Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Slaying Kingsfield

(A sort-of welcome for the entering class at Malcolm Hall, 2000)

Each of you has come to law school, fueled by the desire to become a lawyer. Most of you have been inspired by role models, culled from your own experiences. Perhaps your parents or relatives who are lawyers; or actual experience with real lawyers in actual cases; or perhaps from conversations with graduates of the U.P. College of Law; or even from fictional role models taken from such diverse fare as The Practice, Ally McBeal, John Grisham’s books or the real-life stories of the lives of Clarence Darrow or Oliver Wendell Holmes. Whatever or whoever has been your inspiration for taking this most important step in your young lives, you are now faced with one reality: you are now officially in law school; and one question: what do I do next?

The answer to that question may be answered by a scene from the prototypical film about law school, The Paper Chase (1973). This scene demonstrates how it is to study law.

In this scene, the antagonist of the film, the despotic Professor in Contracts, Mr. Kingsfield, is concluding his exercise of humiliating the law students in his class; on deck is the hero of the film, Mr. Hart, a first year law student at Harvard, who has failed to answer his questions. In a dull, flat monotone dripping with sarcasm, Kingsfield intones, “Mr. Hart, here is a penny, call your mother and tell her that her son will not become a lawyer.” Hart, who was just about to bolt the room and quit law school after being humiliated so publicly by Kingsfield, turns around, stares Kingsfield in the eye, and, in emphatic and plain language, tells Kingsfield, “You, Kingsfield, are a son of a bitch.” In the stunned silence that follows, Kingsfield very calmly tells Hart, “That, Mr. Hart, is the most intelligent thing you have ever said in this class. Sit down.”

During your first weeks in law school, you will find yourself, like the hapless Hart, confronting Kingsfield, in various guises, shapes and sizes. The challenge for you is to overcome your own Kingsfields for unless you do so, then you will just have to tell your father or mother that you will not become a lawyer. This early in your life as a law student, when you have yet to open your first case report or law book, you must ask yourself if, like Hart, you have–or are capable of obtaining–the values, skills, traits and character to slay the Kingsfields you will meet in law school. (Hart’s emphatic language to Kingsfield is not encouraged though, for all that it will most certainly get you are either : [1] a 5.0, [2] kicked out of the class and law school, [3] sued for libel and defamation or [4] possibly all three, in that order). Slaying your own Kingsfields will be the first skill you need to survive law school and become a lawyer.

To slay your own Kingsfields and become a lawyer will demand of you a great deal of sacrifice, commitment, skill and character; there is a need for a genuine self-appraisal on your part. It is easiest to judge others but most difficult to evaluate oneself. To help you in your self-appraisal, before you meet your Kingsfields, draw from the thoughts of one of the foremost criminal lawyers of his time, the late Senator Jose W. Diokno, the beloved Ka Pepe.

Answering Popoy, his eldest son who asked him whether he (Popoy) should study law, Ka Pepe wrote a deeply insightful, compelling, descriptive, and very moving letter; in his letter, he bares to Popoy his unique insights on what a lawyer is, how it is to study law and what kind of person you have to be or may have to become in order to be a great lawyer. It is an eloquent and inspiring testimonial to one man’s love for country, people, profession and family written in detention during the darkest days of martial law.

Allow me to share his letter with you:

Dear Popoy,

When you asked me about a month ago, for a list of books that you could read to start studying law, I was loathe to prepare the list because I felt that you would be wasting your time studying law in this “new society.”

I am still not sure that it would be worth your while to do so.

A few days ago, while chatting with a soldier, he asked, in all seriousness and sincerity, “Pero sir, kailangan pa ba ang mga abogado ngayon?” And in a way that perhaps he did not intend, he raised a perfectly valid question.

A lawyer lives in and by the law; and there is no law when society is ruled, not by reason, but by will–worse, by the will of one man.

A lawyer strives for justice; and there is no justice when men and women are imprisoned not only without guilt, but without trial.

A lawyer must work in freedom; and there is no freedom when conformity is extracted by fear and criticism silenced by force.

A lawyer builds on facts. He must seek truth; and there is no truth when facts are suppressed, news is manipulated and charges are fabricated.

Worse, when the Constitution is invoked to justify outrages against freedom, truth and justice, when democracy is destroyed under the pretext of saving it, law is not only denied–it is perverted.

And what need do our people have for men and women who would practice perversion?

Yet the truth remains true that never have our people had greater need than today for great lawyers, and for young men and women determined to be great lawyers.

Great lawyers–not brilliant lawyers. A scoundrel may be, and often is, brilliant; and the greater the scoundrel, the more brilliant the lawyer. But only a good man can become a great lawyer: for only a man who understands the weaknesses of men because he has conquered them in himself; who has the courage to pursue his ideals though he knows them to be unattainable; who tempers his conviction with respect for those of others because he realizes he may be mistaken; who deals honorably and fairly with all, because to do otherwise would diminish him as well as them–only such a man would so command respect that he could persuade and need never resort to force. Only such a man could become a great lawyer. Otherwise, “what you are speaks so loudly, cannot hear what you say.”

For men and women of this kind, our country will always have need–and now more than ever. True, there is little that men of goodwill can do now to end the madness that holds our nation in its grip. But we can,even now, scrutinize our past; try to pinpoint where we went wrong; determine what led to this madness and what nurtured it; and how, when it ends, we can make sure that it need never happen again.

For this madness must end–if not in my lifetime, at least in yours. We Filipinos are proverbially patient, but we are also infinitely tough and ingeniously resourceful. Our entire history as a people has been a quest for freedom and dignity; and we will not be denied our dreams.

So this madness will end; the rule of force will yield to the rule of law. Then the country will need its great lawyers, its great engineers,its great economists and managers, the best of its men and women to clear the shambles and restore the foundations of that noble and truly Filipino society for which our forefathers fought, bled and died.

So, there are two sides to the question of whether it is worth your while to study law; and, in the end, it is a question that only you can answer.

Just be sure, that, whatever be your decision, it is truly yours, that it is truly what you want, not a choice dictated by a sense of duty to follow in my footsteps.

To help you decide, I suggest that you read:

(a) The Attorney’s Oath, Form No, 28 appended to our Rules of Court; and the duties of an attorney, Rule 138, sec. 20 of the Rules of Court, which you can ask from my office;
(b) “The Five Functions of a Lawyer” in Arthur T. Vandervilt’s “Cases and Materials on Modern Procedure.”
(c) “The Chicago Lawyer’s Pledge” on p. 395, and “The Crafts of Law Re-valued” on pp. 316-322 of Karl Llewellyn’s “Jurisprudence.”
(d) “The Lawyer from Antiquity to Modern Times” by Roscoe Pound.
(e) “Men of Law” by William Seagle.

These should give you an idea of what a lawyer should be and what he has been in the past. What he is in our country, you have an idea;

(f) Martin Mayer’s “The Lawyers”, tells you what he is in the United States; and
(g) Brian Abel-Smith’s “Lawyers and Courts”, what he is in England.

Read either and compare with our practice. And for a critique of lawyers, of courts, and even of law, read,

(h) “Law against the People,” by Robert Lefcourt.

As you read, cultivate the habit I have never been able to school myself to do of taking notes of your reading–not only of the gist of what the author says, or quotations of thoughts he felicitously expresses, but also of your reactions to his work (where you agree or disagree or suspend judgment, and why) and of the thoughts he arouses in you. File your notes in orderly fashion. They will become invaluable to you as you mature.

After you have read enough to give you an idea of what a lawyer is and does, but before you firmly commit yourself, one way or the other, discuss the matter with your wife and your friends, always bearing these things in mind:

– That the law is a demanding profession, exacting a constant and unswerving devotion that is always a thinking obedience to its ideals, and that is much harder to give than blind obedience;

– That the rewards of the law as a profession are not in wealth or even in fame, but in the respect of your peers, in the excitement of the chase after justice, and in the satisfaction not only of service to your clients but of having somehow shaped the future by molding the law of today.

This has been a long letter on a short question–whether to study law–and is not an example to be emulated should you decide in favor of law. My excuse is that time lies heavy on my hands in these days of detention, and since we can talk only in snatches when you visit, I have written at length in the hope of anticipating some of your questions.

You may suspect that, by stressing the difficulties of the law profession and by suggesting that you read some eight books before making up your mind, I am trying to discourage you from studying law. I am not. In a rather heavy-handed way, I am trying to paint the lawyer’s role as accurately as I can and show you that, if you do decide to become a lawyer, you must prepare yourself for a lifetime of study,reading, weighing and deciding, while at the same time acting and doing. It sounds impossible–but every day it has been and is being done.

I have loved the law; and I have always been proud of being a lawyer. But I have never been prouder than the day, five Sundays ago, that you told me that you wanted to study law. Regardless of what you may finally decide, the fact that you even thought of becoming a lawyer, despite my arrest and detention, allows me to hope that I have not failed as a lawyer and as a father.

For that, son, thanks.

Your father,

PEPE


This was written in detention by Sen. Jose W. Diokno to his eldest son, Jose Ramon I. Diokno on 23 October 1972 almost one month after martial law was declared in the country.

Ka Pepe spoke of several things in his letter to Popoy that may prove valuable to your stay in the college of law.

First, he tells his son that “there are two sides to the question of whether it is worth your while to study law; and, in the end, it is a question that only you can answer. Just be sure, that, whatever be your decision, it is truly yours, that it is truly what you want, not a choice dictated by a sense of duty to follow in my footsteps.” This is especially important for those of you, in this room, who are here simply because you feel that it is your duty to continue a family tradition of producing lawyers. The study of law is such an exacting discipline that coming into the College half-heartedly will most certainly ensure that you will eventually leave the College without a degree. As he reminds Popoy in another part of his letter, “the law is a demanding profession, exacting a constant and unswerving devotion that is always a thinking obedience to its ideals, and that is much harder to give than blind obedience.” You have made a decision to study law; in order for you to succeed, you must ensure that it is a decision that is completely yours. Anything less than that will mean that you may not gather enough resolve to slay Kingsfield and will simply phone home to tell your parents that their son or daughter will not become a lawyer.

Second, Ka Pepe tells us what kind of a person would make a great lawyer:

"A scoundrel may be, and often is, brilliant; and the greater the scoundrel,the more brilliant the lawyer. But only a good man can become a great lawyer: for only a man who understands the weaknesses of men because he has conquered them in himself; who has the courage to pursue his ideals though he knows them to be unattainable; who tempers his conviction with respect for those of others because he realizes he may be mistaken; who deals honorably and fairly with all, because to do otherwise would diminish him as well as them–only such a man would so command respect that he could persuade and need never resort to force. Only such a man could become a great lawyer. Otherwise, 'what you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.'"

Now that you have made your decision to study law, you must know yourself. Know your weaknesses and your strengths; work on your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Do not forsake or abandon your other interests–your life is not and should not only be the college of law (although, it will certainly feel like that)--read, dance, sing, watch movies, play Tekken, work out, play a sport, climb a rock, join a rally, march to Mendiola, raise your fist in protest, lift your hands in praise, join your hands in prayer. As in everything, there must be a balance in our life. The challenge for you is to try to incorporate all of these things that are integral and important to your life within your new chosen life as a law student. It is these traits and values that you develop from all the varied fields of interest that make you a complete and multi-dimensional person and will ensure that you become a great lawyer.

Third, Ka Pepe speaks of developing very good study habits and being organized. In his words,

"As you read, cultivate the habit . . .of taking notes of your reading–not only of the gist of what the author says, or quotations of thoughts he felicitously expresses, but also of your reactions to his work (where you agree or disagree or suspend judgment, and why) and of the thoughts he arouses in you. File your notes in orderly fashion. They will become invaluable to you as you mature."

Indeed, those who have passed through the portals of the College of Law and those who are still within its portals will tell you that the most important weapon you have in the College of Law is not your raw intelligence (because you are all disputably presumed to have that in abundance or you would not be here listening to me) but how you develop, hone, challenge and transform that intelligence into a discipline of critical, analytical, logical, organized and coherent thought. And without study habits–of any form–all your native intelligence will be for naught. Ka Pepe presents you with a way of studying law which is healthy to cultivate: not only should you read, with a view to reciting the cases or the law verbatim, but you should read with a view to understanding and thinking about what you read.

It is in this context that Ka Pepe speaks of the study and the practice of law as being “demanding”; and, indeed, the discipline is demanding. For it is not enough that you should know the law and practice it well but that you should also know why the law is what it is, how to question the law, if necessary, and to move for changes in the law to make the law what it should be. Thus, your study of the law should not only be rote learning but critical learning. As he reminded Popoy, “the law is a demanding profession, exacting a constant and unswerving devotion that is always a thinking obedience to its ideals, and that is much harder to give than blind obedience.” It takes courage to stand and remain as a majority of one and there will be times when that is what the study of law will ask you to do–to maintain a critical and thinking obedience to its ideals and challenge the law as it is written with the hope it may be transformed into the law that it ought to be.

Finally, Ka Pepe speaks of the rewards of studying law : “the rewards of the law as a profession are not in wealth or even in fame, but in the respect of your peers, in the excitement of the chase after justice, and in the satisfaction not only of service to your clients but of having somehow shaped the future by molding the law of today.” These are not only beautiful words and ideals but are also stirring realities. And, if there is any inspiration that may be drawn from Ka Pepe’s words, it is the knowledge that by studying law, and by studying law in the U.P. College of Law, you will play a part in shaping the future by molding the law of today.

You have entered a public law school–one that is steeped in the highest traditions of excellence in all fields of the law. The U.P. College of Law has produced the finest lawyers engaged in advocacy for various interests, private and public. The College has also produced Presidents of the Philippines (the first President of the Republic was also the President of the first law class; the last President produced by the College was also the first dictator the country has officially produced), Chief Justices (of course, the present Chief Justice is a U.P. graduate), Senate Presidents (the present Senate President is also a U.P. graduate), Speakers of the House; the College has also produced scholars, academics and intellectuals who have contributed directly to the country–for good or worse–through their research and writings; and finally, the College has also produced lawyers for the People who have committed their life to working for the rights of those among our people who are on the shorter end of the stick–the laborers, the urban poor, the peasants and farmers, the indigenous peoples, the poor and defenseless accused; you have but to look at a list of non-governmental organizations and people’s organizations engaged in various advocacies to see a list of U.P. lawyers who have committed their lives to the people.

With this tradition comes a great deal of responsibility. The responsibility is not only to live up to the tradition but to surpass it. There is a saying oft-quoted by the Supreme Court, “the spring cannot rise higher than its source.” I refuse to accept that when it comes to legal education. The spring must rise higher than the source for it is only in doing so that we ensure that the traditions of excellence are not only maintained but surpassed. I do not consider it a failing on my part if my students become better than I; on the contrary, I consider it a source of great fulfilment and unending inspiration that I have contributed to the shaping of the future by molding the lawyers of today.

It was Ka Pepe’s letter–alternately an answer to his son’s question, treatise on the legal profession, discourse on the national situation prevailing at that time, and a showcase of a lifetime of insights on how to study law–that gave a young and idealistic activist, unsure of his decision to pursue law, the first insight that law and activism, law and advocacy, law and social change, law and a lifetime of meaningful service could co-exist. Fourteen years later, that slightly older but still idealistic activist is now a lawyer actively engaged in human rights practice and the teaching of law in what Holmes calls "the grand manner."

In the same manner that his letter challenged me, I would ask you, after hearing Ka Pepe’s letter to Popoy, to ask yourself if you are the person he describes; ask yourself if you want to become the lawyer he describes; ask yourself if you are capable of becoming the lawyer and the person he describes.

If, after asking yourself all these, you decide that you are not the person he describes: Good luck and Godspeed then, in whatever you may decide to do with your life.

But if, after reading his letter, you decide to continue with law school and bid to slay your own Kingsfields, then, WELCOME TO THE U.P. COLLEGE OF LAW, MR./MS. HART !

1 comment:

mikesmith04203522 said...

='Brand New News Fr0m The Timber Industry!!'=

========Latest Profile==========
Energy & Asset Technology, Inc. (EGTY)
Current Price $0.15
================================

Recognize this undiscovered gem which is poised to jump!!

Please read the following Announcement in its Entierty and
Consider the Possibilities�
Watch this One to Trad,e!

Because, EGTY has secured the global rights to market
genetically enhanced fast growing, hard-wood trees!

EGTY trading volume is beginning to surge with landslide Announcement.
The value of this Stoc,k appears poised for growth! This one will not
remain on the ground floor for long.

KEEP READING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

===============
"BREAKING NEWS"
===============

-Energy and Asset Technology, Inc. (EGTY) owns a global license to market
the genetically enhanced Global Cedar growth trees, with plans to
REVOLUTIONIZE the forest-timber industry.

These newly enhanced Globa| Cedar trees require only 9-12 years of growth
before they can be harvested for lumber, whereas worldwide growth time for
lumber is 30-50 years.

Other than growing at an astonishing rate, the Global Cedar has a number
of other benefits. Its natural elements make it resistant to termites, and
the lack of oils and sap found in the wood make it resistant to forest fire,
ensuring higher returns on investments.
T
he wood is very lightweight and strong, lighter than Poplar and over twice
as strong as Balsa, which makes it great for construction. It also has
the unique ability to regrow itself from the stump, minimizing the land and
time to replant and develop new root systems.

Based on current resources and agreements, EGTY projects revenues of $140
Million with an approximate profit margin of 40% for each 9-year cycle. With
anticipated growth, EGTY is expected to challenge Deltic Timber Corp. during
its initial 9-year cycle.

Deltic Timber Corp. currently trades at over $38.00 a share with about $153
Million in revenues. As the reputation and demand for the Global Cedar tree
continues to grow around the world EGTY believes additional multi-million
dollar agreements will be forthcoming. The Global Cedar nursery has produced
about 100,000 infant plants and is developing a production growth target of
250,000 infant plants per month.

Energy and Asset Technology is currently in negotiations with land and business
owners in New Zealand, Greece and Malaysia regarding the purchase of their popular
and profitable fast growing infant tree plants. Inquiries from the governments of
Brazil and Ecuador are also being evaluated.

Conclusion:

The examples above show the Awesome, Earning Potential of little
known Companies That Explode onto Investor�s Radar Screens.
This s-t0ck will not be a Secret for long. Then You May Feel the Desire to Act Right
Now! And Please Watch This One Trade!!


GO EGTY!


All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such.
We may own, take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any
statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions,
goals, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, object'ives, assumptions or
future events or perfo'rmance are not
statements of historical fact and may be
"forward,|ooking statements." forward,|ooking statements are based on expectations,
estimates and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a number
of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ
materially from those presently anticipated. This newsletter was paid $3,000 from
third party (IR Marketing). Forward,|ooking statements in this action may be identified
through the use of words such as: "pr0jects", "f0resee", "expects". in compliance with
Se'ction 17. {b), we disclose the holding of EGTY shares prior to the publication of
this report. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such holdings
due to our intent to profit from the liquidation of these shares. Shar,es may be sold
at any time, even after positive statements have been made regarding the above company.
Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in our statements and
opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not
to place undue reliance on
forward,|ooking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations
involving various risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially
from those set forth in the forward- looking statements. This is not solicitation to
buy or sell st-0cks, this text is or informational purpose only and you should seek
professional advice from registered financial advisor before you do anything related
with buying or selling st0ck-s, penny st'0cks are very high risk and you can lose your
entire inves,tment.