March 3, 2024

In my almost 40 years of practice in between public service stints, I was amused by the essay of Atty. Crystaline Siguenza so I took the liberty of echoing her thoughts in this column. Here goes her piece “Private practice feels.”
“Attorney, ang mahal naman ng singil n’yong mga abugado, pumirma lang naman kayo.”
“Attorney, may bayad pala, ‘kala ko libre lang.”
“Attorney, yung appearance fee n’yo naka-limutan ko, saka ko na lang i-send.”
When you go to a lawyer’s office for legal documents and notarization, all you see is the notarized document and the signature.
But you do not see the years of mental, psychological and emotional struggles that a lawyer has gone through in Law school. Also, not all lawyers can notarize. We also spend thousands to get commissioned every two years plus we need to make reports of the notarized documents and submit it to the court.
All you see is “just a signature,” but that signature can only be worth that much after we have spent millions in pre-law, sacrificed another four years not to earn much but spent millions in Law school until we pass the Bar examinations.
When you go to a lawyer for legal advice, all you hear are the legal remedies already enumerated to suit your needs or to protect your rights in a particular case. But those remedies did not just come from one page in a law book. They came from various laws, in hundreds of pages just summarized and simplified for you by your lawyer because application of the law is a case-to-case basis. Hindi one time-big time ganito lahat ang remedy n’yo.
When you get a lawyer’s services to represent you in a case, all you see is the lawyer appearing in court and murmuring things only he/she, the judge, the prosecutor can understand. But you do not see the hours he/she spent to draft the pleadings and researching the law and jurisprudence that best suit your case.
Yes, we have to research every case. Hindi yan automatic na lumalabas sa brain cells namin.
We also absorb the stress and anxiety of our clients. Kaya kung stressed ka sa legal problem mo, how much more ‘yung lawyer mo na mag-iisip kung anong solusyon d’yan. And you’re not the only client with a problem.
Do not shortchange the effort and time of your lawyer. Because you are not just paying for the time she spent to talk to you or draft your pleadings. You are not just paying for her signature; you are not just paying for her appearance in court. You are paying for the years of collected knowledge. That signature is worth not just millions but years of tears, heartbreaks, sleepless nights and anxiety in Law school.
Anyone can read the law, but only lawyers know how to weaponize that to protect you. Only lawyers know which law would best fit your case kasi nga hindi ‘yan one size fits all. And siyempre, only lawyers are authorized to practice law. Try mo pumunta sa big law firms, they charge by the minute. Because a lawyer’s time is gold.
Truism, indeed!
And cheers to Midland Courier and the Hamada family on the paper’s anniversary. It was and will be a good run and I am honored and thankful to be part of the family for over a decade now.