Coming from a rich family and having graduated from prestigious schools such as Ateneo de Manila University and Harvard Law School, Atty. Juan Fidel Felipe Nograles could easily earn a lot of money in the many famous law firms in Manila.
He could also build his own name in the industry, catering to rich clients and multi-national firms. With his background, he could easily do that. But this 32-year-old lawyer has greatly earned admiration from netizens for choosing to provide pro bono service to poor folks in his hometown!
It all started when Nograles became the assistant provincial administrator of the province of Rizal. The young lawyer was shocked at the sad plight of the poor folks in the area who could not afford to provide even basic needs to their families.
Seeing the social injustice suffered by these people, he decided to fully concentrated on helping less privileged people in the province by providing them what he could easily give: free legal services!
“I have seen how meager their resources are and honestly, I can’t turn a blind eye anymore. The more time I spend with them each day, the more I appreciate how lucky I am to be in a position to help,” Nograles explained.
“If I give an hour and help three to five people, these are three to five people out of the list. This is good enough for me.”
To help these poor folks, he and some lawyer friends set up free legal clinics in the towns of Rodriguez and San Mateo, Rizal.
At first, the poor folks were unsure of these free legal clinics – these seemed too good to be true! But the villagers would soon realize that Nograles and the other lawyers genuinely cared about their welfare. The young lawyers would eventually connect with the residents and gain their trust.
The legal clinics provide services for a host of needs, including land disputes and family issues.
Image credit: PhilStar