How many young lawyers can say that their first appearance in court was before the Highest Tribunal in the land? Not many. I feel lucky to be one of them.
Of course my participation was negligible. I was one out of the twenty lawyers (more or less) that appeared for the State. I did not even speak. But despite the fact that my contribution was limited to helping the team carry voluminous files, I was ecstatic. I was in awe just to be there. I was fascinated by everything; the walls, the ceilings, the benches and the fact that those who sat in front had to wear togas. I tried to observe all the justices, the opposing counsels and all the other people watching. I was able to spot important government officials in the audience too. Honestly, I felt more like a kid out on a fieldtrip.
Anyway, the order of the Supreme Court stated the appearances made, what transpired during that session and required all the parties to file their respective manifestations. When a copy of that order arrived in my desk, I automatically highlighted my name, for I don’t know when a thing like this will happen again.
Within only 10 weeks, the Sales Associate of Payless Shoe Source became an Associate Solicitor in the Office of the Solicitor General of the Republic of the Philippines. From working the cash register, I was now drafting pleadings. From selling shoes, I was now attending hearings.
It wasn’t easy. In my first week of work, I had a lot of practical realizations:
· For the first few days in the office, my secretary is my boss. She told me what to do.
· If you wanted to be treated as a lawyer, dress like one.
· A lawyer must have at least 1 black corporate suit.
· Office slippers are a necessity.
· Announcements are best posted in the elevator.
· One must ride the elevator once in a while so as not to miss out on anything.
· You can buy everything in the office: lunch, snacks, fruits, coffee, underwear.