They say the law is a jealous mistress. The demanding nature of the legal profession can mean spending less time with family. It’s true in most cases, save for Atty. Alberto Agra and his daughter Jessica (2D).
There is no other way to describe the life of this father and daughter tandem but as full of activity. Atty. Al juggles his time between teaching in the Ateneo Law School (ALS), his doctorate studies in the Ateneo School of Government (ASGB), and his work in the field of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). Jessica, on the other hand, also has her hands quite full with her life as a law student together with her duties as the block beadle. Despite the demanding lifestyle, the two happily admit that they actually spend more time together now compared before, with law school adding another dimension to their already dynamic relationship.
Outside the law, the pair says they share numerous common interests. This seems to stem from the remarkable closeness, not only between the two, but with the whole family. They fondly call themselves “Team Agra”, a moniker that traces its roots from Jessica’s college days playing tennis for her school’s varsity team. Interestingly, too, tennis is one of the many interests that the two share. Aside from sports, the two also shared that they often do shopping, eating, watching movies and going for massage together as a family.
The Law School
When asked about whose decision was it for Jessica to go to ALS, she quickly shares that it was under her own volition. Atty. Al adds that although he may have pressed his daughter at some point, it was her personal choice to pursue the study of law at the end of the day. “It’s more of seeing him do what he does more than him telling me [to go to law school]”, shares Jessica on how she was influenced by her dad to go to law school. “The school is now a common element of the relationship” quips Atty. Al.
Just barely a year sharing a common denominator that is ALS, this duo has already made its mark in the school.
On pressure and expectations
There is rarely an instance during the start of every semester, where a professor would not ask Jessica if she is related to Secretary Agra. Jessica admits that this adds more pressure on her to perform well due to high expectations — most especially from her dad. Fortunately, she is coping pretty well from such pressure.
On this note, Atty. Al admits that he sets up the bar very high, not only on matters of studies but on pretty much everything. However, he shares that he has to manage his expectations especially considering that his daughter has interests of her own. However, he explains that he always provide the necessary tools for Jessica to have an environment to excel. “Good is the enemy of the better”, this is what he tries to impart to everyone, especially to his daughter. He adds that his should not only apply to grades, but also to everything.
When asked whether they would like to share a class room together as professor and student, Jessica laughingly answers both yes and no. “Yes because I want to learn from him” she quips, but immediately followed with a resounding no because of the pressure it would bring. Atty. Al gave a more straight–forward answer, saying that it would be difficult for him, sharing that he would have to be very strict to his daughter because of high expectations.
After Law School
Jessica shares that she has plans of taking up further studies after law school. Interestingly, the pair adds that they have a plan of taking masters degree together. “I’m a firm believer of continuing education” shares Atty. Al, also espoused by Jessica. This love for learning, explains Atty. Al, is what is pushing him to continue on studying even in fields where he is already an expert. It also influenced Jessica to aspire for further education.
As to career, the future is very much uncertain for Jessica. She entertains the idea of entering into the fields such as corporate law, PPP, or even elective office in the government. Atty. Al adds that what’s important is that his daughter has many options to choose from. He explains that it is Jessica’s choice that would matter. His responsibility is to ensure that choices will not be limited for his daughter. He adds that studies, networks, and friends help expand such opportunities.
The relationship between Atty. Al and Jessica is truly brilliant and dynamic. Now, with law school as an additional element of the relationship, it seems that this team just got closer. P