Saturday, May 28, 2016

Screw the top firms; Palawan here I come!

Palawan here I come! Photo Source: Eagle News
When the summer vacation after sophomore year in law school comes, it means that Juris Doctor students like me go out to do our internships. These internships can be done anywhere: top law firms, human rights groups, government agencies, private corporations, non-governmental institutions and so much more. We do these internships in order to render legal service for these institutions, while at the same time learn more about the legal practice.

Normally, the applications start at the end of the previous year. So we would be passing their applications during these times with most of them having the goal of getting into the top law firms like Romulo Mabanta, ACCRA Law and Sycip Law. This is normal as everyone aspires to work in the best law firms in the country. As for yours truly, I also attempted to get into these firms and other recognized law firms as well. I did not, however, limit my options to private firms. I checked our college's list of pre-approved placements I found myself attracted to an environmental NGO based in Palawan. I have never been to Palawan before, and the prospect of me going there to do my internship was high since the province is near from where I am, Iloilo, and I have relatives there too. I did have previous experience with NGOs, but they still had that strong corproate set-up. This one in Palawan had more of a grass-roots one so that added to my interest to it. So I sent in my application along with the ones I sent to law firms and other institutions.

Applying for law firm internships has got to be something that weirded me out. For instance, I was surprised how an irregular student who has failed in a bar subject got into one of the top firms. Or how someone with lower GPAs than me can get into another top firm. There were also a few instances wherein I was scheduled to be interviewed by two firms, but somehow both fell out and the hiring partners forgot about me, or realized they didn't like me.

With an estimated average of 85-86%, I really thought I have a big chance of getting into these firms. But grades themselves aren't enough. One also has to take into account that I am competing with students coming from other top law schools like the University of the Philippines and Ateneo De Manila.

Another factor would be some students in my school might have higher CGPAs than I do because they have an easier set of professors compared to the ones assigned to my block. And of course, there are students out there that are actually better than me. And finally, we can also add up the fact that my resume might not stand out from the rest. Those other applicants are lucky I don't attach my photo to my applications! Just kidding.

Anyway, the good news is that I was accepted in that environmental NGO! So screw the top firms (for now), and let me head down to one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Palawan, and do my legal apprenticeship there. I'm not bitter as I believe that the one who's jealous is the one who lost. I'm just happy that I was accepted and can finally complete this requirement for my degree. My soon-to-be boss also informed me that I will get to go to other places in the province aside from my time in their headquarters. So I will not be stuck in the city for the duration of my internship unlike my peers as I will actually get the chance to travel and do legal work at the same time! How cool is that?

Getting in this environmental NGO internship isn't so bad right? I'm so excited for both of my worlds to merge: the world of geography and environment and the world of law. I'll make sure to keep you guys updated this time, as I really have the actual time to do so. God bless you all, and have a nice day!