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From Laborer to Lawyer

From Laborer to Lawyer

Yep, I was once a service crew.

It was a fun job if you’re in the kitchen – away from picky and entitled customers.

People used to make fun of us especially them rich kids. So much so that I developed a disdain against rich kids and rich people in general.

Admittedly, that’s one of my prejudices. I usually assume that if you’re rich, you must be a douche-bag; and that you have to prove otherwise before I become friends with you. (But of course, I’m working on fixing that).

Coming from a working class family, it was hard for me to believe that well-to-do people genuinely care for the poor. We’ve had rich relatives who never even bothered to check on us when we had no electricity, water, nor food to eat. It’s not like I’m saying that when you’re poor, you’re immediately entitled to be helped but hey, a little help would have been great.

As I grew older, I avoided fraternizing with the upper class. People would ask, are you anti-rich? And I’d say, no not really.

What I abhor are people who are in a position to help but refused to do so. On the contrary, I admire well-to-do people who go out of their way to help others (but not all because sometimes their motive is suspect). Much more, people who have less but give whatever they can.

When I became a lawyer, I just knew that I have to be that kind of lawyer that I admire back in the days when we were struggling. I don’t have to be the smartest or the most prominent. I just want to be one of the most judicious and moral.

I’m posting this here as a reminder to my future self of the ideals that I am establishing my career on and that I came from humble beginnings.


 

About the author

Atty. Howard Chan

Howard Chan has been blogging since 2010. He was a former car wash boy, laborer, service crew, house painter, term paper trafficker, call center agent, virtual assistant, and website manager - all these he did to support his studies. He passed the 2014 Bar Exams and was admitted to the practice of law in April 2015. As a lawyer, he intends to continue his advocacy of fighting injustice.

Note: This is his second profile on this blog. He wrote articles before under the name "UberChan" [now Howard Chan (The Student)]. This second profile is created for the purpose of distinguishing articles he wrote when he was a working student from articles he wrote when he's already a lawyer.

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  1. Manny Na-oy

    Those humble beginnings will usher you into a firm ground in defending the less fortunate of the human race, it is less travelled by many and certainly not for the faint hearted! your advocacy in fighting injustice will gain you more respect for the human race. I will always be alongside you as you advance in these endeavours.

  2. Jeff Dagpin

    the truly rich people are not douche-bags.

  3. Jeff Dagpin

    the truly rich people are not douche-bags.

  4. Edwin De Guzman

    good on you.

  5. Melinda Buctuan Pasco

    i salute you….SIR…..

  6. Alemrac Uyaan Martin

    an inspiration for everyone…

  7. Alemrac Uyaan Martin

    an inspiration for everyone…

  8. Lhowey Y T Lucéro

    First of all let me great you a warm pleasent and my full respect of. Sir/Atty. Howard Chan….Sir Chan being a prejudise against the Rich are based of your actual experience are preconceived opinion that is not a based on a reason…ofcourse those kid had bully you and it is painful both physical and emotional…But at the same time you should be thankful because they underestimate you during those trial…You accomplished the greatest challenge of all for being a car wash boy to become a lawyer…and believe me those rich kid cannot afford of what you are right now..Being Rich is not about Money,,Being Rich is the State of Mind…

  9. Lhowey Y T Lucéro

    First of all let me great you a warm pleasent and my full respect of. Sir/Atty. Howard Chan….Sir Chan being a prejudise against the Rich are based of your actual experience are preconceived opinion that is not a based on a reason…ofcourse those kid had bully you and it is painful both physical and emotional…But at the same time you should be thankful because they underestimate you during those trial…You accomplished the greatest challenge of all for being a car wash boy to become a lawyer…and believe me those rich kid cannot afford of what you are right now..Being Rich is not about Money,,Being Rich is the State of Mind…

  10. KJ Freedom

    we need more good people like you, especially lawyers

  11. KJ Freedom

    we need more good people like you, especially lawyers

  12. Ronila Mamongcara

    Those who are entitled from the start may well be the ones whom you are appalled. The ones who who have made their way up from scratch, those are the nice ones. I do hope you stick to your humble beginnings, and become an exemption to your own prejudice.

  13. Ronila Mamongcara

    Those who are entitled from the start may well be the ones whom you are appalled. The ones who who have made their way up from scratch, those are the nice ones. I do hope you stick to your humble beginnings, and become an exemption to your own prejudice.

  14. Epoy Trampe

    Rich people are indeed douche-bags… Only Wealthy people are not because most of them started with nothing. Also, wealthy people are not just rich in the pocket, but in the mind as well. Anyway, thanks to those Rich douche-bags because they make us stronger and better than them.

  15. Epoy Trampe

    Rich people are indeed douche-bags… Only Wealthy people are not because most of them started with nothing. Also, wealthy people are not just rich in the pocket, but in the mind as well. Anyway, thanks to those Rich douche-bags because they make us stronger and better than them.

  16. Josh LG

    Welcome to the legal profession. It’s laudable to see that your intention in posting this is for it to serve as a reminder of what impelled you to become a lawyer. I just hope that the labyrinth of the practice of law will not misguide you into deviating from your core principle. I was once an idealistic law student taking pride from what I stood up for. But after years of practicing law (which exposed me to a rather stupefying field), I have learned that those ideals that I thought molded me should take the back seat for me to find my rightful place. Stated differently, our ideals and personal moral codes need to be amended or revised just as the laws are subjected to revisions according to the inevitable continual changes in what is simply called LIFE.

  17. Edrick Daniel

    I hope Binay made something similar to this. Things would've been different.

  18. Rowena Festin M

    my salute to you Atty….God bless you more

  19. Imelda

    I truly admire you Atty. Howard Chan….

  20. Charles Philip Alex Banag

    Truly rich who made their riches thru hardwork and honest living to add.. 🙂

  21. Vic Pagalilauan

    Kudos to you Atty. Chan

  22. Mon Espiritu

    Galing mo sir. Hindi ko masasabing kaya kong gawin na mag-VA and mag-aral tapos makapasa. Salute!

  23. J Suarez

    PINA ALALA MO SA AKIN NOONG AKO’Y TAXI DRIVER PA. NA PINAG TANGGOL AKO NG ISANG BATANG BABAENG LAWYER
    NA NAGING PASAHERO KO LABAN SA CORRUPT NA TRAFFIC ENFORCER SA PASAY CITY. SANA DI KA MAG BAGO.

  24. Elvie Suniega Tolentino

    Kudos to you Howard Chan!

  25. Elvie Suniega Tolentino

    Kudos to you Howard Chan!

  26. Israel Jayoma Lachica

    I can relate to his experience, its takes a lot of motivation and hardwork to finish studies. BIG SALUTE TO WORKING STUDENTS!!!

  27. Theophile Salcedo

    Congratulations Atty. Howard Chan. Please continue your advocasy to open the mind of people who only want fame and money. God bless your endeavors.

  28. Theophile Salcedo

    Congratulations Atty. Howard Chan. Please continue your advocasy to open the mind of people who only want fame and money. God bless your endeavors.

  29. Theophile Salcedo

    Congratulations Atty. Howard Chan. Please continue your advocasy to open the mind of people who only want fame and money. God bless your endeavors.

  30. Regie

    Remarkable beginnings!

  31. juujuu

    Would’ve been perfect if you didn’t attach Atty to your name and just went with Howard Chan.

    1. Jennifer

      I know what you’re saying, but to me it actually evidences his transparency and humanity–it shows that he’s not above a small but thoroughly deserved measure of pride at his accomplishment, and that he is, even more admirably, above pretended gestures of humility as a PR ploy. =)

  32. Cris Bautista

    for sure you have inspired people. Job well done Atty!

  33. Leo Laputan

    sana mapabilis mo ang justice system sa atin. nuknukan ng bagal sa RTC ng Trece Martirez City, Cavite.

  34. Leo Laputan

    sana mapabilis mo ang justice system sa atin. nuknukan ng bagal sa RTC ng Trece Martirez City, Cavite.

  35. Peter S. Castillo II

    Kudos to you pañero! We need more people like you in the profession.

  36. Jonathan Armas Aquino

    being douche bags are mostly taken from movies and filipino teledrama's……..rich people are usually kind and understanding. most of the rich are afraid of the society around us because they are target by criminal minded people.

  37. Jonathan Armas Aquino

    being douche bags are mostly taken from movies and filipino teledrama's……..rich people are usually kind and understanding. most of the rich are afraid of the society around us because they are target by criminal minded people.

  38. Jun Alayon

    nce one atty!

  39. Erwin Abon Soriano

    i came from humble beginnings as well but truly rich, intellectual and good looking people i worked with and met while working at SGV and Co. CPAs in the mid-80's are wonderful humans.

  40. arlene

    Congratulations. Yes many people want only fame and money. Gamitan sabi nga kahit makasagasa ng kapwa. Me iniisip ko na lang maybe sa hirap ng buhay kaya nagagawa nila yon. Kapit sa patalim. But sometimes nakakainis lang. Like you we really need you esp low class people. God bless.

  41. Mon

    Hindi gumagana yung social counts Sir. Sayang yung social proof. I shared this article on my wall and got 3 shares and 47 likes. Sayang hindi gumagana yung counter. Use easy social share button yung premium. Accurate yung counts nya 🙂

  42. eugene

    Great! I have a website and I wanted to post your story to inspire my organization. I am fascinated with people like you and every time I conduct general assembly with my people I see to it that I’ll be able to share with them inspiring people like you. Your awesome Atty!

    I am motivated ; )

  43. Eugene Arcena

    I am inspired by you Atty. You have amazing story. I love to incorporate your story to my team during our meeting. You are awesome!

  44. Bim Rivera

    I admire what you have achieved in life. Now use that to inspire people – poor or rich, educated or uneducated. Don't label people for what they are or who they are. Be professional and help out.

  45. Flora Amado

    HARD WORK TRULY PAYS… HATS OFF TO YOU ATTORNEY <3

  46. Jo Abo

    Ya, Atty Howard human as we are we cry over our past experiences of having to experience isolation, denial and redicule especially from relatives who ignored even sharing even a crimp of our basic needs and worst they don't to see us through climbing the ladder of success. They have the money but we have success on our hands. The toil of hard work is really painful but that's the essence of sacrifice, get hurt in our journeys but isn't success sweeter when we reach the everest of our lives and look down the valleys of challenges and mesmerize how we vanquished all the hardships we have gone through. These are evidences that any court of law will not deny that after all allthe pieces of evidence made you of what your case and whatyou are today. Everything is made for a reason good or bad. Now is your time to count your blessings my dear good friend. Congratulation.

  47. Oli Ver

    Someday, you will also become rich, Attorney. So, don't hate, just be fair. 🙂

  48. Leia Fidelis Gisela Castro-Margate

    At syempre mala sir gani ang gupit mo sa IBP ID hehehe. Cheers atty and soon to be dad 🙂

  49. Sir James D. Tumbaga

    One of the rarest academic struggles-Congratulations! by the way atty. with your permission can we feature your story as headline to inspire our youth of today?

  50. Sam Vergas

    People Have Money Because They Work Very Hard For It While Others Are Being Lazy Bums. They Earned It. They Are Not Obligated To Give Hand Outs. It Is A Choice. Any Money You Have Is Someone Else’s Debt. Don’t Hate On The “Rich” Because They Are More Well Off, Rather Start Improving Yourself As You Had Shown. Any Way, How About Not Accepting Any Payments From Clients As Long As Your An Attorney Sound To You??? Thought So…

  51. Wilbert A Divina

    If we want to compare ourselves with others, we might become vain or bitter;
    For always, there are greater or lesser persons than ourselves.
    Enjoy our achievements as well as our plans; Keep interested in our own career, however HUMBLE; it is a real possession of the changing fortune of time. (DESIDERATA)

    Atty/Sir:

    We are looking forward for your “post” and wisdom when you become “rich”.

    Go with peace and be a blessing to all the people you meet.

  52. Rheg Damasen

    good job Sir! Our country needs more people like you! Stay humble and you'll be blessed! As the bible says in James 4:6King James Version (KJV)

    6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

  53. Efren Budek Beleno

    Welcome to the legal profession.

  54. renz camero

    sana nga maipagtanngol mu mga naapi..wag lng sumali sa politika na corrupt na..similar sa kakilala ntin dyn..

  55. Arnulfo Almeniana

    so much hatred just move on

  56. Ariel Felix Siblag

    I admire your emotional motivation…i like the way you think of so called "fair"…i hope you will stand on your wisdom:-)

  57. Boots Pasanting

    Well said!

  58. Florence Pacina

    God bless you. More power to you!!!

  59. Paz Ho

    You are an inspiration hope to meet you someday for a common cause

  60. JAC

    am captivated with his character more than his being a lawyer. Often, we forget that the process is also (more) important than the end. RELATE MUCH!

  61. Alex M Agustin

    Now that you have the chance to be rich, don't give us the reason to think of the way you think about the rich. Be just and maybe, you can relate to this…" I give not because I have so much but because I know exactly how it feels to have nothing."

  62. James Ayap Alviz

    Hey Howard! First of all, congratulations. You deserve this accomplishment knowing you worked hard for it. I also want to thank you for being an inspiration to everyone especially to me, like what you did, I'm currently working for a callcenter to support my lawschool and I'm starting to feel the pressure and difficulty of being a fulltime student and an employee at the same time but after reading this it made me want to strive even harder. Again, thank you Atty! Cheers 🙂

  63. Jumer Sali

    ganun tlga ma'am leia there are some kind of powerful forces we get from hair cuts ** 🙂

  64. eden dr. bautista

    Whatever you do DO it for the glory of God. God bless you more with healthy years that you will know His word by heart and deed. God bless u n ur family.

  65. Jehny Pedazo

    felt same about rich people, took awhile to overcome stereotyping all of them from d hurt heart & i support d advocacy for justice & equality

  66. Howard Chan

    Salamat uncle!

  67. Howard Chan

    Thanks ate! haha, oo nga ganun din buhok ni Sir 'Gani! Congrats din po sa baby! 🙂

  68. Howard Chan

    Thanks! Will keep that in mind Sir!

  69. Lowe Tabanam

    Salute! attorney…

  70. Tita Viv

    In our large extended family, there are “better off”s not rich members, and there are “worse off”s not exactly poor.
    The worse off members are encouraged to study and work hard. The better off members work hard, have made sacrifices.
    However…there is the growing peer pressure, the inevitable sense of entitlement and the preference for handouts. In the poverty of my youth, we had no such choices. We had to work or starve. Nowadays, there is no shame in begging for help, but it is so uncool to do manual labor when you can just message some sob story to yr relatives abroad on FB…never mind if that relative works as a labourer himself in Canada or US. I can go on and on but perhaps one day when I retire at age 80, some relative in Philippines might take pity on me and take care of me…NOT likely, and only if it is paid care

  71. Tita Viv

    Which reminds me…of my dear nephew J who arrived here last March, after passionately making a promise to help all his four indigent orphaned niece and nephews he left behind in the Philippines. Just four months of working here as a mechanic, he decided he had to retract that promise. He realised that working and living in other countries wont automatically qualify you as rich or better off. The work is harder, the hours tougher. The standard of living is higher. Most overseas based Filos tend to hide the fact that they are actually struggling or are just getting by.
    And this nephew, just last year, was emotionally upset and frustrated about the seeming lack of support fr his siblings abroad. Well, so now he knows what life in other countries truly is

  72. Rhein

    Hi Atty Chan,

    My name is Rhein and I saw your story on last Sunday’s episode of rated K. I work on a corporate firm but I spend my weekends volunteering as a Child and Youth Development coordinator for an NGO in Taguig. This month, our activities focuses on the theme ” Gagalingan Ko sa Pag-aaral”. We are looking for an insiprational speaker with experiences like you to share to the children. I could provide you with more information regarding our program. I left my email adrress so we can further discuss if you have time.

    I really do wish you could spare a time to discuss this. You are a perfect example for this young struggling children. We are not soliciting any donations of any sort. Just your time is already a great help

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  73. howtoearnmoneyfromyoutube.xyz

    Good thing regarding working at home for making some extra funds is that
    you possess flexibility of time, the freedom to operate according to your convenience.

  74. Rosemarie Tabora Esplana

    Congratulations..u remind of my past.
    dati lang ako nagtitinda ng dyaryo,balot or mani whatever available legal na ibenta sa kalye.Nagkalakal ako at nagtinda ng tubig para mabuhay. But never ako namalimos.Sabi ng yumao kong ama hind nakakahiya magingahirap ang nakkahiya ay ang pagiging tamad. Good job attorney!
    sana marami pang tumulad sa kasipagan àt determinasyon mong umasenso.

  75. rock fernandez

    you are great,whish you won’t change of heart and continue who you are,and also wish that you’re be a big help to those who need
    your help in any ways,keep it up Atty. Chan you’re one of a kind!

  76. bartaker2017

    Nakakinspire ka atty..im loosing hope that id be taking d bar aftr alot of struggles but i think aftr reading ur post id ba taking it this yr with u as one of my inspirations 🙂

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