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The Day I Decided Not Become Another Crooked Lawyer

Written by: Luis Alberto Cuevas, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Luis Alberto Cuevas

In one of these Nokia 5110s, I received that message that would ignite a massive change in my life. Around 8:30 pm my boss sent me a text with these words: "Luis, please come back to the office once you finish your lessons, I need your support. Thanks." I was attending Law School from 4 to 10 pm. Every day, for five years. That was Law School in Mexico City. I found it extremely boring.

Nokia 5110 phone

I arrived back in the office around 10:45, just after having some tacos on my way in. I used to work for a law firm at that time. I had worked late hours before, but this time was different. When I arrived, my boss was not there, the office driver was waiting for me. He told me to go into my boss's office and call him.

The call with my boss was short, and straight to the point. He told me to take a yellow file and the briefcase that were on top of his desk. He instructed me to go to a Mexican Courthouse and be outside the rear entrance at 11:45 pm sharp. A 60-year-old man, with grey hair and retro glasses, whose name was Mr. Pedro will be expecting me. I should deliver the folder but not the briefcase. He told me to wait for Mr. Pedro to come back with the folder and only after having the folder with me, deliver the briefcase. He closed the call telling me to return to the office right away, leave the folder on top of his desk and go home.

I did as instructed. I was very shocked about the way things developed, I was not sure what was going on, to be honest, I was very naive at that moment, I still believed justice was embedded in our institutions and protected by their public servers.

I couldn't sleep well that night and the following days. I had that feeling that something was not right, I didn't share my views with any of my peers or friends. I kept that feeling only for me for a few weeks, until the day I went back to the Courthouse. It was early morning, and I went to copy a resolution of a case we were highly anticipating. Once I transcribed (handwriting) the resolution in my notebook and called my boss to tell him the conclusion of the court, I went to the entrance of the courthouse, a good friend of mine was waiting for me, we were going for a coffee and study for an exam we were having that evening.

I remember arriving at the coffee shop and asking for a black coffee with an extra shot, I needed something to boost my energy, "I haven't been sleeping well lately" I told my friend, and she smiled and asked for the same doses to the barista. I still remember we were finishing our first cup of coffee when I saw Mr. Pedro coming into the Coffee Shop. He was wearing a dark grey suit, similar to the one he was wearing weeks before. This time he looked fresh, however, his non-expressive face was present at all times. My friend noticed I couldn't stop watching him and asked me if I knew Mr. Pedro. I told her I was not sure, that his face reminded me of someone. She replied "Mr. Pedro was responsible for assigning the cases to the different judges when they arrive at the court" She added, "Nowadays the court is using a new software to assign new cases randomly to judges, this will make sure cases will be judged objectivity, building trust on the system". I remember looking back at her and saying... "I'm sure it will".

I can't remember what I scored on the test I had that evening. What I remember now as it was yesterday, was the moment I told my boss how I was feeling after that night. I told him I was not feeling comfortable with how things happened. He interrupted me and said I needed to stop thinking about it. He mentioned that sometimes the system needs a push for things to happen and I should learn this for good. After his very eloquent words, he politely asked me to leave his office, he needed to make a call.

I was fired the next day.

"Sometimes the system needs a push" That phrase has stuck in my mind for many years, it opened my eyes to the real meaning of corruption, a term I used to think applied only to Mexican cops and politicians. I decided to study law when I was around 14 years old. I wanted to become an agent of justice and fight for those who didn't have the means or the voice to do it for themselves. I wanted to fight for people like my dad who couldn't defend themselves from his employers and the wrong way they treated their staff.

How could I become a successful litigation lawyer if the system was so corrupted?

Should I adapt, keep quiet and move forward in my career aiming to build wealth and power without Ethics?

That event changed my life for good. I decided to move to the Corporate Law world and try the new role of "Compliance Lawyer" that international corporations were embedding in their Legal team's design. I have spent more than 15 years doing Risk, Ethics and ESG Compliance for international corporations that want to do better for their employees, stakeholders, clients & and consumers. I found meaning and purpose in my work. I have achieved the impact I wanted by helping people be heard by their employers. I'm fighting corruption and I feel good about it.

My journey is far from being completed, now as a founder I have a bigger goal, to help as many people and companies in the world to be free from corruption and make better decisions for the sake of all beings in this beautiful world we call Earth.

Follow me on LinkedIn, YouTube, and visit my website for more info!

Luis Alberto Cuevas Brainz Magazine

Luis Alberto Cuevas, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Luis Cuevas is an ESG expert in an intense and innovative fight against corruption. As a single dad and world citizen, he is committed to help people change their habits, he is convinced that's the only way to save the world from humans' worst disease, corruption. Luis is the CEO and Founder of Rethical, a UK company that is helping their clients achieve sustainable goals through their people.



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