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OPINION / COLUMNIT 147 HAR        

ar exam and legal education (2)
By: Artemio V. Panganiban - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Dail Inquirer / 12�04 AM eptemer 14, 2014

Let me continue last Sunday’s column on the bar examinations which will
be held on Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26. The exams measure the candidates’ Liked 3.1M likes

theoretical knowledge of these basic subjects: “Political and International

Law; Labor Law and Social Legislation; Civil Law; Taxation; Mercantile You and 46 other friends like this

Law; Criminal Law; Remedial Law; and Legal and Judicial Ethics.” The
Supreme Court has issued Bar Bulletin No. 1 describing in detail the scope
or syllabus for each of these subjects. Follow @inquirerdotnet

Practice of law. They are also the very subjects, broken into several
subtopics in the bar exam syllabus, that law schools “teach” their students. TRNDING
For this reason, the four-year law curriculum is said to be “bar-oriented”— NWINFO
Senate won’t allow arrest of De
that is, designed to help students pass the bar exam, and nothing more.
FRUARY 14, 2017
The question frequently asked and debated is one of adequacy: whether
hurdling or even topping these subjects both in the bar exams and in the Erich Gonzales to speak up on
law schools adequately prepares students to practice law in the real world. ‘money issues’ with Matsunagas
FRUARY 13, 2017
My answer depends on the meaning given to “practice of law.”
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If by practice of law is meant jewelry collection
“litigation,” then the answer is FRUARY 13, 2017

definitely “no.” Theoretical NTRTAINMNT

Daniel Matsunaga’s sis Vanessa
knowledge alone is not enough to to Erich: Address money issue
prepare an attorney for court work. FRUARY 13, 2017

In the same manner that passing the NWINFO

Plunderer ‘kills’ more people
medical board exam, by itself, will than a murderer – Lacson
not magically transform a physician FRUARY 13, 2017

to undertake heart surgery

corneal replacements, hurdling the
Old Age Makeup vs.
bar test does not guarantee litigation Natural Aging: See
expertise. How They Compare

Litigation is a specialization in which not all lawyers, not even all bar
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2/17/2017 Bar exam and legal education (2) | Inquirer Opinion

on one’s feet, even drama.

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Warrant of arrest
Moreover, like surgery, litigation has subspecialties. A heart surgeon would served on Arroyo

normally not dare operate on the brain, in the same way that a criminal law
expert may not be competent to litigate international law-of-the-seas cases.
Maxine the winner

Broad definition. However, if by practice of law is meant the very broad

concept set forth by the Supreme Court in Cayetano vs Monsod (Sept. 3,
1991), then my answer is “yes.” In this case, the Court defined practice of
Recommended by
law as “any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law,
legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience… Generally, to
practice law is to render any kind of service, which requires the use in any
degree of legal knowledge or skill.”

The Court explained that the practice of law is not “limited to the conduct of
cases in court.” This definition is comprehensive enough to include teaching
of law, giving of any advice that requires legal background, preparation of
legal documents (like affidavits and contracts) and management of the legal
affairs of corporations.

In reality, many more lawyers are engaged in nontrial work than in

litigation. In fact, some of the highest paid lawyers, both here and abroad,
have never seen a courtroom.

In the British system, lawyers are classified broadly into solicitors and
barristers. The traditional law offices are staffed by solicitors who listen to
clients and advise them on how to solve their legal predicaments, and when
necessary, refer them to barristers who represent them in court litigations.

Although the solicitor-barrister distinction is not observed here (all bar

passers are allowed to appear in court), the big law firms anyway divide
functions and responsibilities such that more lawyers get solicitor-type
assignments than barrister-associated work.

Compared with those working in law firms, far more lawyers are employed
in the government and in private corporations. In fact, many take up law to
qualify for promotion because a bachelor of laws degree is given the
equivalent of a master’s degree by the Commission on Higher Education.

Expanding legal knowledge. The Supreme Court cannot be faulted for

requiring only the most basic knowledge of law to pass the bar exams.
Those who want to specialize should undertake further study and training
either in graduate schools or in actual practice, or in both.
It is really difficult to require more than this basic knowledge from bar
applicants. During the last three decades, law and jurisprudence have
expanded exponentially in the Philippines and in the world in keeping with
the march of knowledge in all disciplines, especially in science, technology
and medicine.

Apart from the Constitution and the basic codes (Civil Code, Penal Code,­exam­and­legal­education­2 2/6
2/17/2017 Bar exam and legal education (2) | Inquirer Opinion

Corporation Code, etc.), Congress continues to pass new laws totaling over
 SECTIONS Friday, February 17, 2017
10,000 at the end of 2013; and, aside from the Rules of Court (and the
perplexing rules and regulations issued by various administrative agencies
like the National Labor Relations Commission, Bureau of Internal Revenue,
etc.), the Supreme Court produces over 1,000 full-length decisions every

Given the need to keep up with this humongous legal literature, the
Supreme Court instituted the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
Program (MCLE), which requires all lawyers to take continuing legal
education seminars and activities every three years, to “ensure that
throughout their career, they keep abreast with law and jurisprudence,
maintain ethics of the profession and enhance the standards of the practice
of law.”

Next week, as the last part of this series, I will take up the valiant effort of
the leading law schools to improve legal education and standards, with
special mention of the seminal thesis of Justin D.J. Sucgang, a regular
member of the Legal Education Board.


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10 Comments Inquirer Opinion  Jay

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Ncarreonjr • 2 years ago
The country has too many lawyers(jokers/clowns) already. The country needs more
News  
competent economic managers.
1 △   ▽ • Share ›
Inquirer 
farmerpo • 2 years ago @inquirerdotnet
Lawyers drift towards business. Lawyering is just a stepping stone either to a good business
venture or politics. Given the inside of business and politics, lawyers morphs from idealistic Satur Ocampo: Ending poverty
law practitioners to just money earners. Poor innocent clients, they are doomed. enough motive to revive peace
talks | @JhessetEnanoINQ
Correctionals are now hardening pits. Thanks to lawyers. #INQ
1 △   ▽ • Share ›

IronMan8888 • 2 years ago
Sadly, there are too many "liars" in the Philippines but very slow and ineffective Justice
2 △   ▽ • Share › 2 m   

tarikan • 2 years ago
We can't blame the public to be more bias for the "litigation" lawyers. Seldom we know about
"solicitors" type of lawyers. The reason is that litigation lawyers more often than not have
affected our lives. And why lawyers are overcrowding in litigation? Easy money haha.
Everybody happy, the fixcals, the honeurable judge, the clerk of courts, etc.
2 △   ▽ • Share ›

batukan • 2 years ago  
the problem with our laws is that they are technically broad in nature hence, lawyers almost Inquirer 
always find ways to get out of it, henceforth those who really are guilty still finds ways to
escape prosecution       
△   ▽ • Share ›

Jose A. Oliveros • 2 years ago
The broad definition of "practice of law" enunciated by the Supreme Court in Cayetano
versus Monsod always reminds me of the dissent of the late Senior Associate Justice
Isagani A. Cruz in the same case that under that definition, the only lawyer who can be­exam­and­legal­education­2 4/6
2/17/2017 Bar exam and legal education (2) | Inquirer Opinion
Isagani A. Cruz in the same case that under that definition, the only lawyer who can be

considered as not practicing law is one whose principal pre­occupation is escorting wrinkled
Friday, February 17, 2017
ladies with pubescent desire.
3 △   ▽ • Share ›

Kool Dude • 2 years ago
It used to be that our policemen were either lawyers, law under graduate and/or criminology
Now some are not even high school graduates. They are ex­soldiers and high school drop
out. Isn't it high school graduate is a must to apply for the job of a police officer?
△   ▽ • Share ›

AllaMo • 2 years ago
Just what the Philippines needs. More lawyers (laws and lawmakers). Not.
△   ▽ • Share ›

TinimbangNgunitKulang • 2 years ago
Bar exams are for kabisotes, not for smart people with kukotes.
△   ▽ • Share ›

SalesDOMNicoleTonetteTAMUD • 2 years ago
why do we need more lawyers in this country? we need more STEM graduates! You VS MODE
0 pts
1 △   ▽ • Share ›

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