As a graduate from both the Ateneo de Manila University and Harvard University, Atty. Juan Fidel Felipe Nograles could easily charge his clients with big amounts of money for his services.
By focusing his time on these big clients, he could earn millions, yet he chose to provide free legal service to the poor folks of Rizal! For his kindness, Nograles has earned admiration and respect not just from the residents of Rizal but also from netizens who heard about his story on social media.
Born to a rich family, it was easy for Nograles to complete his education at Ateneo de Manila University before proceeding to Harvard University in the US.
He was appointed court attorney at the office of former Supreme Court associate justice Martin Villarama Jr. He spent a year in this office before heading to Harvard.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, the 32-year-old Nograles was appointed as the assistant provincial administrator of the province of Rizal. While working in the field, he met a lot of poor people who would change his views in life.
Serving the Poor
These folks are so poor that they could easily afford to get the services of a lawyer. In fact, many of them don’t even have enough money to buy their families food to eat three times a day.
Acknowledging the need to provide these poor people something that he can easily share, his expertise as lawyer, Nograles decided to give pro bono legal services to the poor folks of Rizal.
He sought help from friends, both lawyers and law students, to help legal clinics in Rodriguez and San Mateo, Rizal.
“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 shared.
“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.”
The free legal clinic often caters to problems in relation to domestic violence against women and children as well as other family disputes and land grabbing issues.
The still-single lawyer hopes he wouldn’t remain a bachelor forever and that he would find a woman who “shares his passion for helping the needy”. He hopes that he would find someone who would also have the heart to share her time and talent so that there would now be two of them helping the poor.