How setbacks molded LegMa alumni who passed the 2021 Bar exam

Art by Jeanne Pauline Tecson/ THE FLAME

ASPIRING LAWYERS know that the seemingly unending days of law school are finally over once they see their names on the list of bar passers. 

This also goes for Alyanna Veloso, Miguel San Miguel, and Nowell Sim, the three Artlet legal management alumni who have just been added to the roster of the country’s lawyers. While they are savoring their success and the fruits of their labor, they could still recall the days of hardships while in law school.

“We literally study all day. As a night-owl, I study at night until the wee hours of the morning,” Veloso said. 

Veloso likened a law student to an empty vessel, a blank canvas.

San Andres and Sim said the hardships did not only come from studying the law but also the often missed important family gatherings. It is a sacrifice he has to make to pursue their dreams of becoming a lawyer.

According to them, these struggles have equipped them with the tools that will lead them to achieve their dreams of becoming lawyers.

Conquering setbacks  

San Andres said his experience in college developed his mindset and humbled him more. 

Before entering college, he admitted that he was not used to failing, but after experiencing constant hardships, he realized that just having to do his best was enough. 

“[I have] that desire to be extreme. I was a competitive person [but] when I went to college, it got harder because you realize [that] you are not as good as you are,” he said. 

San Andres was also motivated to persevere because of his family’s current financial state.

“We can consider our family lower middle class. We’re not exactly in poverty but struggling. At that time I wanted to pick a lucrative career, something that I think is lucrative,” he said.

San Andres was able to finish law school because he was supported by the former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson. 

Despite the setbacks that accompany law school , Sim believed that everything he was doing would be all worth it, clinging to the mantra: “Law school is tough so I need to be tougher.”

Sim’s mindset of surviving every recitation and exam, finishing law school, and passing the bar were his weapons to conquer the challenges he experienced.

But failure is often inevitable for every law student, like what Veloso shared when she failed a subject in her third year in law school despite giving her best. 

“The subjects were really tough, the class schedule was tight, the professors were demanding. Plus, there were family and health problems in between these academic endeavors,” she said, explaining why law school was tough on her. 

However, with her faith in God and her ever-supportive family, she accepted these challenges and eventually moved forward. 

Thomasian values

The three new lawyers also regarded their success to the three core values of the University—being competent, compassionate, and committed—which have propelled and guided them into reaching greater grounds in the field.

“I think these Thomasian values kept me going and kept me grounded as I pursued my law studies. It became one of my inspirations also as I studied back then, which is to be a Thomasian lawyer,” Veloso said. 

Sim is grateful to have spent his undergraduate years at the University, as he never experienced any ‘bad moments’ as a legal management student. He added that the Thomasian values further motivated him to bring justice to society.      

Although San Andres admitted that he is neither the best student nor the most diligent one, the University has shaped him. 

“I learned to be committed. I learned how to go to school everyday. I learned to have empathy for other people. Competence [is also] something that I strive for,” he said.

Triumphant endeavor

On the day the 2021 Bar results were released, Sim anxiously watched the live telecast. When he saw his name in the list of passers, he felt sudden relief as his sacrifices, anxious days, and all-night study sessions were validated. He regarded April 12, 2022 as one of the best days of his life and felt sudden relief 

“When I saw my name on the list of passers, I jumped for joy then immediately hugged my mom and dad who were waiting with me,” he said.

Sim described his journey throughout law school as ‘humbling.’ He now plans to work for a law firm to gain experience. 

San Andres was in a state of panic upon scrolling the webpage for his name. “I didn’t search for my name; I just scrolled. Messages kept coming in already. People were congratulating me so at that time I had the feeling I made it,” he said.

It was truly a blessing for him, and until now, he said,  he still could not believe that he passed the examination. He is now focusing on becoming an in-house counsel. 

Veloso found comfort in her brother’s assurance to her that no matter what the results said, everything would be okay. But before she searched for her name, messages were already popping in her messenger—congratulating her.

She described this momentous moment as “the only start of our legal profession.” 

“I hope that we would be good members of the Bar, helpful members of the society, and of great inspiration to many as we embark our different paths in this noble calling,” Veloso said. F – Jan Oliver  Malicse


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