The University of the Philippines College of Law (often referred to as UP Law) is the law school of the University of the Philippines. Formally established in 1911, it is the third oldest continually-operating law school in the Philippines and is generally considered to be one of the most prestigious in the country. Since 1948, it has been located in UP Diliman in Quezon City, the flagship campus of UP's eight constituent universities. Until the 1970s, night classes of the college were conducted in UP Manila. Beginning in 2016, classes are also being held at the UP Bonifacio Global City campus in Taguig.
UP Law graduated many leading figures in the country's political history, including former Philippine presidents Manuel A. Roxas, José P. Laurel, Elpidio Quirino, and Ferdinand E. Marcos, as well as prominent jurists such as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno, former chief justices Reynato S. Puno, Hilario Davide, Jr., Marcelo B. Fernan, Ramon Aquino, Felix V. Makasiar, Enrique M. Fernando, Fred Ruiz Castro, César Bengzon, Ricardo Paras, and José Yulo.
|University of the Philippines College of Law|
|Parent school||University of the Philippines Diliman|
|Location||Malcolm Hall, Osmeña Avenue, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines|
|Bar pass rate||73.71% (2012-2014)
It was George Malcolm who had first proposed the establishment of the College of Law within the University of the Philippines system. However, the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines had initially resisted the proposal. Malcolm thus arranged for the Manila YMCA to offer law courses, which commenced in 1910. Malcolm acted as the Secretary of these law courses. Within a year, the Board of Regents relented and the University of the Philippines adopted these classes by formally establishing the College of Law on January 12, 1911. The college was formally opened in with fifty (50) Filipino and American students.
Justice Sherman Moreland of the Philippine Supreme Court, the first acting Dean of the college, eventually declined to take on the position full-time. He was thus replaced by Malcolm, who served until his appointment as an Associate Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court in 1917.
In 1964, the University of the Philippines Law Center was established as an agency attached to the college of law, the University of the Philippines Law Center was created to conduct continuing legal education programs, as well as legal research and publications.
In the 1960s up to the 1980s, the four-year law program consisted of one-hundred-twenty-two (122) units which emphasize the eight bar subjects listed in the Revised Rules of Court: civil law, criminal law, remedial law, legal ethics and legal forms, commercial law, political law, tax law, labor law, public corporation and public officers, and international law. The program also included non-bar subjects such as legal history, legal bibliography, statutory construction, jurisprudence, trial techniques, thesis and legal research, legal medicine, and practice court. In addition to Philippine laws and jurisprudence, foreign legal materials from Spain, the United States and other Asian countries were integrated into the curriculum. Students were introduced to basic principles of Roman civil law, English common law, and other international legal systems.
In 1988, the college launched a core-elective curriculum, permitting law students to enroll up to twenty (20) percent of their total academic load for elective subjects. The effort was made to incorporate specializations in legal education. In 1989, the college followed a revised model law curriculum adopted by the Philippine Department of Education. The program composed of 51 subjects (124 academic units) which took effect in 1990. It offered additional non-bar subjects such as legal profession, legal ethics, legal counselling, legal research, and legal writing.
The College first conferred the Juris Doctor (J.D.) on its April 2008 graduates, after a change in degree title was approved by the U.P. administration the previous year. Like the majority of law schools in the country, U.P. used to provide the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), a standard four-year law program covering all subjects in the bar exams, until the change to J.D. was made in order to reflect more accurately the U.P. law program being a "professional as well as a post baccalaureate degree." In the past, the College also offered the Master of Laws program.
Through the Law Center, the College conducts Mandatory Continuing Legal Education programs for the members of the Philippine Bar, consisting of a series of seminars on various aspects of the legal and judicial profession offered throughout the year. The College also hosts various conferences, fora, colloquia and workshops, which serve as formal and informal channels of communication, information, and education provided by the University of the Philippines Law Center.
At an average of 8%, the College has the lowest admission rate among Philippine law schools. The criteria for admissions include the aggregate of weights assigned to an applicant’s scores in the Law Aptitude Examination and undergraduate General Weighted Average (GWA), in addition to the scores obtained during an interview with the admissions committee composed of faculty members.
The main offices and classrooms of the college are located inside Malcolm Hall within the U.P. Diliman Campus in Quezon City. The building is named after Associate Justice George Malcolm, who in 1911 became the first permanent dean of the college. The building itself, one of the oldest in the Diliman campus, was designed by the noted architect Juan M. Arellano. It was built under the supervision of the construction firm Pedro Siochi and Company. It was erected shortly before the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II, but it was only after the University of the Philippines transferred its main campus to Diliman in 1948 that Malcolm Hall was actually used. During the deanship of Raul Pangalangan from 2000 to 2005, extensive efforts were made to renovate and modernize the facilities of Malcolm Hall.
Malcolm Hall also houses the University of the Philippines Law Library, formally known as Espiritu Hall. It the largest academic law library in the country. It contains the largest and most up-to-date collection of Philippine legal materials as well as foreign statute and case books and various law journals. The library is open to U.P. law students and professors. It is also available to non-UP law students subject to proper identification and payment of library service fees.
Several of the classrooms in Malcolm Hall are named after prominent graduates and faculty members, such as Ambrosio Padilla, Bienvenido Ambion, and Violeta Calvo-Drilon—in the latter case, creating some controversy, given the involvement of the deceased in an Integrated Bar of the Philippines election scandal that ultimately needed the involvement of the Philippine Supreme Court. There is also an airconditioned moot court resembling the trial courts in the Philippines, a student lounge and an auditorium. Fronting the auditorium is the main lobby of Malcolm Hall. On its walls are inscribed a quotation from the American Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. –
|“||THE BUSINESS OF A LAW SCHOOL IS NOT SUFFICIENTLY DESCRIBED WHEN YOU MERELY SAY THAT IT IS TO TEACH LAW OR TO MAKE LAWYERS. IT IS TO TEACH LAW IN THE GRAND MANNER, AND TO MAKE GREAT LAWYERS. – HOLMES||”|
A historical marker was unveiled at the façade of Malcolm Hall of the UP College of Law (CL), on January 11 as part of the college’s centennial celebrations. In his letter to the NHC, CL dean Danilo L. Concepcion said that the marker was installed to “inscribe in stone” the “significance and impact of the U.P. College of Law to our country’s history as a nation.” Malcolm Hall is among the oldest buildings in the Philippines, designed by renowned architect Juan M. Arellano and built before the Japanese invasion by the engineering firm Pedro Siochi and Company. 
Adjacent to Malcolm Hall is Bocobo Hall, which houses the University of the Philippines Law Center. The Law Center was established in 1964 as an agency attached to the College of Law, for the purpose of conducting continuing legal education programs, as well as legal research and publications. The Law Center is the university center for legal publishing, legal research, and law conferences. It is composed of 4 Institutes, namely, the Institute of Government and Law Reform, the Institute of Human Rights, the Institute of International Legal Studies, and the Institute of Judicial Administration. The Law Center also hosts the offices of the Office of the National Administrative Registrar, an agency of the Philippine government which registers all national government statutes and issuances.
To "popularize" the law, the Law Center conducts programs in legal literacy and street law ("practical law") in cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), student organizations, and the local barangays. Extension programs happen in the form of barangay legal education seminars to reach the grassroots level.
Thirteen Chief Justices of the Philippine Supreme Court are alumni of the College, namely: José Yulo, Ricardo Paras, César Bengzon, Querube Makalintal, Fred Ruiz Castro, Enrique Fernando, Felix Makasiar, Ramon Aquino, Pedro Yap, Marcelo Fernan, Hilario Davide, Jr., Reynato Puno, and Maria Lourdes Sereno. In addition, 75 graduates of the College have been appointed as Associate Justices of the High Court.
Eight incumbent Senators from the 14th Congress of the Philippines are graduates of the College. They are Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Francis Escudero, Richard Gordon, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel III and Juan Ponce Enrile.
Many other leading political and legal figures in the Philippines are graduates of the U.P. College of Law. Among them are César Bengzon and Raul C. Pangalangan, the only Filipinos who have been elected to the Internatioanl Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, respectively, which are permanent internatioanl courts based in The Hague. For a partial listing of notable alumni, see List of University of the Philippines College of Law alumni.
The college is home to several student organizations. The Philippine Law Journal, first published in 1914, is the official law review of the College. The Law Student Government is the official student government of the College. Under its auspices is the Academic Reforms Commission, an independent body that represents the students in the formulation and implementation of academic and administrative policies and regulations. The Bar Operations Commission is an independent constitutional body created in Feb 2009 that handles the holistic support system the college provides its bar candidates during the bar season.
Among the student-organized organizations in the College are the Schola Juris Vespertina, composed of evening students, UP Women in Law, composed of female law students, and the Paralegal Volunteers Organization, composed of student volunteers who perform paralegal work for underprivileged and under-represented sectors of society.
Several fraternities and sororities operate within the College. The UP Delta Lambda Sigma Sorority, the UP Portia Sorority, Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity, and the Sigma Rho Fraternity. Each of these groups can boast of prominent alumni of the College as among its members. To gain membership, candidates must undergo initiation rites to determine a candidate's emotional stability, physical endurance, and mental capacity.
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