Law studies in the Philippines are considered graduate programs, which are offered by Philippines law schools under the supervision of the Legal Education Board. It is manned and regulated by both the Commission on Higher education in the Philippines (CHED) and the Supreme Court of Justice.
The basic admission requirements for Law School in the Philippines
- A graduate of a bachelor’s degree in any course
- Must provide a copy of his/her transcript of records of the degree earned with special order (S.O) from CHED
- Has undergone 18 units of English, 6 units of Mathematics, and 18 units of social sciences
- Must submit recommendation from reputable source and from previous college dean or any faculty of member of his school.
- Must pass the law school’s entrance examination
- Must provide an original copy of his/her NSO Authenticated birth certificate
- Must secure certificate of good moral character and Honorable Dismissal if applicable
How many years does it take to graduate from Law studies in the Philippines?
Legal education in the Philippines takes 4 years to complete, which is composed of 12 semesters. In special cases, it may take longer than 4 years, provided that the completion of the whole law course should not take more than 6 years of residency from the time of enrolment.
It is composed of 3 law degree programs namely:
- Professional – Basic law degrees required to be eligible to take the Philippine bar examination.
- Graduate law degrees – option for continuing education for law graduates
- Honorary – given to individuals who were found to have made significant contributions to the a certain field and to society.
Are there scholarships that I can avail to study law in the Philippines?
- Scholarships are given to deserving students based on academic performances in the first year of law study and financial need.
- Relatives of faculty member and uinversity employees can get up to 60% discount.
- Students who achieved honors in their undergraduate studies are sometimes given discounts on tuition fees, for example:
- Summa Cum Laude - 100%
- Magna Cum Laude - 75%
- Cum Laude - 50%
What examination do I need to pass in order to practice law in the Philippines?
In order to practice law in the Philippines, you need to pass the Philippine Bar Examination which is exclusively administered through the Supreme Court Bar Examination Committee. It is annually conducted on the 4 Sundays of September and it is known as one of the hardest examinations worldwide.
Requirements for admission to the Philippine Bar Examination
Before a law graduate can take the licensure examination for lawyers, they need to meet the following qualifications:
- Must be a professional degree holder in law from a duly recognized law school in the Philippines.
- Must be at least Twenty-one (21) years old
- Must be a holder of a bachelor’s degree with academic credits on required subjects from a university recognized by the Philippine government.
- A Filipino Citizen
- Must be of good moral character (it can be obtained from dean of law school or an immediate superior at work)
- Must not have any case filed or pending in any court in the Philippines that involves moral turpitude.
What are the career opportunities available for law graduates in the Philippines?
There are many career opportunities that awaits law graduates who have passed the Philippine Bar Examinations. You can work either for private or public institutions depending on your preferred field of expertise. You can choose to practice in either one the following careers:
- Public attorney
- Notary public
- Company Lawyer
- Corporate Lawyer
- Tax Lawyer
- Collection Lawyer
- Legal Counsel
- Government departments such as Supreme Court of the Philippines, Ombudsman, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Justice and Court of Appeals.
- Professor / instructor for law studies in any law schools in the country.
The Top 10 Performing Law Schools in the Philippines
Based on the exam passing rates, the Commission on higher education releases a list of the top performing law schools in the Philippines. The Following are the list of law schools that consistently had high passing rates for the bar examination during the years 2001 - 2009:
- Ateneo de Manila – 91.24%
- San Beda College – 88.4%
- University of the Philippines - 82.85%
- Far Eastern University – De La Salle University – 77.42%
- Ateneo de Davao University – 75.92%
- University of San Carlos – 68.2%
- University of Santo Tomas – 67.64%
- University of Cebu – 52.81%
- University of Perpetual Help – 50.81%
- Arellano University – 49.3%
National passing percentages for the Philippine Bar Examinations
- 2009 – 24.58% (1,451 out of 5,903)
- 2008 – 20.58% (1,310 out of 6,364)
- 2007 – 22.91% (1,289 out of 5,626)
- 2006 – 30.60% (1,893 out of 6,187)
- 2005 – 27.55% (1,526 out of 5,607)
- 2004 – 31.61% (1,659 out of 5,249)
- 2003 – 20.71% (1,108 out of 5,349)
- 2002 – 19.68% (917 out of 4,659)
- 2001 – 32.89% (1,266 out of 3,849)