Putting the dot where it matters

Rosalio Torrentira
After four years of studying law, it all boils down to one point: hard work.

Some two years ago, I was sitting alone and silently in a law office in Manila oblivious to the anxiety of many other hopeful bar takers at that time. The office messenger was out running some errands and my then boss was away for a business meeting.

Well, oblivious was what I tried to be at that time.

I turned off my phone and opened my codals to read after studying a labor case. Occasionally I would pace around the room and gaze out the window which overlooked a Church. I let noontime go by without trying to know whether I passed the exam or not. A few hours more and I could not hold back my curiosity. I opened my phone and a barrage of congratulatory text messages came in. A call from my boss made it through and he said, “Congratulations panyero! Nakapasa ka!”

Yes, I hurdled the Bar!

Ah yes! That was two years ago. I understand very well how the examinees are feeling around these times that the results are coming out. Feigning disinterest but with hidden anticipation. Turning off all social media accounts and the whole socialization process. Going into hiding and non-disclosure of whereabouts – even to close friends. Preparing for the next take, in case take one is a miss. One is excited but at the same time afraid. As if you want to stop the time from moving so you would not know what the result is and just maintain the status quo. That emotional rollercoaster was in itself a bar!

(FAST FACTS: Philippine Bar Examination)

When results had come out, all the four years of law school seemed to flash right in front my eyes. The long hours of reading books and cases, the recitations, exams and the expenses, I got to relive all those horrors. But suddenly I was the former taxi-driver turned lawyer. Passing the Bar for me was a dream come true considering all the challenges that I had to overcome. My family was financially incapable to send me to school and I had a difficulty finding a good job when I first got here in Manila. So I ended up driving a taxi.

I remember how our professors before would say that each year in law school you gain a letter –  A-T-T and Y. But it is only after the bar that you gain the dot (.). If you pass.

Here I am now, a full-fledged lawyer. I have the title to my name (some people actually just refer to me by my title). I get to prepare pleadings, attend court hearings and provide free legal aid to the indigents. I am a lawyer to the underprivileged and the elite as well. I have appeared in city courts and in the provinces. In two years I handled cases ranging from unjust vexation, to review of contracts, to labor, annulment, etc. I get to participate in dispensing justice. Nothing fancy, but I get to live my dream. This year, I get to cross out another dream on my list as I opened a law office with Atty. Ramon Facun. We’re still waiting on another lawyer to join us.

Of course in the next few days those who will pass will be in ethereal glee. But one of the hardest parts is knowing some of your friends would not make it. How do you console them? I am still not sure how. For me, as I prayed then in gratitude to God I also prayed for those who didn’t pass to be strong. We can’t all become lawyers at the same time. There will be a time for them.

When I look back on that day the bar results came out, I think about how it changed my life. I am a new blood to the practice.  And anytime soon we will welcome new members of the bar whose lives will also change. But one thing should remain constant, our passion for this chosen profession and an endless gratitude to the people who helped us make it through.

To those who will pass: Congratulations! You earned your dot (.).  – Rappler.com

Rosalio Torrentira is a graduate of the Adamson Law School.


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