The Power of the Pen

I experienced my first triumph as a lawyer at 23.

I was what lawyers call “under-bar” or a law graduate practising while waiting for the bar results.

It was a criminal case entitled, “PP vs. Rhodora Sulit”. The accused was found guilty of possession of drugs and drug pushing at the trial court. On automatic review at the Supreme Court, Ms. Sulit’s case was assigned to a senior partner at the law firm where I worked as a mere associate, as her counsel de oficio. Expectedly, the appointed partner was not enthusiastic about it. Under-bar associates do the dirty jobs and most of the legwork at big firms. As one such associate, I carefully studied her case and dutifully prepared the Petition for Review. The senior partner signed copies of the pleadings and submitted them without taking a second look at the papers I authored. I guess that lawyer expected to lose the appeal, and couldn’t care less since the accused was not a paying client, nor was she someone who anyone at the firm knew personally.

Many weeks after, and a couple of projects in the meantime, we received an envelope containing a decision that simply said the lower court’s decision was REVERSED. The accused was acquitted. The senior partners of the firm shook their heads in disbelief. They admitted that they never bothered with the appeal because the findings of the lower court seemed to be airtight. Some thought it was sheer luck, while I pleasantly discovered the power of the written word. Although I drifted out of litigation work (something my father or grandfather may not have wanted for me), I eventually found my place in contracts, documents and anything that involved pushing pen on paper. Maybe I am best read than seen or heard. (Or how I appear can be a distraction from my role as lawyer hahaha) While most of us can talk, not everyone can write. And so my journey into writing continues. ┬áIf used properly, it can change lives– such is the power of the pen.

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