human behavior like never before in order to immerse themselves in the best interests of their clients and their dealings. However, such rule should not come without exceptions; it should already be common knowledge that while understanding such interest is one thing, a law student must know that acting upon it on unlawful grounds should not be an option.
Finally, a law student, as a cross traveler between two worlds, should know the importance of the bridge that connects the people’s interests to the State which are embodied in the Constitution. The ideals and principles immortalized in such pact between the artificial being of a State and the people which it is subject to is the bridge between the world of reality and the world of legal fiction from which all rights are derived from.
In the real world, it is the role of the law student to search every angle of its reality for solutions that it can ultimately preserve the bridge in order to keep both worlds from falling into ruin. In the classroom, on the other hand, a law student must learn to master the letter of the Constitution and how it is understood so that the same cannot be used to bring about injustices that it seeks to remedy as well as to seek guidance from its wisdom to address modern issues based on its timeless principles.
In the realm of legal fiction, lawyers possess the power so immense as they are able to influence the events of reality that they need only their wits and their pens to make it happen. With the stroke of a lawyer’s pen, a person could become incapacitated notwithstanding their physical condition. With the stroke of a lawyer’s pen, artificial beings are given life. With a stroke of a lawyer’s pen, countries may go to war; and with such stroke send hundreds of thousands to their graves.
In the dimension of legal fiction, the law student must learn the roles that he/she needs to play before he/she holds the pen of power that grants such privilege because such pen may not only write specific cases; but when held properly, may also write and rewrite history itself.
* Nico Angelo Solon is the 2nd Placer in the First ever Barrista Solutions Essay Writing Contest. He is a student at San Beda College Alabang School of Law.
Note: The views expressed in the essay do not reflect the official position of Barrista Solutions.