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Blood-sucking lawyers
17 Nov 2005

[Commented on the PCIJ Blog article "[...]the byzantine politics of the U.P. College of Law"]


"In Japan there are very few lawyers and the codes are mostly unwritten, but they are binding, nonetheless."

- Greg Sheridan, Asian Values Western Dreams

The above is a favourite quote of mine and puts in perspective the nature of the lawyering profession.

Japan of course is an extreme case. It has a thousand-year-old culture that is bound together by a code of ethics that very few non-Japanese can even begin to comprehend. Societies with moderate levels of collective trust such as most progressive Western cultures have a fair bit of lawyers and maybe even just as many of the blood-sucking varieties that infest backward societies like the Philippines. Over in these progressive Western societies, they fit ok and are well-tolerated in their place in the scheme of things.

In a backward society like the Philippines, however, which lacks a philosophical framework to put the technical aspect of law in its proper context, the legal profession -- with its "products" trained in the TECHNICAL interpretation of the law, run around perverting the system to their ends. The outcome is what we all see today. A convoluted governance framework, snail-paced judicial processes, and fat-cat lawyers tweaking/invoking legal technicalities at the expense of the overall ability of the society to move forward.

This is the only legacy I see law schools like the UP Law will leave in its wake (unless of course anyone can rise up to t.i.a.n's challenge to come up with more than the three examples you cited).

In most progressive countries, progress is underpinned by the achievements of engineers, scientists, thinkers, and artists. Lawyers in these societies have contributed by providing the legal framework and governance tools to support and sustain high achievement and world-class levels of excellence in the latter fields. Contrast that with the situation in the Philippines.

Think of what roles Pinoy lawyers have played in the last 50 years.

Food for thought, as always. ;)

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