Cuban Law Association, Attorney Yasmany Orges Lugo, 8 August 2016 — An attorney is someone with an undergraduate degree which allows him or her to practice law in accordance with a country’s legal statutes on behalf of clients. Attorneys are active and indispensable partners in their country’s administration of justice. In other words, an attorney is not just a defender of justice but also someone whose advice serves a preventive role in avoiding social conflict.
Attorneys in Cuba all receive their university training in the same university system. In theory we can all aspire to the same sorts of jobs and obtain the same skills and knowledge necessary to be good lawyers. But only in theory. This is because every individual is an independent being with different values and levels of intelligence.
Our legal educations and backgrounds also vary. Some of us come from provincial universities while others are from municipal institutions established throughout the country as part of the Ministry of Higher Education’s program of universal access.
There is a big difference between graduates of provincial universities and those of their municipal counterparts. The former are staffed by a higher caliber of instructors. They include individuals with doctorate and master’s degrees as well as instructors with years of teaching experience. They demand a higher level of productivity, have more rigorous academic standards and can provide the resources necessary for research and individual training. Meanwhile, the municipal institutions are somewhat less strict in these regards.
The differences continue after graduation in terms of job choices and locations. Graduates of the major universities find positions in their chosen field of study, fulfilling their social service obligations in the world of law and acquiring greater levels of expertise. Meanwhile, graduates of municipal schools mostly keep their degrees “under the mattress.” They have to rely on personal connections to find jobs where they can apply what they have learned or hope something opens up in a law firm, court, district attorney’s office or legal services firm. The result is a disconnect between the degree and its holder. This raises a classic question: Why did I study law? Looking at it from this angle, one can understand those who say, “These university graduates have had no training.”
My purpose is not to compare one set of individuals to the another. Ultimately, we all go through the fascinating experience of being university students and the title Juris Doctor does not indicate a student’s grade point average or the university from which he or she graduated.
What I would like to draw attention to here are the prejudices and negative comments by some legal professionals against their colleagues, such as those to which I have alluded earlier. I believe what matters is the individual, how dedicated you are to your training, striving to be better every day, researching and growing in spite of the obstacles that present themselves without worrying about who your professors were, what university you attended or what position you have in the judicial system.
This is the Goliath we are dealing with. But believing in one David is enough to give the world an alternate example of grandeur.