In order to enhance the existing clinical legal education program of the University, the Faculty of Civil Law, sent a delegation of academic staff to different law schools in New York, USA, from September 25 to 30, 2023 in order to explore different clinical legal programs, best practices and current methodologies with the end goal of creating the best clinical legal education program in the country.
The delegation, composed of Judge Rigor R. Pascual, the delegation lead, Judge Madonna C. Echiverri, Judge Sherwin Peter O. Pulayan, Dean Jose I. Dela Rama, Jr., Atty. Floro C. Balato, Jr., Atty. Isaiah O. Asuncion III, and Atty. Al Conrad B. Espaldon, visited five schools, namely, Cardozo Law School, Brooklyn Law School, Fordham Law School, City University of New York – School of Law (CUNY) and New York Law School (NYLS). During their visit to each institution, they were welcomed by the administrators of the respective law schools.
The law schools introduced their respective clinical legal education program and how their program equips their students to become practice-ready and ethical members of the bar by providing real-life clients and simulations that will test not only their knowledge of the law, but also their character. They also shared best practices and current experiential methodologies for the consideration of the delegation. Lastly, the host schools also underscored the importance of the clinical legal education program as it is not only an educational tool but also a tool to promote social justice by providing quality legal services to the community.
In 2019, the Supreme Court of the Philippines promulgated A.M. No. 19-03-24-SC or the Revised Law Student Practice Rule [Rule 138-A] that required all law schools to establish a clinical legal education program which includes the establishment of legal clinics. The rule also makes the completion of the program a prerequisite for a law student to take the bar examination.
In compliance with the said Supreme Court mandate, Dean Nilo T. Divina directed the revision of UST’s Clinical Legal Education Program and the enhancement and upgrade of the existing Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion Legal Aid Clinic.
Aside from the development of the clinical legal education program and the exposure of UST Clinical Law Faculty to current experiential pedagogy and clinical training, the Faculty of Civil Law is currently expanding and upgrading the physical infrastructure of the Legal Aid Clinic that will be at par with international standards that will meet the needs of both the students and the community.