Many aspire to be a lawyer but only very few are given the chance to turn into one. In fact, here in the Philippines, the lowest passing rate of bar examination is 16.59 percent (a total of 660 passers) which happened in 1999 while the highest percentage of bar exam passers is only at 59.06% which is 3,747 out of all the 6,344 hopefuls in 2016. These numbers not only show that acquiring the title “Attorney” is really not easy but it also proves the bitter truth that such privilege is not for everyone.
The number of years, money spent, sleepless nights, and just about the whole process to become a practitioner of the law is not something any person can endure and that’s why the respect given to lawyers is of utmost. But, are the sacrifices all worth it? Do lawyers in the Philippines really feel satisfied with their job and everything associated with it?
How Does One Become a Lawyer Here in the Philippines?
For us to truly understand and appreciate the importance of a lawyer’s duty, it’s significant to get to know first the process they went and are still going through to get to be called one.
Let’s start by getting a bachelor’s degree. We can say that taking the right course and units are the first steps to your way to becoming an attorney. Based on our rules, you are primarily required to have a bachelor’s degree (in arts or sciences) with a major on or accumulate a specified number of units in distinct subjects such as Political Science, Logic, Economics, English, Spanish, and History.
(Note: Know that law schools’ criteria vary for accepting students. For example, some may require 18 units for English subject, 6 units of Mathematics, and so on while some may require more than the example above. Some schools accept students who have not earned the required units but require them to take summer classes while on law school to be able to reach the number of units needed.)
Pass the PhiLSAT, Law School Entrance Examination (if applicable), and complete studying law. The Philippine Law School Test or PhiLSAT is a pre-requisite exam that must be taken aside from the entrance test of the law school itself. After passing both examinations, you would be allowed to study law for four years. Now, if getting a bachelor’s degree is not that simple, studying law is way harder and more complicated than that. Ordinarily, a law student is expected to study on his or her own so he/she could answer whenever a professor would call his name. This setting is normal for most law schools so imagine the difficulties a student would be facing all those years.
Pass the Bar Examination and take your oath. Yes, studying is not enough. After graduating from law school, it’s time to face reality and see if you did learn enough and is ready to practice law and serve the people. The bar exam in the Philippines is usually taken on all four Sundays every November at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila. As stated above, the passing rate of Filipinos in this particular test is not really high. Why? Well, a general average of 75% in all subjects without falling below 50% in any of those is the required score to pass (though the Supreme Court has the decision to modify this passing average). Let’s say you did a very good job and passed the bar, taking your oath, signing your name in the Roll of Attorneys, and obtaining your Roll Number, should be your next steps. Once done with all those, you may now be formally called a lawyer.
Want some advice from the top lawyers in the country? Feel free to contact Yap, Kung, Ching & Associates law office to get the best legal service out there.
The Ultimate Question: Why is Being a Lawyer Worth It?
After learning the process of being a lawyer, it’s now time to ask: is it even worth it? Is it fulfilling at all? Fulfillment can be defined differently depending on the aspect we’re looking at.
- If you think salary makes all the hardships worth it, then being a lawyer must be really satisfying since it is no secret that lawyers earn a lot (junior lawyers rank 3rd among the highest-paid employees in the country) with an average earning ranging from Php27,033.00 per month up to P95,083 per month.
- Working Environment. Being able to work conveniently is not something everyone has the privilege to have. Nevertheless, lawyers are quite fortunate to have this kind of working environment. According to a testimonial provided by a Bachelor of Laws graduate, their work is very flexible as lawyers make their own time. They also don’t need to sit inside the office all day and can even finish their jobs by just going outside. But of course, this does not happen all the time as there are still days when they would have to keep working (especially during a trial).
- Providing service. On the other hand, some law practitioners feel more fulfilled by having the capability to provide service. Lawyers are given the opportunity to help people who may be rich or poor with their legal problems and some of them are just not about the money. You would even see some lawyers on social media who are providing free legal information to help out people who are in need of their services, which, I believe, brings a different kind of fulfillment.
Most lawyers are satisfied and are very happy with the path they have chosen. A number of them even encourage others to study law not only for the money, the convenient work environment, or even for the service they are able to provide but also for the knowledge being gained. Remember that ignorance of the law will never be an excuse and studying it generally discontinues someone to be ignorant. Hopefully, the next time you see lawyers, you get to appreciate them more knowing what they have gone through to get to where they are now. Remember, having “Attorney” as part of their names is not only a title, but also a lifetime responsibility.
You may also want to read this article titled “How to Start a Business in the Country? A Guide to Business Registration in Manila, Philippines” if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur.