Alternative Law Rocks

Members of SALIGAN (Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal) are not your standard-issue lawyers. Doing developmental legal work for women, workers, farmers and fishers, and the urban poor, each one is an atypical attorney as an article on the September 2007 issue of Men’s Health Philippines puts it.

By defying the norm in their field, you could also say they’ the legal profession’s rockstars. Though one of them, Jing Gaddi, the organization’s urban poor unit coordinator, is one. Aside from handling cases on the Urban Development Housing Act and making paralegals out of people in urban poor communities, among other things, Gaddi plays bass for the indie-rock band, Ang Bandang Shirley. After their Rizal Day EP, Shirley is set to release a full-length CD this year under Terno Recordings, producer of pioneering groups Radioactive Sago and Updharmadown.

If I chose to be a lawyer in one of those big firms, surely I would have no time do other things, Gaddi told Men’s Health on how he sustains a lawyer-slash-rocker’s laidback lifestyle. Aside from passion, he credits the intangible rewards from alternative law. My work is really rewarding because I know I am able to help a lot people by empowering them. The sense of achievement comes from knowing you’ve done something to help others, he added.

Unlike other members of the workforce who dread talking about their jobs after-hours, Gaddi relishes a discussion. I’m always eager to tell others about where I’ve gone, who I’ve met, he said.  I cannot picture myself doing anything else.

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