SC justice to new lawyers: ‘What you went through is unprecedented’

A total of 8,241 new lawyers took their oath at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on Monday, May 3, 2022. (Photo from the Supreme Court Public Information Office)

MANILA, Philippines — Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe commended the 8,241 new lawyers who passed the first online, decentralized bar exams during their induction on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“What you went through is unprecedented, for successfully hurdling the bar examinations during a global pandemic, and also facing head-on the various reforms in the bar — namely, the shift to a digital modality and to a multi-venue setup. Your batch is sui generis,” Bernabe said in her speech at the oath-taking ceremony.

“No one, other than you, can claim that they have earned their entry to the legal profession under these unique circumstances,” she added.

She noted the hardships the new lawyers had to face as they were preparing for the exams — the anxiety of catching COVID-19 or the “arduous road” of recovering from it, the mental and physical drain of reviewing under health restrictions, and the uncertainty brought about the repeated postponement of the exams.

“Looking at you now, I see not mere survivors. Instead, I see warriors and victors. With you, the cliché cannot be more true: the harder the battle, the sweeter the victor,” Bernabe said.

The senior associate justice, who is set to retire after 26 years in the judiciary, gave the new lawyers three tips:

  • Build an unrelenting work ethic and strive for excellence.
  • Never be complacent and push for necessary change.
  • Never compromise integrity.

“The oath is not a hollow formality but a life-long commitment to abide by an exacting ethical code. I pray that you will adhere to every solemn word of the lawyer’s oath you will utter, and at all times, remain faithful to the ideals of the profession,” Bernabe said.

“Be life-long disciples of the law and embed the yearning for justice into the tapestry of your legal career. May you never forget that being a lawyer is not a position of entitlement or a privilege that makes you more important than others. Rather, it puts you in the position to work for the betterment of society,” she added.

This year’s bar exams produced the largest number of passers in the country’s history — 8,241, or 72.8 percent, of 11,402 takers.


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