Justice Hernando Tells Law Graduates to ‘Live, Breathe, Do, and Inspire Justice at All Times’
July 24, 2023
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, Chairperson of the 2023 Bar Examinations, speaks as the guest of honor and inspirational speaker at the 77th Annual Commencement Exercises of the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) School of Law held at Areté Ateneo’s Hyundai Hall on July 23, 2023. Justice Hernando taught at the AdMU School of Law from 2015 until 2018, when he was appointed to the High Court. (Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)
“Live justice, breathe justice, do justice, and inspire justice, at all times,” said Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando to the graduates of the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) School of Law, as he urged them to “not just wholeheartedly push yourselves successfully through the Bar Examinations, but to prepare yourselves for what is inevitably ahead, which is your life role, as lawyers.”
Speaking at the 77th Annual Commencement Exercises of the AdMU School of Law on July 23, 2023 at the Arete Ateneo’s Hyundai Hall, AdMU campus in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Justice Hernando rallied them to never lose sight of the values and principles they have learned in their Jesuit education.
Justice Hernando told the graduates: “If someday, somehow, you get lost, confused, or tempted, please allow yourselves to be guided by your moral compass.” He cited a Jesuit principle, “Go where there is a greater need,” which he said “is both beautiful and instructive.” He added that the “greater need” will most probably demand from them the exercise of self-sacrifice, and the skill to put themselves and walk in the shoes of other people.
Emphasizing that “lawyering is a profession of compassion,” Justice Hernando said: “When the written law falls short of compassion, you, as soon-to-be members of the Bar, shall fill that void in the law with overt acts of compassion, in whatever capacity that you will find yourselves in, whether in the public or private sector. After all, compassion establishes trust.”
He urged the Ateneo Law graduates to approach people “of different standings in life, grips on power, and levels of principle” without prejudice, stressing that they should strive to be lawyers of equity just as courts of law are also courts of equity.
He also reminded them to be lawyers with empathy and to put emotional quotient over intelligence quotient. “Indeed, you may have a great level of legal knowledge. But without a greater level of emotional intelligence, you will never be able to forge that trust with the people that you will serve,” he said.
Furthermore, Justice Hernando urged them to not stop at the logical bounds of the statute, especially when the realities are obviously and unreasonably unfair. He stressed: “Do not falter in choosing to do the right thing, even if you are alone in doing so. Remember that silence and inaction in the face of unfairness makes you complicit and accessory to such unfairness.”
Justice Hernando concluded his message by challenging the future Atenean lawyers “to be champions of social justice, unshackled truth, absolute freedoms, unconditional love, unthreatened peace, equality to all, and inequity to none.” (Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando receives as token a replica of the Sacred Heart statue, which was carved by our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal while a student at the Ateneo de Municipal, after the 2023 Bar Examinations Chairperson delivered his inspirational message during the 77th Annual Commencement Exercises of the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) School of Law held at Areté Ateneo’s Hyundai Hall on July 23, 2023. With him are AdMU School of Law Dean Jose Maria G. Hofileńa and AdMU President Fr. Roberto C. Yap, SJ. Also in photo is Mr. Rey R. Reyes, Registrar of the Ateneo Professional Schools. (Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, 2023 Bar Examinations Chairperson, urges the Ateneo Law graduates at the 77th Annual Commencement Exercises of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law to never lose sight of the values and principles they have learned in their Jesuit education. He also encourages them to memorize the new version of the Lawyer’s Oath and to claim the title of “Attorney” as early as now. (Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)