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Law studies in the Philippines


Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) is a four year graduate program designed to help students become
lawyers.
There are eight major subjects included in the LL.B. curriculum: Civil, Political, Labor,
Criminal, Commercial, International, Tax and Remedial laws. All these subjects are required by
the Supreme Court of the Philippines for the completion of the Law program, plus a number of
other subjects (Legal Research, Legal Ethics and Labor Standards). In addition, students are
required to choose one elective subject out of the following subjects: Admiralty, Advanced
Taxation, Agrarian Law and Social Legislation, Appellate Practice and Brief Making. These
subjects are usually offered in the fourth year of law school.
The first two years of the Bachelor of Laws program are spent in rigorous classroom discussions,
oral recitations, case study analysis and debates. During junior and senior years law students will
undergo an extensive apprenticeship in a duly recognized law firm, a research court
apprenticeship and an on the job training in a government agency or a public legal assistance
agency (Public Attorneys Office).
A final requirement during the fourth year of law school and one of the highlights in the Law
program is the thesis making. The topic may come from any subject of law or issues concerning

legal matters. The thesis is done under the supervision of a faculty and culminates when the
student faces a committee to defend his/her work.

Is Law a profession?
Law is a profession. A graduate of Bachelor of Laws who passes the Philippine Bar
Examination is called an Attorney or a Lawyer. Depending on which field of specialization a
Lawyer chooses, roles and responsibilities will significantly vary. Compared to other
professions, Lawyers have a wide array of jobs. This includes explaining the law and giving
general legal advice, representing a client and advising them on their legal situation, settling
disputes and supervising any agreements, drafting contracts and other legal documents,
analyzing legal documents, researching and gathering evidence, creating oral argument in the
courts, attending court hearings to defend clients, conveyancing (making documents necessary
for the transfer of properties such as deeds and mortgages) and prosecuting criminal suspects.

What are the admission requirements for Bachelor of Laws?


Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
(See source 1 and source 2)
o

Pre-Law bachelors degree:


To be admitted to the Law program, a student must have completed a bachelors degree in
arts or science in an authorized university or college, with any of the following subjects as
major or field of concentration:
Political Science
Philosophy
English
Economics
History

Other degrees - required subjects:


In the event that an applicant is a bachelors degree holder in a field other than those
mentioned above, he/she may still be admitted as long as he/she has earned the following
minimum number of units in certain subject areas:

English: 12 units
History and/or Economics: 9 units
Social Sciences (Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Literature) : 21
units
Math : 6 units
Rizal: 3 units
o

Recommendation letter: must submit a recommendation letter from reputable source and
from previous college dean or any faculty of member of his/her previous school.

Police clearance: must submit a copy of Police or NBI clearance showing no involvement
in cases of moral turpitude (rape, robbery, forgery).

Admission Test: an applicant shall be required to take the Law Aptitude Examination
(LAE) or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) before being accepted. He/she will then
be evaluated according to the score that he/she obtains. There are schools that require an
above average rating or depending on the specified rating set by the school.

English Proficiency Examination: must pass an English Proficiency Examination with a


rating not less than 80%.

Interview: must undergo a separate interview with the College Admissions Officer as well
as the College Dean.

Employment status: there are schools that do not accept applicants who are currently
employed. They only admit those who can be full time students.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this
course?
The following characteristics will help you survive Law school:
o

Analytical and Logical reasoning the ability to review complex written documents,
draw inferences and create connections among legal evidences

Critical thinking the ability to discern concepts, comprehend evidences and integrate
them with certain legal theories

Reasoning skill the ability to discover underlying principles between two or more
subjects and use it to solve a case.

Organization ability to sort, order and manage large volumes of exhibits, documents,
files, evidence, data and other information.

Sound Judgment the ability to consistently think clearly, carefully, and independently.

Attention to detail the ability to eye pertinent data and evidences that can be used for a
case

Stellar communication skills the ability to proficiently speak and write English and
convey information in a clear, concise, and logical manner.

Memorization skills the ability to recall concepts that have been previously studied and
apply it to new cases.

Diligence and commitment

How difficult is Bachelor of Laws?


Bachelor of Laws is a difficult course. It requires a great amount of time and effort. You must
have the passion to study law in order to graduate from the program. Consistency and diligence
is very important. Expect that when you take up law you have to consistently study every night
for the next four years. The most common mistake among many applicants is the thought that
because they are able to articulate and read English proficiently, they are a good fit to take up
Law. However, Law goes beyond pronouncing words well, it requires reading comprehension. It
is a complicated subject with lots of differing rulings on various aspects of the law. Studying law
also involves lots of writing on complex subjects.
Getting a law degree is nothing like getting a bachelors degree. Many law classrooms are run
more like courts than like classrooms. Professors in law school are not your average professors.
These professors do not at all behave like teachers in a classroom; they behave like lawyers in a
court, trying to prove that each and every one of the students in the room did not do the required
reading thoroughly enough.
In addition, the Philippine Bar Examination is one of the hardest board exams; only a small
percentage of examinees are able to pass.

How long does it take to complete the L.L.B program in the


Philippines?
Generally, the L.L.B. program takes four years to complete. However, there are certain schools
that follow a five year curriculum. In schools that follow a trimestral curriculum, the program
may be completed in less than four years.
After graduation, a sixmonth comprehensive review program prepares law students for the
Philippine Bar Examination. The program features classes and lectures from members of the
Law School's faculty as well as other legal scholars and practitioners.

Apprenticeship
Law schools who accept employed students do not require apprenticeships and on the job
trainings. Instead, to supplement for the lack of hands on experience, they are required to attend
seminars and selected court hearings. Most of these activities are scheduled on weekends or
selected days of the week.
The apprenticeship program requires qualified attorneys who will assist the students in the actual
practice of law. The supervising attorney evaluates the performance of the students and
recommends to the Dean whether academic credits can be granted on the basis of such
evaluation. Students must earn a total of four (4) academic credits from apprenticeship work to
be eligible for graduation.

Specializations
The most common fields of specializations in Law are as follows:
o

Constitutional Law the body of law that regulates the federal, state, and local
governments; most often associated with fundamental rights like equal protection, the right
to bear arms, freedom of religion, and the right to free speech.

Criminal Law body of rules that defines conduct prohibited by the government because it
threatens and harms public safety and welfare; examples are kidnapping, rape, robbery,
murder, rebellion.

Business Law governs transactions between business entities, contracts, sales, business
organizations, property, and bailments.

Labor Law an area of the law that deals with the rights of employers, employees, and
labor organizations.

Civil Law covers disputes between individuals, companies and sometimes local or central
government.

Tax Law covers the rules, policies and laws that oversee the tax process, which involves
charges on estates, transactions, property, income, licenses and more by the government.

Family Law an area of the law that deals with familyrelated matters and domestic
relations; examples include annulment, adoption, child custody.

Philippine Bar Examination


To be a fullfledged lawyer in the Philippines and be eligible to use the title Attorney, a graduate
of Bachelor of Laws needs to pass the Philippine Bar Examination. The examination is
conducted by the Supreme Court of the Philippines under the Supreme Court Bar Examination
Committee. It is scheduled once a year in the four Sundays of October.
There are eight sets of subjects included in the exam and each subject has its corresponding
weight. Civil Law (15%), Labor Law and Social Legislation (10%), Mercantile Law (15%),
Criminal Law (10%), Political and International Law (15%), Taxation (10%), Remedial Law
(20%) and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises (5%) are the eight main subjects included in the
exam.
To pass the examination you should obtain a passing average of 75%, with no grade falling
below 50% in any bar subject. Compared to other eligibility examinations, the Bar Exam can
only be taken six times. Failure to pass in the first three examinations means disqualification of a
candidate. However, he/she may take a fourth and fifth examination provided that he

successfully completes a one (1) year refresher course for each examination. Once a candidate
fails in his/her fourth and fifth attempt, he/she will be required to take another one year refresher
course, after which, the candidate may again take the sixth and final bar examination.
The result of the board examination is usually released during March, 5 months after the exam.

Is the LL.B. degree different from the Juris Doctor degree?


o

Can you become a lawyer by taking the Juris Doctor program:


Both the Bachelor of Laws program and the Juris Doctor (J.D.) program are professional
law degrees that entitle a graduate to practice law in the Philippines, given that they pass the
Bar Examination.

Admission requirements:
Generally speaking, admission requirements for both programs are similar.

Duration:
Both programs take 4 years to complete.

Curriculum:
The J.D. program requires students to finish the core bar subjects in 2.5 years, and take
elective subjects.

Thesis:
The J.D. program requires you to prepare and defend a thesis. In the L.L.B. program, a
thesis is not always required (its up to the school).

Apprenticeship:
The J.D. program always requires an apprenticeship, while the L.L.B. doesnt always require
one (its up to the school).

(see sources 1, 2 and 3)

Career opportunities for Bachelor of Laws graduates

Jobs for Certified Lawyers (bar exam passers)

The number of lawyers in the Philippines is very low in international comparison.


According to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the official organization of
Filipino lawyers, there are approximately 50,000 attorneys at present. Majority of lawyers
are hired by government agencies, law firms and non-government organizations, while
others turn to private practice after passing the bar examination.
o

Entry Level jobs

Jobs requiring no prior to minimal level of experience:


o

Junior Associate Attorney lawyers who recently passed the bar exam and
work as assistants to senior lawyers in firms

Staff Attorney performs a specialized function such as rule review or the


preparation of annotations for publication

Assistant Corporation Counsel lawyers who work directly for a business or


company; assist in any matter requiring legal knowledge or advice.

Attorney Recruitment Coordinator oversee the process of hiring and


recruiting qualified attorneys at major law firms.

MidLevel Positions

Require trainings and prior job experience of a few years:


o

Private Practice Lawyer work alone in a small office or alongside many


lawyers at a large law firm

Senior Corporate Counsel employed in the legal department of a medium to


large company, and responsible for drafting documents and contracts,
representing the company in legal agreements, and responsible for any matter
requiring legal advice.

Junior Partner in a Law Firm assists the senior partner in preparing


important legal cases and is usually the second counsel during trials.

Corporate Lawyer ensure the legality of commercial transactions, advising


corporations on their legal rights and duties

Tax Lawyer possess strong knowledge of tax laws and issues including
income, property, gift and federal tax.

Senior Legal Counsel responsible for providing quality and timely legal
support and advice: the primary lawyer in major cases

Criminal Defense Attorney also known as criminal defense lawyers and


public defenders, defend individuals, organizations and entities that have been
charged with a crime.

Notary public a public officer appointed by a state government; helps prevent


fraud by witnessing the signing of documents and verifying their authenticity.

Law Professor conduct the law classes according to the college academic
standards and rules.

Civil Rights Attorney an attorney that concentrates on special interest groups


or a specific civil rights issue

Mediator facilitate negotiation and settlement between disputing parties by


providing direction and encouragement, working collaboratively with the parties
and finding creative ways to reach a mutual solution.

Advanced Positions

Require years of extensive experience and practice:


o

Senior Partner in a Law Firm the primary responsibility for managing the
business of the Firm, with particular emphasis on the provision of legal services,
the performance of all partners and other time keepers and financial performance,
client relationships and satisfaction.

Law firm owner a highly tenured lawyer who owns a legal clinic

Law College Dean head of a schools law department

Court Judge preside over cases brought before the court and review legal
briefs, arguments and evidence presented by the defense and the prosecution

Associate Justice second to the highest position in the Supreme Court; votes on
cases, drafts opinions

Attorney General the main legal advisor to the government, and in some
jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law
enforcement, public prosecutions or even ministerial responsibility for legal
affairs

Government Agency head (Supreme Court of the Philippines, Ombudsman,


Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Justice and Court of
Appeals)

Jobs for Non Bar Passers:


o

Paralegal assists lawyers in preparing for trials, hearings and closings

Law Clerk receives and files documents and vital records; maintains all files as
keeper of files and records

Court Reporter provides the verbatim official record of all court testimony and
activity and, when necessary, grand jury proceedings; prepares transcripts of court
proceedings as directed.

Law Librarians analyze legal sources for accuracy and quality; they are responsible
for selecting new books and information resources for the library

Private Investigator find facts and analyze information about legal, financial, and
personal matters; verify people's backgrounds, finding missing persons, and
investigating computer crimes.

Jobs not related to L.L.B. that graduates can apply to


These jobs will mainly depend on the undergraduate course that one has finished or the
existing position that one is holding. For example, an accountant who graduated Bachelor
of Laws may work as an accountant; a teacher may continue teaching and so on.

Career Opportunities Abroad


The law profession is a course distinct from country to country. Every nation has a diverse
set of law governing them thus Filipino lawyers are not in demand abroad. To be able to
practice law abroad you need to study the course and pass the examination in the country of
your choice. However, there are countries like the United States who allow Filipino lawyers
to practice law in their country provided that they are able acquire a certain number of
subject units and pass state US bar examination (See source 1 and source 2).
As employment opportunities for lawyers in the Philippines are excellent and compensation
is fairly high, most Lawyers do not feel the need to go and work in other countries.

Salary Levels

Salary levels for graduates of the L.L.B. program vary greatly. It depends whether you
passed the Philippines Bar Exam and became a registered lawyer, whether you work in a
private law firm, a legal department of a company or in the government sector, your
specialization, experience and abilities.
Generally speaking, salaries for certified lawyers would be quite high compared to the
average salary in the Philippines.

Reviews of Bachelor of Laws graduates:


Read reviews >>

R. S.
Studied Bachelor of laws
at San Beda College , Manila
Graduated: 1992

Why did I choose this course:


Every kid wants to be like their father, As for me my father is also my idol. When I knew that my
father was a lawyer I said " When I grow up I want to be a lawyer just like my dad". That made me
choose Bachelor of laws.

About my college education:


The most difficult part in a bachelor of law student is that you only get limited time of sleep, you can
call yourself lucky if you had a 6 hrs of bed time. When I was in San Beda most of the time I just
stayed at my room studying. I have to forget my vices and sacrifice my social life just for me to have
a pleasant grade. But even though it was concussive I was still eager and determined to finish it.

My current job:
I am now a lawyer and a Philippine Supreme Court professor. I mostly travel to places and give
lectures to professors, lawyers, directors, and judges.

Am I using what I learned in college:


Yes, All the lessons and the knowledge that I have acquired during my college days are being well
applied in my current job as a lawyer. By using the "SOFA" method, having a determined manner,
and always paying attention to what is important made me a great lawyer today.

How long did it take to find a job after graduation:


Back then I wasnt really thinking of getting a job immediately, I was just focusing on graduating. 1
month before my graduation date a family friend was already offering me a job at their law firm. I
could say that It didn't take me too long to look for a job, It felt like the job was looking for me
instead.

Do I recommend studying Bachelor of laws:


Absolutely yes, I'll give reasons why one should take Bachelor of laws and become a lawyer. The
flexibility of work, we lawyers make our own time. Earning / salary potential, lawyers are one of the
highest paid people in legal industry. Working environment, we lawyers don't need to sit inside the
office all day, we can finish our job even by just going outside. And lastly the opportunity to help
people rich/poor with their legal problems.

Advice to people who are thinking of studying this course:


One must be very determined, passionate and a book reader to succeed in this course because the is
no such word as "ENJOY" in taking up bachelor of laws. Always remember SOFA method - Study
ahead, Often do research, Find a quite place, and Always read in advance.

Was this review useful to you? Yes

Read more reviews >>


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