YR 47 Issue 1 2011
A man of business and law
“The formula for success is quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it is not at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that is where you will find success.” - Thomas J. Watson

FRANCISCO Ed Lim initially thought that becoming a priest was his calling, but when fate took its turn and had its joking way of redefining his life, he later on found himself establishing a career in the field of law and business.

As a member of the Philippine and New York state bar and a senior partner in a prestigious law firm, Lim found his real passion and niche.

Unpredictable twist

Recalling his childhood days, Lim did not really intend to become a lawyer. He entered the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets) pursuing a degree in Philosophy in hopes of becoming a priest someday.

However, his stint at the seminary was short-lived as he decided to quit early on. When asked why he did not pursue it, he simply said, “many are called but few are chosen.”

In 1975, he graduated magna cum laude in Bachelor of Philosophy. He also graduated cum laude in Bachelor of Arts. Being the first in the family to venture into law, Lim narrated that his aspirations to become a lawyer started when he met a great attorney when he was young.

According to Lim, the lawyer who inspired him was hired by his father due to a land dispute in Cagayan Valley. Eventually, Lim found himself emulating the acts of the lawyer.

He never stopped learning since then. He entered the Ateneo de Manila University to pursue law and later on took a scholarship grant from the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRA) where he currently works as a senior partner. He took his post-graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Getting things done

As he became the longest serving president of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) from 2004 to 2010, he initiated projects that included the passage of capital-market related laws that aimed to boost the stock exchange.

With a job mantra that says, “If things should be done, it can be done
,” his hard work eventually paid off and PSE reached one of its highest points during his term.

He also served as Director of the PSE; President & CEO of the Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines (SCCP); Chairman of the Philippine Stock Exchange Foundation, Inc., (PSEFI) and Capital Market Development Center, Inc. (CMDCI); Director of the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corporation (PDEx); Trustee of the Securities Investors Protection Fund (SIPF); and member of Capital Market Development Council (CMDC).

Lim added that the choice one makes defines him in the long run. In the same belief, he noted that corruption and dishonesty may be rampant in his field, but one can choose to veer away from doing illicit acts by following what is right. “You can distinguish yourself from the rest,” he said. “You can practice it in a grand way, being legally creative within the bounds of the law. It is always your choice.”

A lawyer for more than 30 years now, Lim realized that in a profession where enemies are easily gained, taking risks are necessary to gain the needed results. “You have to train yourself in every step of the way so that when you go out to the real world, you are prepared,” he said. “If you do this well, you will be ready to face the risks that you will encounter in real life.”

Despite the negative things hounding our justice system, Lim believes that law remains as a beautiful profession—rest assured it is practiced well.

“Law is an art. It has a story to say. It is not static. It changes but the philosophy remains the same,” he said. “If you improve the justice system, it will go a long way in improving the lives of the people,” Lim said.

Lessons from the seminary

Having gained lessons from the seminary, Lim said that faith occupies a big role in his life and profession. One of the lessons he will never forget is living a balanced life, he said.

“You should get focused to what you are presently doing because there is time for everything,” he said. In everything that he does, Lim treats his role as a father to his four children his top priority.

The man who once dreamt of becoming a lawyer now lives as one. Despite all his achievements, one dream still remains unfulfilled to him—to give something back to his country.

Perhaps that is where his inspiration is coming—in hopes that the Philippines can be a great nation again.
“All it needs is one great leader, there is still hope for you,” he said.
Year 47 |  Issue 3 |  2011
Francisco Ed Lim
Year 47 |  Issue 4 |  2012