UP Law dean: It’s time to change the bar exams

The curriculum of the UP College of Law has shifted to be at par with other law schools abroad--it has become more practice-oriented instead of bar-oriented

UP Law Dean Danilo Concepcion: Bar exams in the Philippines should respond to changing times

MANILA, Philippines – Not a single graduate from the UP College of Law made it to the list of Top 10 bar topnotchers for 2011.

In 2010, 4 UP graduates were part of the list. This is not a major concern for newly-installed UP law dean Danilo Concepcion, however, for as much as he wants UP law students to become topnotchers, his primary concern is for UP Law College to reach a 100% passing rate.  

Concepcion said that for this happen, the coverage of the bar exam has to change.

Concepcion said the curriculum of the UP College of Law has shifted to be at par with other law schools abroad — it has become more practice-oriented instead of bar-oriented. New subjects were added such as commercial law, while other core subjects like Political Law Review and Criminal Law Review were made electives. 

“We changed our curriculum so that our students could be prepared to practice law in the present times,” he said at a testimonial dinner organized by the Upsilon fraternity on February 27. 

While their curriculum has changed, the coverage of the bar exams remains the same, however. “It’s only in the Philippines where all subjects taught are included in the bar exams. In the United States, only basic courses are covered,” he said.

He added that specialized courses such as taxation should no longer be included in the bar exams. Instead, students should undergo a separate set of tests from different specialist boards. Concepcion likens this to medicine, where doctors acquire a basic license, then pursue specialization.

Concepcion said that he will try his best to get the support of the Philippine Association of Law Schools to petition the Supreme Court to change the bar exams.

More UP law students

Concepcion said UP Law will also expand to give more aspiring Filipino lawyers the chance to study in the university. The first step is to add more classrooms. Concepcion said he found out that many classrooms in Malcom Hall have been converted into faculty offices.

With a P10-M donation from Sen Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a new 2-story faculty building with 12 offices will be constructed. Once this is done, some faculty offices could be reverted back into classrooms for UP law students. Concepcion said they will add one section of 40 students next schoolyear.

A UP Law College in Taguig will also be opened in 2 years in order to accommodate students who are also working professionals. – Rappler.com

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