Saturday, January 29, 2005

A Challenge to the New Breed

In my Special Proceedings class today, I interrupted regular programming, as it were, and spent fifteen (15) minutes of my class time to discuss the editorial of the Establishment yesterday, entitled "Judical Underworld". I've heard a lot of insults against lawyers before, but none was as biting as yesterday's editorial, which declared in one line the state of the legal profession in this country, "Our lawyers have run off with the law."

After reading the editorial yesterday, my instinctive reaction was to fight back with a blog title that goes,"Who do you think you are, you lie peddlers?" That would have been fun, but that would have missed the point. I told the class, this is the paper with the widest circulation in this country, speaking. It has the best opinion makers, and the greatest power to move people. It has sent two presidents packing. Now, it has judged our profession, and you know what? It may be right. So what are we going to do about it?

I have a theory. We could have corrupt presidents, corrupt senators, corrupt congressmen, but we should never have corrupt judges. For if our judiciary were clean, we could be sure that none of the corrupt officials would get away. We could always say, we would take them to court. But if we have a corrupt judiciary, then where could we take them? The entire system would fall. We would have chaos, lawlessness, and disorder. Everyman for himself. As if World War II did not end.

What are we going to do about it?

Red, my law partner, and I have taken on two cases against erring judges before the Court Administrator. I think that's a start. We would be doing what the big Makati law firms have been avoiding all this time, which is cross swords, as it were, with the men in robes.

Of course, I did an analysis. Assuming the judges we are prosecuting issue a death edict among their corrupt colleagues in the judiciary to ensure that we won't win any case in their salas, our office would still survive. My associate told me one judge whom I criticized for the bad writing of his law clerk already did. Our Firm, he said, would never win in Makati. I am the least worried. The damage could be contained, because we have more corporate accounts than cases. Besides, our practice has always been focused on how to help clients avoid litigation. Of course, we would get hurt. But we would take the damage for whatever its worth. Never mind if we never become a big law firm one day. In times like this, a little Sun Tzu analysis is all we need to get by.

And to my class, I left this threat. Don't you ever end up like the corrupt lawyers and judges of today, for I will have you disbarred. I don't wake up at 4:00 am every Saturday and drive all the way to Cabanatuan City just to end up teaching what the Establishment calls legal lemons. I will have you disbarred, if that is the last thing I have to do.

I hope the rest of the legal profession heeds the call.


Lorimer said...

Why did you choose the legal profession?

rookie attorney said...

challenge accepted. Im barely a year in my so-called practice and I found myself defending the legal profession. A distant relative of mine, an old man in his 80's congratulated me when he heard i passed the bar last year. He said "Mayo na, mayo ka guro magbinutig no." which if translated to english means that u must be an expert liar. Thanks. and that was all I said. strangely, I felt bad and thought that was below the belt. But then again i found myself taking up the challenge, armed with nothing but unbridled idealism-translation- supidity, naivete, I storm up the court rooms intoxicated with hope that one day i may utter more than a one word reply to anybody who would question my profession.

bayibhyap said...

i consider this post as one of the most serious you have ever written. i see the implications beyond the legal fraternity and profession. Corruption in the judiciary and legal fraternity? It happens. It is a serious issue when society decides to do something about it.

marvin said...

Lorimer, It's like asking a fish why is it in the water. "I don't know. But I think I belong here."

Rookie Attorney, ha ha ha. Why do they say we are liars? All we do in court is ask questions. Guess, who does the telling?

Bayi, the legal fraternity is what it is today, because the members allowed it to be so. But I haven't given up hope for redemption one day.

rolly said...

This somewhat confirms what i have been thinking and I hope i'm still wrong. Its no longer who has the better attorney to win a case. It has boiled down to who has the most money to buy a decision in his/her favor. I told you, I hope i'm wrong.

Major Tom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sarah said...

hear, hear. =)

Major Tom said...

Ooops, i click on the delete button accidentally, you could say curiusity killed the cat, or deleted the cat to be more precise. what i was saying is that, when i was a law student i had dreams of you know graft-free judicial system that if i would become a lawyer someday, i may start a movement where the battlecry would be "faster prosecution, more precise decisons and graft-free courts."