Non-enrolled Barristers

I think it’s time to say something about this so that barristers in the future who will suffer the same fate that I had when I took the bar exams get some courage and confidence to take the bar.

Yes, I did not enroll in any bar review class. And allow me to be one of the living and kicking statements to future same-fated barristers. I took the bar as a fresh law graduate. It took me 5 years to earn the much dreamed of Ll.B. degree.

My reason for not enrolling? My “problem”? Money. That’s just it but that’s just it. I did not enroll because I don’t have the cash to spend for it. I even worked in a government office from June until the bar exams on September so that I can keep myself from becoming a literal vagrant in Metro Manila. I worked from 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening, Mondays to Fridays except during September where I worked from Mondays to Thursdays only but still. Yes, still.

Review time for me is composed of the following:
1) Reading inside the fx or bus going to work;
2) During Lunch break;
3) Inside the fx or bus going home; and
4) Upon reaching home until around 1AM.

Where did I get the review materials? Before June, I just tried to read my 4th year outdated review books and notes. Starting June, I already have some savings so I bought a review book or two for each subject.

I also have photocopied many bar review books/materials/notes which were shared with me by my co-barristers/friends.

I struggled with that until the bar exams. And was it hard? Yes and the struggle to review gets intolerable sometimes. But, it can be done. You can still review. You can still call it a “bar review” of your own. Admittedly every barrister reviews on his or her own special way, right? So, I called non-enrolling as a bar review of my own. The same bread to eat although not much of the good wheat.

So, how important is getting one’s self enrolled in a bar review class or program? I don’t know. I haven’t been there. I cannot give a clue. However, I know many co-barristers who skip the lectures given by reviewers because the lectures conflict with their own studying schedules. At that point, I am in the same level with the enrolled barristers merely relying on our own readings and materials.

Although, yes, I am lucky I kept in touch with enrolled co-barristers/friends since when I get to chat with them, they from time to time “update” me or give me some tips which they learned from the lecturers in the review class. It helps me boost my morale and keep “self-pitying” at bay.

And what’s the most important advice a lawyer-friend has given to me when learned of my situation?
1) “Don’t let a day pass without reading anything”; and
2) “Read materials which require the least time but give the most retention.”

To cut the story short, I passed the recent 2007 bar.

Regrets? Like Frank Sinatra, yes, I had a few. And like him again, it’s just too few to mention.

I hope I have given some insights on what a non-enrolled barrister is to expect in the whole duration of his or her non-enrolled bar review stint.

Good luck and may God bless the future non-enrolled barristers!

And May Saint Jude continuously pray for us!


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