Southville alumna Atty. Cherrylette Lingao talks about her outstanding achievement with Jesselle Villegas from the Office of Public Relations.
JV: Can you tell us about your journey to being a full-fledge lawyer?
CL: The journey to becoming a full-fledge lawyer took five years of my twenties. I graduated from the School of Management of University of Asia and the Pacific at age nineteen. I was not sure if I was ready to work at a young age so I decided to pursue further studies. I asked myself, should I settle with the knowledge I already have? I thought I should not. If there is anything I was sure of, it was that I wanted to achieve something I earned myself, one that carries no price tag and one that will make my parents proud.
Each year I spent in law school, my subjects got harder, the professors became less lenient, books and readings got thicker, and my eye bags bigger. However, each year gave me another letter of the abbreviation ATTY and when I earned my Bachelor of Laws at age twenty-three. I knew I had to put a period to my ATTY to be called an attorney-at-law. It was another six months of intensive review and another six months of waiting but it was the most fulfilling achievement when I passed the most difficult licensure exam in the Philippines.
JV: What motivated you to excel in the 2015 Bar Exams?
CL: My motivation to pass the Bar was the love of my family and the sacrifices of my parents. I have been studying for the past twenty years and my parents are not getting any younger, it’s time that I spent more time with them.
JV: Which of the 5C’s has remained in you?
CL: Competence and Character.
Being in the legal profession entails that one is and must always remain competent. He must always keep himself abreast with the law and must always remain faithful to the Code of Professional Responsibility because as mentioned by Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr. at our oath-taking ceremony, “a lawyer’s infraction is magnified a thousand times in the public eye”.
Character will define how one will respond to challenges, failures, and successes in life. In Grade Six, we memorized the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and until this day, I remember the lines:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—–
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Law school was no walk in the park as it was a test of one’s discipline and study habits. I have to be mentally and emotionally strong to bear the demands of our profession. I endured the volume of readings, sleepless nights, and terrifying recitations because I believe that success is worth a bucket of tears! Looking back, I do not regret taking the difficult path to get to where I am today.
JV: How did Southville education affect you as a person?
CL: Southville taught me that we are tomorrow’s leaders and that when we find our place in this world, we must strive to make a difference. Our P.A.S.S or the thesis for graduating students was a good preparation in honing our researching and writing skills. I owe it to my teachers in Southville who taught me the value of discipline and humility because one’s intelligence is not the only key to success but to me, they are character, discipline, and humility.
JV: What is your favourite happy memory from your student days in Southville?
CL: I am always reminded by our International Week because we get to decorate our classroom, enjoy the fair in school, and participate in the parade of nations. I also remember that towards the end of the school year, my parents will be able to go up the stage and receive medals for me and my brother because it’s Recognition Day.
JV: What subject in High School inspired you to pursue Law?
CL: My history teachers would agree that I always performed well in their class because their subject was my favourite. I always enjoyed history and current events.
JV: What is your advice to aspiring lawyers?
CL: The study of law is laborious and tedious but the privilege to practice law will be one of the greatest triumphs of your life.
Read. Read. Read. Develop good study habits as early as your formative years because law school requires time management and discipline. Always have a curious mind but never doubt your abilities.
JV: What is your message to Southville students?
CL: Dream big, work hard, and be humble because we have a very competitive world, someone will always be better than you. Be committed in your studies because you are one of the few privileged students this country has to receive quality education.