After prioritizing family and battling illness, woman becomes lawyer at 65

Ianna Gayle Agus, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2023 06:24 PM | Updated as of Apr 18 2023 01:07 AM

Photo from Napoleon Nazarene Regis
Photo from Napoleon Nazarene Regis

MANILA - After delaying her dreams for over 40 years as she had to prioritize her children and battle a life-threatening illness, Nancy Regis of Southern Leyte broke barriers last Friday as she finally became a lawyer at 65.

Regis set aside her dream of being a lawyer to prioritize her three children after getting pregnant at the age of 23. After a few years, she was ready to finally go to law school but she had another child. 

“I took pride and joy in my children and grandchildren and I let them finish first their school and I set aside my dreams because they are my priority,” Regis told ABS-CBN News. 

Even though there were times when she thought about the possibilities had she chosen to prioritize herself and her dreams, Regis said she never once regretted her choice of putting her children first. 

“Life would not be that meaningful and that beautiful. My purpose, I think, is to raise my children first. Because I love them so much, I give them the top priority. Although, it was in my head all the time, in my mind and soul, that I really want to pursue my dreams (law school),” she said. 

Putting herself second was worth it, as all her children became professionals - two are doctors, one is a nurse, and one is a businesswoman.

When her children finally finished their studies, her law school dreams still remained far-fetched as she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. She had to undergo major operations, receive treatments, therapies, and maintenance medications, and have outstanding bills. 

Despite all the hurdles, Regis never once thought that the challenges she faced were signs that lawyering is not for her. 

“Never. I never stopped dreaming to reach my goal in life,” said Regis, who, according to her son, Napoleon, enrolled at The College of Maasin College of Law in Southern Leyte in 2014 and completed the degree in 2020.

"She continued to work as a government employee for a living and finally studied Law on weekends whilst being a mother, a grandmother, a wife, and a businesswoman," Napoleon wrote on Facebook.

The family gave her their full support even as she "never asked for a single centavo when it comes to her schooling," said Napoleon in an online interview with ABS-CBN News.

"It was all from her salary as a government employee and Papa's salary as a businessman," he said when asked who shouldered her mom's law education.

Regis revealed that her study routine when she was reviewing for the Bar exams starts at 4 a.m. That ends at 1 a.m. of the following day, which left her with only three hours’ worth of sleep every single day. 

On one of the Bar exam dates in November last year, Regis turned 65.

The sacrifices paid off as she, along with 3,991 out of 9,183 Bar candidates or 43.47 percent, passed the 2022 Bar Exams.

"She was in our house in Sogod, alone, sweeping the floor. And then, I called her to tell her she passed," Napoleon recalled the moment her mom learned about the good news last Friday.

“Life will not be significant for me if I will not become a lawyer… I feel very much complete and I think I have nothing to ask more from God. I’m very thankful. I cannot express my gratitude in words,” Regis said. 

After all the obstacles thrown her way, Regis said she learned the importance of persistence and perseverance as these are what will “distinguish it from a wishful thinking.” 

As someone whose dreams have been delayed for four decades, Regis, who is now a grandmother of six, advised people who are discouraged to pursue their dreams to just continue to fight.

“Press on. Just go on and pursue your dreams and sometimes, along the way, there are bumps and difficulties that you should overcome. But always ask guidance from God, the wisdom from Him, [and] you will really reach your goal. And it’s sweet, in God’s perfect time,” she said.

Regis wants to become a litigation lawyer and also have her own firm, her son said.


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