What do you think is the main problem that the law school community is facing now and how would you address it?
As with all other years, the biggest problem/challenge we all face in the law school community is how to develop our knowledge, skills, and attitudes to pass the bar and be good and great lawyers thereafter. It’s all our dream (even for the non-teaching/non-student members of our community) for our school to produce bright lawyers with the proper values in every student. However, I think it also carries with it an ancillary and more pressing challenge of communication. Sometimes, focus on our studies also means detaching us from certain things, such as proper communication with family, friends, with the rest of the nation, within school—from activities and information which can aid us in our daily grapple with the law. The value of communication cannot be emphasized enough for our school.
Consider the scenario when, for example, the new tracking system is carried out. If there is genuine dialogue and communication among students and the rest of the law school community both in the concept development and implementation level; in the rules and regulations, schedules, related programs/activities. The solution is opening avenues for dialogue. This simple habit of communicating would eventually build relationships among the different members of our community, which is very important because, as the recent OrSem tagline went, “we’re all in this together”. Communication would therefore expand the possibilities of building relationships, relationships built would then create trust among members in the community, and trust in each other would strengthen the community itself which is driven by one common goal—to produce lawyers for and with others.
As an aspiring person to represent my batch, I would therefore start that culture of open and healthy communication within our batch, and hopefully strengthen the kind of culture. Regular consultation sessions with my batch mates is a must to get to regularly check the “pulse”. From the moment of inception of projects affecting the school, to the constant updating of my batch with the current status of projects, up to the very result of implementation, open and effective communication is always a primary consideration.
This can also be addressed by activities that would build the whole community through integrating the concept of community-building with our goal to be of service to the nation. Examples are volunteer programs in partnership with our own organizations, such as what the SC/AHRC offered to the studentry last year in the Human rights claims board; and with units or organizations within the University such as Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan’s Task Force 2016, a voter registration and education campaign where we, as a law school community can take part in, from simple acts of extending assistance to the voter registration of vulnerable sectors, identifying the right precincts, up to processing reports of election offenses; there are so much opportunities to develop a collaborative community.
What is one idea that you would like the student council to implement next year?
A project I would wish to implement with the student council and the school administration next year would be a “tracking support program” consisting of both practical “learning trips” to areas and institutions most likely to be encountered by the student if he/she pursues or is interested in a particular track. This would also include lectures from lawyers specializing in the corresponding tracks newly offered by the school. Here, students would get a glimpse of and interact with the common issues, environment, and legal practitioners from the areas of law practice which the school offers now as specialized tracks. The Ateneo Law School is now taking preparation for the Bar and the legal profession to a whole new level by offering specialized training thought the tracks. This support program would help our students get a clearer picture of what they are actually pursuing through a glimpse of the law in its living form, the experience and challenges of our professors, and other practitioners.
How will your projects adjust to next school year’s calendar shift?
My projects as batch representative entails a lot of communication and dialogue with my fellow batchmates to collectively address concerns of the batch in reaching a common goal—to be lawyers for and with others. The law school is going through a lot of changes during this stage, and keeping open communication among students, constant consultation and hearing ideas from the student body itself to improve our community would be helpful to the adjustment process itself. Participation is also at the core of the implementation of the projects I propose, these projects therefore are flexible to the new needs our community may face. Hence, projects I am proposing would adjust through constant dialogue and encouraging participation from the batch as we are all stakeholders.
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