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Rouse in Profile: Ellen Rico

Published on 30 Jun 2023 | 4 minute read
Doing it her way

Ellen is an Associate of Baranda & Associates, a local Philippines law firm and member of the Rouse network.  She has a general IP and corporate legal background, but her main focus is IP enforcement and dispute resolution.

Ellen is one of those people who seem always to have followed their own path – in her case, in ways that must sometimes have seemed surprising to those around her.  At elementary school in Manila, for example, when her class visited the library, her friends would flock to the shelves of young adult novels, while she would make a beeline to a single shelf at the far end of the library that had books on Greek mythology.  She would sit there happily, all alone, engrossed in a world she found utterly fascinating.  Her fascination with Greek myths just seemed to come from somewhere within. She can’t explain it, but the fact that she happily pursued it, whether or not anyone else was interested, is typical of an independent approach to life that has remained with her.

Even though these days she has much less time for reading, she remains a keen reader with definite and individual preferences.  At the moment, possibly because of the pandemic, her preferred material is post-apocalyptic novels; things like Justin Cronin’s The Passage, or Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.  Like all book lovers, she has a pile of books waiting to be read and novels like these are currently at the top of the pile.  Now, however, she has to make sure she is on top of everything at work before she can settle down and read in peace.

Ellen grew up as an only child in Metro Manila, her parents having moved there from the provinces for work before she was born. During her early years, the family moved about frequently, living in different parts of the city, but her mother made sure that, despite the moves, Ellen remained at the same school – depending where they had moved to, it might take her 15 minutes to get there, or it might take an hour.  Because Ellen’s parents were both working full-time, her grandmother had an active role in her upbringing -something for which she is very grateful.  The decision about what she would do in the future, however, was very much left up to her, although her father, an engineer, did encourage her to do something scientific; her mother, on the other hand, who worked in a hardware company, didn’t mind what she did as long as she got good grades.

When the time came to go to university, Ellen wasn’t particularly thinking of studying Law, but she had friends who were applying to do so at the University of the Philippines and she decided to go along with them.  She found the entrance examination surprisingly interesting, both the written exam and the interview with the Law professors, and by the time the results came out, she was in no doubt about what she wanted to do – even though she knew she would have no financial support and that life as a student would not be easy. 

While at university, she met Hossie at a student organization doing volunteer work.  He is now her husband, and they have a five-year old daughter, Freya Madeleine.  It shouldn’t be surprising that they have done things rather differently from most of their friends.  For one thing, they had been together for years before they decided to get married and have a family.  It is not how everyone would do it, but it has been absolutely right for them.  They joke that if they had married at the outset their child would now be an adult, instead of five-year old Freya, but they are happy with things the way they are.  Their choice of names for Freya also reflects  an independent and international outlook.  The name Freya they chose partly just because it appealed to them, but partly also because ‘Freya’ is a Norse goddess associated with love and beauty.  They chose Madeleine as a second name, because when Ellen was pregnant and tired walking the streets of Paris, every time she needed to stop, she’d see the name ‘Madeleine’ -  on street names, in shops and cafès, and on a church named Eglise de la Madeleine. They liked the association with the biblical figure Mary Magdalene and they also liked another meaning of the name,  “woman from the tower”,  because they associated  tower with strength. 

Before she and Hossie were married, they loved travelling and had managed to visit many countries in South-East Asia, as well as New Zealand and various European countries.  In those days, their travel was adventurous, often without too much forward planning, staying in budget hotels, and just wandering about, experiencing the local scene.  Now, with Freya, they no longer go off the beaten path, but cherish travelling as a family.

Freya is an only child and, being an only child herself, Ellen is well aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of that.  She has no particular ambition for her daughter, just that she should be happy and do something that is meaningful not only to her, but also to others.  It is a wish that very much reflects Ellen’s priorities.  At university, she had been very involved in volunteer work and it remains something she holds dear.  She loves her current work in IP, particularly getting results for clients, but hopes that in the future, when she has a little more time, she will be able once again to incorporate some volunteer work into her life.   That would be very much doing things her way – and she’s bound ultimately to achieve it.

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Rouse Editor
+44 20 7536 4100
Rouse Editor
+44 20 7536 4100