LEAVING A MARK OF EXCELLENCE IN LAW: THE ATENEO LAW SCHOOL WAY

Most children grow up dreaming to become a superhero, a firefighter, a police officer, or an astronaut. Rarely would you find a child whose dream was to become a lawyer. Guilty as charged, I was an exception to that general rule. At that young age, I could imagine myself one day appearing in court and emphatically screaming “I Object!” at the top of my lungs. Maybe it was the influence of O.J. Simpson’s televised trial or the fulfillment of my father’s lost hopes of becoming a lawyer. Nevertheless, you would often find me passionately arguing about the littlest of things, such as “who stole the G.I. Joe” or “who tore off Optimus Prime’s head” — even if, most of the time, my reasoning made no sense.

As puberty caught up with me, those flashes of brilliance remained buried in the sandbox of my childhood. Not until the remnants of those occurrences revived itself as I later found myself applying to Ateneo Law School (ALS). No one expected me to apply for law school. In fact, not many knew of my hidden aspiration to become a lawyer. Who knew a Computer Science (CS) major that wanted to go to law school? In case you do know anyone, please advise that individual to stay on track, follow his or her heart, and take the leap of faith.

When I applied for law school, my friends insisted that I should pursue a career in Information Technology (IT). Being a CS graduate, working for an IT company would be the normal course of action. Despite the objection of some of my friends and family members, I firmly stood my ground. As Robert Frost aptly put it “[t]wo roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that made all the difference.” The journey of a thousand miles began with me taking the first step. For any CS major, choosing law may have been the road less traveled by, but in retrospect, that made all the difference.

Not a day has passed that I regretted taking that leap of faith. Every day for the past four years, I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity. In line with mission of my alma mater, I have been formed not only skilled in the science and art of law, but also imbued with a burning passion for justice and the fervent desire to serve others. With top caliber professors and the brightest youngest legal minds in the country, no wonder Ateneo Law School is second to none.

 

75 Years of Service and Excellence

Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities – that’s training or instruction – but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed. These past 75 years of the ALS have been an exemplification of this above-mentioned idea enunciated by no less than St. Thomas More, the patron saint of this Jesuit institution. The ALS trusts that, by entailing stringent intellectual rigor demands, the education does not remain hidden as a seed but that which sprouts from the ground and develops into a significant tree. The seeds of the Ateneo Law education have long ceased to be hidden beneath the ground and the resulting roots and harvests have become apparent throughout the country and around the world.

As thousands of lawyers are admitted to the bar every year and are sworn in to uphold and defend our laws and our Constitution, lawyers are entrusted with a public duty to serve others. Being an Atenean lawyer is no exception.

As these men and women leave the confines of the four corners of the classroom, whether it be in Padre Faura or Dela Costa or Rockwell, and finally immerse themselves into reality, Atenean lawyers set out in the world to leave a mark — a mark that is truly Atenean.

 

Atenean lawyers have ventured into different fields of law, both in private and public practice. From its ranks have come luminaries in the law who are now in the service of the country and of their fellow men. Atenean lawyers include those occupying high positions in Local Government Units and in the Executive Branch, Representatives in Congress, Judges in Courts nationwide and Justices in the Court of Tax Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.

 

Continuation of the Legacy: Out to Leave a Mark in Society

 

As I finally leave the school that has been my sanctuary for the last four years, I carry the burden that each graduate of the ALS brings — to continue its alma mater’s legacy of excellence and leave a mark in society. Whether it be in private practice or in public service, I willingly carry that burden — it is about time for me to leave my mark in society.


[1] James Michael A. Gregorio is a graduating student from the Ateneo de Manila School of Law. He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in BS Computer Science. He joined the Ateneo Law Journal in 2008 and is currently a member of the Executive Committee. He was Lead Editor of the first issue of Volume 55 entitled Dynamism in the Growth of Laws and Jurisprudence.