Oldie But Goodie: Do Bar Exam Results Determine the Success of a Lawyer?


It's an old news but I feel like I need to write this one.  In life, grades do not always determine success.  Actually sometimes we see those who are delinquents and don't study at all, tend to go to failure.  But studying is NOT the only determinant.  For the field of law, one might figure out about the bar ratings.  In fact, even Miriam Defensor Santiago herself admitted she almost failed the bar herself!

One might think Vitaliano Aguirre Jr. is a good lawyer because of his consistent valedictory ranking and his 85.25% bar rating in contrast to Miriam Santiago.  Atty. Aguirre here is also the lawyer of Lacson, Duterte and the lead counsel of Webb.  And also, he is a lawyer for the Nobita Liberal Party.  But looking at the Philippine education system, the system itself sucks as it's very left behind.  Outdated information in what should be updated. A lot of DepEd textbooks are prone to multiple error and are recommended over textbooks from credible sources.  More theory, less application.  Just think of maybe only a few schools ever require current events as part of their social studies class.  You might think of how often more than not, the DepEd is one of the most corrupt institutions ever.  Pay them lots of money, you can get a grade you didn't deserve!

For Miriam Defensor Santiago despite her self-admission of 78%, she actually is pretty seasoned as a trial judge.  In spite of her low bar rating because according to her she was in love and dating, but she passed.  So as a lawyer, she did do more beyond her board rating.  She also went to Harvard and Oxford, Aguirre...no.  And for her status, her hard work not her bar exam result was the one relevant.  She was  Regional Trial Court judge for many, many years.  She is a Senator judge as of current.  She was later elected for the ICC, a position she turned down but will support the ICC's decision.  You may read more here of what she really did.

On the other hand while I would admire Vitaliano Aguirre Jr.'s high board rating but sadly, he didn't go beyond there.  While he was a lawyer to both Lacson and Duterte, we don't exactly know the nature of lawyering he did.  Later he was the lead counsel for Hubert Webb that after 2000, the guilty verdict came in and he walked out.  So really, I agree with Christine Ong that he is no hero, read here.  And what did he do during the Senate hearing?  While I do agree Miriam does need to tone down, however she was also right in scolding the prosecutors for treating the whole process as a game.  Aguirre rather than get out decides to show open defiance by covering his ears.  Worse, after he was given permission to move out he makes his "bravado speech" hoping to be a hero, only to really aggravate matters causing delays in what should have been an important process.

Also, one may question why Aguirre was never made a judge?  I was thinking about his attitude at the impeachment trial.  Rather than get out when he was already given permission, he still made his "speech" asking for respect.  Then he says something stupid as, "In my forty years of practice as a lawyer, this is the first time I encountered a judge lecturing a lawyer.  This is not right."  Oh really what planet as he been in?  And some people twist the words to make him look like a hero.  And maybe, one may think about him leaving out after the Hubert Webb case.  So makes me question whether or not he earned his 85.25% bar rating or did his family pay for it?  I can't really tell.  He may have earned it but it doesn't mean that he would be a good lawyer.

As said, grades aren't even the ultimate test of success for any profession!

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