WITHSTANDING THE PRESSURES OF PRESTIGE: IPL Lawyer-Alumni share their Bar Exam Experience
(L to R: Atty. Kyle Bollozos, Atty. Oliver Tuazon and Atty. Laurence Soriao)
By Mark Aludino
Although not quite on the same magnitude as the elections, the release of the Bar Exam results on the 26th of April drew similar levels of uncontained excitement, joy, and anticipation that welcomed a new batch of lawyers.
For all its worth, this enthusiasm feels justified especially as the prestigious Bar exam is considered as, if not the toughest, one of the most difficult tests in the country, known for selecting only the best and the brightest of the country’s law graduates each year. Indeed, after years spent toiling in law schools and long hours of intense preparation, these individuals can now call themselves lawyers. The road, however, is not a singular path and for some, they have decided to pursue the road less taken. These include three Bar Exam passers and now rightfully called attorneys: Atty. Oliver Tuazon, Atty. Laurence Soriao, and Atty. Kyle Bollozos.
While studying law is strongly associated with never-ending loads of readings, terrorizing professors, and an overall feeling of stress, the founding alumni of Inquies Pro Lege (IPL) established a way to study law more leisurely. IPL, translating to “Restlessness for the Law”, provides an opportunity for budding law students to channel their restless passion into a productive summertime experience. At least, that was how attorneys Tuazon, Soriao, and Bollozos spent a part of their vacation for the past four summers and from their collective experiences, their decision helped turn their dreams of becoming a lawyer into reality.
Doing away with the formalities of school, the IPL helps one prepare for the Bar as it is structured to conduct lectures and get-togethers in a light and personal manner that creates a conducive atmosphere for studying and understanding law and its principles deeply. More importantly, this set-up gives students the chance to really learn by freely asking questions without feeling intimidated or worried about grades.
“Personally, I found the tip of Atty. Fortun, a former bar examiner, extremely helpful when I started preparing for the bar. He told us that we should answer the questions in not more than one page or as briefly, albeit completely, as possible and that is what I did. I can’t remember having an answer to a Bar question in more than one page, and I think that is what helped me pass,” Atty. Bollozos recalled, noting how participants can acquire helpful tips directly from respected and experienced resource persons in the likes of Constitutional Commissioner Dr. Bernardo Villegas, Judge Ed Bellosillo, and intellectual property lawyer Atty. Ferdinand Fider, to name a few. With this wonderful opportunity, one is sure to come out with a head full of knowledge and a leg up in the competition.
However, more than the technical law lessons, what the three new lawyers realized was how the course equipped them with the values and the mindset crucial in handling the pressures that accompany the Bar exam. With such demands over an extended period, it is clear that the examinations are more than just an academic test, but a truly holistic challenge.
In terms of needing a well-rounded preparation, Atty. Tuazon explained this best when he said,
“You may know a lot, but if you are so stressed out and do not have a support system— because you did not invest on building relationships since you just spent your time studying– [and without] a strong prayer life, you may not be able to handle all the four toxic Sundays!”
Indeed, a balanced life and a supportive group of friends, factors often overlooked when discussing Bar exam preparations, were central in the IPL course and cited by the new attorneys as being integral in their survival during the Bar season and more importantly, their success in passing the exam itself. As a result, even during their intensive review sessions leading up to the Bar, the values they gleaned from the course planted their feet firmly on the ground, maintained their required level of discipline, and enabled them to still remain in touch with the best things in life, instead of being completely swallowed up by the demands of the exam.
Essentially, the Bar offers a glimpse of the gruelling career ahead and in many ways, one’s preparation is akin to preparing for life as a lawyer. Without a holistic training and an inculcation of values, such as fortitude, offered by the IPL course, new lawyers may find it difficult to withstand the struggles of the legal profession. In that sense, the course prepares law students not just for the exam, but for their law careers as well. It is this distinct and unconventional method that truly makes the IPL worthwhile for law students or even those with just the slightest interest of becoming a lawyer.
If one is concerned that attending the course will be a waste of summer, then worry not as the program goes beyond informative lectures as it includes a host of fun-filled activities including get-togethers, sports activities, and visits to Congress and well-known law firms. Why IPL, one may ask? Well, Atty. Bollozos has a surprisingly direct answer:
“It is the only course that will channel your youthful restlessness into something good, something worthwhile.”
But if one is still not convinced about how it helps students prepare for the Bar exam, Atty. Soriao confidently offers a simple suggestion, “you have to attend it to believe it.”
Surely, if these three new lawyers’ experiences in the course is to serve as basis, then the future of the nation is in good hands as the IPL program strives to produce competent future leaders with a strong moral character who are equipped to withstand the pressures of the demanding, yet prestigious legal profession.