The amendment of laws is a challenge for lawyers. Recently, a new civil procedure guideline was introduced and I believe that more changes will follow soon. I will post a before and after comparison of the laws in later articles but for now let us talk about the future of laws. One change in civil procedure is the introduction of private couriers and electronic means of filing and service of pleadings and motions. I love this change but older generation lawyers will probably struggle especially when the opposing lawyer is from a younger generation. We should expect some confusion during this transition. Younger generation lawyers must take into consideration the manner that older generations conducted their practice. For example, a senior lawyer who mastered the 1997 civil procedure for 20 years may find it hard to adjust when he or she received pleadings through private couriers or email. Under the old law the date of receipt is the date of filing if private courier was used. In the new law, the date of sending is the date of filing. Major adjustments should be made to make sure that we do not accidentally cite the old law in our new pleadings and motions.
As we embrace the new technology, more laws will be amended soon to include the internet, private couriers, and advanced transportation. I believe that the Supreme Court intends to modernize the outdated provisions in the law. This pandemic, lawyers need to unlearn a lot of jurisprudence and learn new laws that we never learned in law school. Pretty soon most of the knowledge we gained from law schools will become outdated and we have to be like law students again. For example, taxation law was complicated in law school. In donor’s tax, we have to know if it was for a stranger or relative and consider other factors. Now, a deduction of Php250,000 and 6% tax rate is all that we need to know. In income tax, the marital status and age of children were also important. In the past, we have to remember the rules on whether to include the child during the taxable year or count it next year. These are no longer important because we only have to remember the Php250,000 deduction rule regardless of status and children. So many new laws are already piling inside my tiny brain and I really need to adjust my knowledge of law to make them fit.
Should we totally forget the old law?
No, not yet because there can be a new law reverting everything to the old law. As we take steps in modernizing our legal system, we actually do not know what will happen to these laws in the future. I remember differentiating the 12% and 6% interest rate in the past. Now, 6% is the only number that we need to remember. What if, however, a new guideline asked us to use the old 12% and 6% interest rate system.
- All lawyers, regardless of years in practice, need to unlearn and learn laws that we did not study in law schools.
- All lawyers has the opportunity to handle cases that will become a new precedent for the new laws.
- Laws are not permanent, what may apply today may not be applicable tomorrow.
- Lawyers should prepare for more changes in the law during their lifetime.