On June 25, 2019, the Supreme Court en banc promulgated Administrative Matter No. 19-03-24-SC to provide guidelines for Law Student Practice in the country in order to ensure access to justice of the marginalized sectors, enhance learning opportunities of law students, instill among them the value of legal professional social responsibility and prepare them for the practice of law. Pursuant to the rule on Law Student Practice, Juris Doctor students of Isabela State University College of Law have secured certification and have taken their oath as law student practitioners which allow them, under the guidance and supervision of a bona fide member of the Bar, for externship or to perform legal work for the poor and marginalized sectors as well as the promotion of social justice and public interest.
The Rule on Law Student Practice likewise mandates all law schools in the Philippines to adopt and develop a Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP) in order to enhance, improve and streamline law student practice with the ultimate goal of producing practice-ready lawyers. CLEP is an experiential, interactive and reflective program that aims to provide law students with practical knowledge, skills and values necessary for the application of the law, delivery of legal services and promotion of social justice and public interest, especially to the marginalized, while inculcating in the students the values of ethical lawyering and public service.
Before law students are permitted to engage in any of the activities under the CLEP, they must secure certification which are categorized as Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 certification is given to law students who have successfully completed their first year law courses. Level 2 certification, on the other hand, are granted to law students who are enrolled for the second semester of their third year law courses. Those granted with Level 1 certification are allowed to carry out legal activities such as conducting interview of prospective client, giving legal advice, negotiating for and on behalf of the client, drafting legal documents such as affidavits, compromise agreements, contracts, demand letter, position papers, and the like, representing eligible parties before quasi-judicial or administrative bodies, providing public legal orientation, and assisting in public interest advocacies for policy formulation and implementation.
Those accredited under Level 2 certification, on the other hand, are permitted to perform, on top of those allowed under Level 1 certification, legal activities such as to assist in the taking of depositions and/or preparing judicial affidavits of witnesses, appear on behalf of the client at any stage of the proceedings or trial, before any court, quasi-judicial or administrative body, in criminal cases, subject to the provisions of Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, appear on behalf of a government agency in the prosecution of criminal actions, and in appealed cases, and to prepare the pleadings required in the case.
Isabela State University College of Law – Cauayan City adhered to the mandate and the provisions of the Rule on Law Student Practice by establishing the Clinical Legal Education Program and forging a Memorandum of Agreement with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Isabela Chapter. It has also entered into informal partnership with other institutions providing free legal aid such as the Public Attorney’s Office Cauayan City, Isabela District. (Download Report)