By Atty. Eduardo T. Reyes III
There are many euphemisms when it comes to aging. “How young are you?” is the suggested greeting when meeting someone who seems of advanced age. The elderlies are usually described as “young at heart” when their physical looks betray the years behind them.
As one’s age accumulates, and they have been working hard all their life, retirement from work looms like a magnet. In the public and private service, 60 is the magic number for optional retirement, while 65 for a mandatory one. While for judges and justices in the Philippines, 70 is the retirement age; although in the United States, justices can serve for as long as they can, as it has been said that “magistrates are like fine wine, they get better with age”.
For their part, lawyers had been described in jest as creatures who never grow old, “they just lose their appeal” (pun intended).
Legal Harbinger is turning 48 before the end of the year.
23 years had been devoted to teaching law, practicing law, and studying the law some more. And teaching indeed continues beyond the classroom. A handful of this columnist’s former law students are now working in his firm where they are learning “how to catch a fish”, instead of “being given a fish”.
Although he would like to believe that he is just halfway into the life of a lawyer, the daily grind of finding solutions for clients through the labyrinthine legal conundrums is taking its toll. So just like every exhausted warrior, he gravitates towards retirement, too.
But to get to this point where he had seen litigation in all its facets is a blessing. The experience must be shared to the younger lawyers who are trying to find their way through the legal maze. This is the motivation that keeps his passion aflame and maybe, just maybe, he will continue if only for this.
The life of a lawyer is not about resplendence or refulgence. It is a job that involves a lot of conscience. In the legal profession, one’s moral compass must always be consulted. The golden rule of doing to someone, what you want others to do for you, is an important mantra for the lawyer.
As the new year ushers itself in, all the leaves in one’s calendar must fall. An entirely new schedule must be plotted. The lawyer’s life is all about schedules. A single day is crammed with client meetings and court appointments.
So goes the life of a lawyer. It is a life of service. And just like many other jobs that provide service to the community, it ceases to be an arduous task when done with passion. It becomes one’s life; one’s reason for living.
Entering his 23rd year in the practice of law, and 48 years in this world, this columnist does not see himself anywhere else, or doing something else.
Maybe this is what happens when you are doing what you were destined to do.
The meaning of life is not found within yourself, but without.
As the best way to live is not for yourself, but for others. So that they too will learn not to live for themselves.
This iteration is what life is all about.
(The author is the senior partner of ET Reyes III & Associates– a law firm based in Iloilo City. He is a litigation attorney, a law professor and a law book author. His website is etriiilaw.com).