MY LAW SCHOOL EXPERIENCE

By CECILIA YULO

At a dinner a few weeks ago, I happened to sit beside a courtly old gentleman, a 91-year old Portuguese diplomat who had spent around 50 years as ambassador to various countries around the world. During our conversation he mentioned that he had started his career as a lawyer before joining the Portuguese foreign service. When I mentioned that I was also a lawyer, he turned to me and said, “Tell me..do you still dream about the bar examination? It was horrible!” I had to laugh as I agreed with him. Here was a gentleman from another era and background, from a country practically on the other side of the world, and yet we had the same dream/nightmare in common. On my way home that night, I thought there was one thing that did indeed bind all who survived and still dream that dream, regardless of age, sex, race or geographic location- the experience of law school.

 
Depending on what you make of it, law school can be a long, hard grind, or a thrilling rollercoaster ride. As luck would have it, I was part of Batch ’81 and I experienced that ride with them. We went through the peaks and valleys of law school together, and emerged, I would like to think, relatively unscathed. We all experienced the daily adrenaline rush of recitation, the moment of suspense waiting for the professor’s reaction, and the swift exhale of relief when it was over. I think we each had our most embarrassing moments at recitation (with the exception perhaps of Dean Cesar L. Villanueva), moments that still make us cringe. My moment came early - Persons under Justice Pompeyo Diaz. Having spent my college years in the scholarly study of early hominids, I was not yet familiar with the rough and tumble of law school. I don’t remember the question, and I don’t even remember my obviously inadequate answer. I do, however, remember the verdict pronounced mercilessly by Justice Diaz- “Miss Yulo, I learned my law at the foot of your grandfather. I would hate to discover that you are but a shadow of the great man”. Welcome to law school!
 
During my four years at Ateneo Law, there were challenging times and difficult ones. But looking back, the happy times are the ones I remember the most: the hours spent in the library supposedly studying, the study groups, the sharing of experiences both pleasant and unpleasant, the bonds formed that have lasted through the years. The friends I made at Ateneo Law School are still the friends I treasure, and though the exigencies of life do not allow us to get together as much as we would like, when we do get the chance, it is telling that all laughter is inevitably about our law school years.