May 25, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Midland Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on April 6, 2008.)

In the final decade of the last century, and in the first seven years of the new one, quite a large number of women have consistently placed in the top 10 of the Bar exams, with not a few topping it.
The reason appears plain enough.
While the men look at the study of Law as nothing more than the use of logical thinking and the ability to express one’s thoughts in writing, the women, on the other hand, leave nothing to chance, and put their noses to the Law books even during their spare time.
In other words, the women are more dedicated to their studies than the men, some of whom attend Law school armed with nothing but their balls, eager to rumble, only to be knocked out flat on their backs when the Bar exams come around.


About two years back, I was talking to a female Law student of the University of the Philippines, and she told me that the gender ratio in their Law school was 70-30, or seven female students to three male students for every 10 of them.
With a giggle, she also said that the men couldn’t hold a candle to the women, and were often shamefully outclassed by the latter.
She turned serious however, when she added that if a male student was exceptionally brilliant, there was no way the women could out one over him, even if they pooled their heads together.


In line with the conversation I had with the Law student, I remember a talk delivered by my friend and idol, Atty. Victor “Boy Laz” Lazatin, during one of our frat fellowship meetings.
Boy Laz confirmed the gender divide, but he also made an eye popping remark that of the 30 percent Law male students, only 10 percent are straight, while the rest are of questionable preference.
“Unless we loosened fraternity rules and accept women into the frat,” he warned, “the Sigma Rho will die a natural death.”
I am told that the Aquila Legis fraternity of the Ateneo Law School is likewise faced with the same dilemma.


Be that as it may – more women taking up Law and more women Bar topnotchers – I still do not see the women out shining the men in Law practice.
The women will likely raise a howl, but the men do better trial work than their female counterparts.
Men think fast on their feet, and have boundless imagination, meaning they have a pretty good idea how the justice system works, while the women are rather bookish, and prone to stick to the set standards.
But the men will not contest the fact that the women are smarter when it comes to collecting fees.
Let me quickly point out however, that women make better judges. For one, they are characteristically incorruptible – unless a lady magistrate has a lover on the sly, or is into some wild activity like gambling and drugs.


Women judges too seem less prejudiced than the men, or at least know how to hide their bias, so unlike the macho and machita judges who are gruffly vocal about their feelings even in court, and disgustingly show it in their decisions.
The flaw of many lawyers is that they tend to be too slick for their own good, and in addition to which, are deeply conscious about appearance. Lawyers also love to brag that they are far brighter than they actually are.
In the world of professional pretense, some are good at the game, but many flunk miserably, and are soon scorned by their own kind.
Undoubtedly, the women know how to project themselves better in media, but I know one or two male lawyers who use media to enhance their image.


One lesson I have learned in nearly 35 years of Law practice is not to cross the women. Otherwise, they will get back at you in their own subtle, scheming way.
Like dolling out tips to a press hungry for a scandal story, or writing anonymous letters to your superiors, or filing complaints with the Ombudsman purportedly signed by a litigant but actually prepared by a “lady” lawyer, and yet she will smile and say “Hi” when you bump into each other, even make beso-beso with the wives whose husbands they are sleeping with.


But the women of power I grudgingly admire are those who pretend to be ordinary housewives, yet call the shots at every turn.
I am surprised that there are decent men willing to be under the thumb of this kind of power of women, sacrificing pride and dignity just to be the manager of head of a company, ready to jump when she snaps her fingers.
Don’t get me wrong – I can be susceptible to an arrangement like that myself, more so if she has class that complements her style – a gentle touch here, a flirtatious smile, and always paying rapt attention to your every word.
Us men are easily deceived, dating all the way back to Adam and Eve.