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5/11/2007 5:23:56 AM

René B. Azurin

Why lawyers but not engineers?

Let me admit, up front, that this piece may be at least partially motivated by the envy we engineers occasionally feel for lawyers who, as a group, make more money than we do even if they might have barely made it past introductory algebra. (Which indicates that there is no correlation between knowing algebra and making money.) It is triggered by media's fawning over each new group of Bar exam passers, in stark contrast to the dismissive treatment accorded to Board passers in the engineering and physical science disciplines. That deepens, I think, the feeling among our technology graduates that they are not as important to this society as graduates of law. This may be one of the reasons why the country's best and brightest in science and technology no longer even hesitate about taking advantage of opportunities to transfer their skills and talents to lands other than here. Love of country? That needs to be watered and fed.

I am reasonably certain that media's love affair with "attorrnehs" actually reflects the sentiments of the society in general. But the respect that our society has always accorded lawyers seems particularly misplaced considering that the legal profession has failed dismally in creating in this country a legal system that works properly. Such a system should dispense justice quickly and fairly. Now I do not know of anyone (other than amoral members of the legal profession who are actively engaged in corrupting it) who would make the ridiculous claim that the Philippines' judicial system is anywhere near being effective or efficient.

For this, I castigate the profession even as I applaud individual members of it, those who have been working for years against odds to try to make the system work as it should. I am aware that part of that effort involves trying to restore an "old-fashioned" sense of morality in those who practice – or presume to practice – "the law". Sadly, I do not see the effort making much headway. Practitioners continue to use the law to exploit rather than to uplift, to oppress rather than to liberate.



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