Leslie Ann Reyes finds fulfilment in her profession, and excitement, too
By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
WHEN Leslie Ann Reyes was asked if she always saw herself as a lawyer, she, without hesitation, replied a resounding, “Yes, without a doubt!”
John Grisham novels, Leslie pointed out, had a lot to do with how it all started. She recalled that as early as 10 years old, while her peers were gushing over teenybopper novels, she was already devouring courtroom sagas — all thanks to her dad, an avid reader who passed all notable ones to her.
“I wanted to become the characters in those novels,” she said, “and I think I was in sixth grade when I saw the movie A Few Good Men — that sealed the deal for me. I said to myself, I’m going to be a lawyer when I grow up, and that never wavered.”
Leslie studied mass communication at the University of the Philippines, where she said her journalism training had set a great foundation, and then pursued her law degree at the University of San Carlos. Of her degree choice, she said, “I love writing, and I knew early on it would play an important role. And basically because I knew I would enjoy it more.”
Articulate with her words and charming in her ways, Leslie has since reaped the dream that was years in the making, her career now coming full circle. Today aside from assisting her parents in their family business, a security agency, she is senior associate in a private firm while also part of Cebu City’s legal office and head of its protocol office.
“As protocol officer, I’m the local and international relations officer, which basically means I handle relations for the city,” she explained, liaising with representatives from other cities and countries all part of the job. She oversees, among others, etiquette and protocol surrounding official events, and makes sure visiting dignitaries are properly attended to.
She said it involves a lot of running around, oftentimes, in heels. “I accompany the mayor to events that involve protocol work, where I get to meet ambassadors, consuls, mayors of sister cities… that’s the exciting part. And there’s no typical work day for me. Although there are fixed events, every day is never the same. It’s a different animal every day, definitely crazy busy.” Definitely, she’s not complaining either.
Outside her job, Leslie makes time for socio-civic work through JCI Zugbuanas and activities with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Cebu Chapter. “I’ve been an officer for the IBP for three years already,” she said. “Right now I’m secretary of the board.”
Leslie has been with the city government for four years. Prior to that, she was with the sales team at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel for almost two years. “While waiting for the Bar results, which would be released six to seven months after the exam, I wanted a career as far as possible from (the legal profession),” she mused, finding herself enjoying her brief stay, nonetheless.
Behind the esteemed title and beauteous smile she wears so well, Leslie easily describes herself an “ordinary girly girl.” She said, “I eat a lot. I have quite an appetite for food. I love movies, I love books—you can leave me in a one corner the whole day, reading. I also love writing, of course.”
A self-professed homebody, Leslie enjoys spending time with her family and doing DVD marathons with her friends, cooking and going to the gym. “A lot of people think I’m high-maintenance, but I really have simple joys,” she said.
Laidback a as she is, the young lawyer can likewise be tough and resolute when situation calls for it. Going to court for instance. Leslie said, “The adrenaline rush is intense… It’s very exhilarating and exciting. For me, that’s where the action is.”
Photography: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome | Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas | Assistants: Nimrod Aro and Jedidaiah del Mar, Interns
Locale: Marco Polo Plaza Hotel