At least P1 million a year for two years will be granted to qualified law schools in their clinical legal education program (CLEP) by the Governance in Justice Programme (GOJUST), a European Union-assisted project in the Philippines.
A statement issued by the Supreme Court’s (SC) public information office (PIO) said that the funding is open to both public and private law schools, whether stock or non-stock corporations, and to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that can manage the funds for the law schools.
The PIO said interested parties may submit their proposal development training using the template of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Details and links to all related documents may be accessed at https://www.ungm.org/Public/Notice/147767.
They may also email [email protected] so that UNOPS can send them the soft copy of the pertinent documents should they encounter difficulty in downloading the same in the said link, it also said.
In 2019, the SC adopted the Revised Law Student Practice Rule which provides that a law student must be certified to be able to engage in the limited practice of law.
Early in 2021, the SC also adopted the Guidelines on the Externship Program in Court of Law Student Practitioners which allow externship in courts as a means of complying with the CLEP of a law school.
Last Oct. 14, the Legal Education Board (LEB) launched its Revised Model Law Curriculum (RMLC) and its CLEP website. The RMLC aims to modernize the law curriculum, while the CLEP website is a portal for all relevant information and resource materials on CLEP and on the Revised Rule.
Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo lauded as “historic” the RMLC and CLEP website’s launch as he expressed optimism that the country’s law students will now be practice-ready with the introduction of a modernized legal education that is “primarily student- and society-centered.”
Among the key changes in the RMLC are the reduction of the total minimum academic load required of law students, the rationalization of mandated courses, which removes the emphasis on bar review and focuses instead on ensuring that bar candidates are given updates and ample amount of coaching, introduction of procedural law subjects in the First Year Law curriculum, full integration of clinical legal education in the curriculum.
Under RMLC, legal education in the country will now be focused on “practice-readiness” by law students instead of concentration on passing the bar examinations.
Gesmundo said that the “bar-centricity,” or the focus on passing the bar instead of on practice-readiness, has been the root of the problem of “the terrible attrition rates in the Philippine Bar Examinations.”
He said the RMLC “is a decisive step away from bar-centricity….”
“I hope that everyone in the legal education community understands the significance of the adoption of the Revised Model Curriculum: this is the Philippine legal education community taking a stand and sending an unequivocal message that, henceforth, legal education will be primarily student- and society-centered, as it should be,” he said.
“Passing the bar examination will be THE RESULT of implementing the Revised Model Curriculum, rather than THE OBJECT,” he stressed.