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Brainstorm: The Next Generation | Bar none

In less than two weeks, November 3, 2019 is coming. For most people, it will be a welcome respite after hectic visits to the cemeteries for All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day.

However, for the thousands who will be taking the Bar Examinations, it is D-DAY, the FIRST of the four (4) Sundays of the month-long exams. This is the culmination of at least, and it’s really AT LEAST, eight years of schooling (four in college and another four in law school), and about a half-year of the pre-bar review.

Touted to be the most difficult of all licensure exams, bar none, to say that taking the Bar Exams is grueling is an understatement at best. I have personally taken two, the CPA Board and the Bar Exams, and, from my own experience, I can readily say that the latter was far more exacting.

Only those who have gone through it can really know the mental, physical and emotional torment that a bar examinee will go through. Stories abound about examinees just snapping out of depression because of the exams. I have always said that I take my hat off to those who have taken the bar more than once. I really do not know if I would have had the courage to put myself through the torture again if I had not passed it the first time.

During the exam weekends, it is easy to distinguish those taking it from the rest of humanity. Some look like zombies walking around with blank stares or appearing to be talking to themselves while trying to memorize a legal provision or lugging around a big bag of books or notes, just as a security blanket, since they really would not be able to read all these materials the day before the exam.

A common occurrence is for bar examinees to ask themselves the craziest legal questions and then panic when they don’t know the answer. Masochistic behavior at its best, I say.

In addition to my own bar experience, I have attended every Bar Examination since I started teaching Remedial Law nearly two (2) decades ago. So, I do think, rightly or wrongly, that I have some authority to give a few bits of advice to the examinees.

FIRST, remember that you have years of preparing for the exams behind you. Trust that somewhere in the recesses of your mind are the memories of your teachers’ lectures unless, of course, you spent most of your law school classes taking selfies and posting them on Facebook, but I don’t think so, otherwise, you would not have graduated.

When I took the Bar Exams, I distinctly remember hearing the voices of Dean Hilde Iñigo, Dean Panyong Estrellado, Fr. Gus Nazareno, Judge Gil Dela Banda and Deputy Ombudsman Rudy Elman to name a few. In some instances, I could even see the lectures vividly in my mind. Hopefully, your memories are not silent movies because then you would have a problem.

SECOND, trust in your school. Remember that your school would not have allowed you to graduate unless you have a fighting chance in passing the bar exams. If your school has a reputation for being a diploma mill, then just trust that you are the diploma in that mill.

THIRD, trust in the fact that while it is next to impossible for anyone to know ALL the answers to ALL the possible questions, there is absolutely NO QUESTION that you cannot MAKE an answer to.

If you find yourself facing a question that you simply do not know the correct answer to, imagine yourself to be the Supreme Court justice tasked to be the ponente and answer it as if you were the one deciding the issue. At the very least, show the examiner that you have a good reasoning ability, a.k.a. “Magaling Magpalusot”.

FOURTH, just like a boxer facing the prizefight of his life, do not overexert yourself the day, especially the night, before each Bar Sunday. No boxer will spar the night before a fight. Save your energy and get as much rest as you can, you will need it. For athletes, I know that having sex before a game is a Big No No, but for bar examinees, if it gets you relaxed enough to be able to rest, then …………

FINALLY, just remember that the Bar Examination is NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. There is life after the exams. If you pass, then good for you and, hopefully, life in the legal profession will do you well. If things do not go your way, DO NOT LOSE HOPE, you can always try again and remember that many successful lawyers took the bar more than once.

DUM SPIRO SPERO, DUM SPERO AMO, DUM AMO VIVO……”While I Breathe, I Hope, While I Hope, I Love, While I Love, I Live”


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