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aBAR MATTER 1153

Philippine Bar Now Open to Filipinos with Foreign Law Degrees


March 23, 2010
By Anna Katrina M. Martinez
The Supreme Court En Banc has recently approved the proposed amendments to
Sections 5 and 6 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, allowing Filipino graduates of
foreign law schools to take the Philippine Bar, subject to certain conditions.
Section 5 of the Rule now provides that before being admitted to the examination,
all applicants for admission to the bar shall satisfactorily show that they have
successfully completed all the prescribed courses for the degree of Bachelor of Laws
or its equivalent degree in a law school or university officially recognized by the
Philippine Government or by the proper authority in the foreign jurisdiction where
the degree has been granted.
Section 5 now also provides that a Filipino citizen who graduated from a foreign law
school shall be admitted to the bar examination only upon submission to the
Supreme Court of certifications showing: (a) completion of all courses leading to the
degree of Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent degree; (b) recognition or accreditation
of the law school by the proper authority; and (c) completion of all fourth year
subjects in the Bachelor of Laws academic program in a law school duly recognized
by the Philippine Government.
SEC. 6.Pre-Law. An applicant for admission to the bar examination shall present a
certificate issued by the proper government agency that, before commencing the
study of law, he or she had pursued and satisfactorily completed in an authorized
and recognized university or college, requiring for admission thereto the completion
of a four-year high school course, the course of study prescribed therein for a
bachelor's degree in arts or sciences.
A Filipino citizen who completed and obtained his or her degree in Bachelor of Laws
or its equivalent in a foreign law school must also present proof of completion of a
separate bachelors degree.
The Supreme Court has directed the Clerk of Court, through the Office of the Bar
Confidant, to circularize its resolution approving the said amendments among all
law schools in the country. (Bar Matter No. 1153, Re: Letter of Atty. Estelito P.
Mendoza Proposing Reforms in the Bar Examinations through Amendments to Rule
138 of the Rules of Court, March 9, 2010)
RULE 138
Attorneys and Admission to Bar

Section 1.
Who may practice law. Any person heretofore duly admitted as a
member of the bar, or hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions
of this rule, and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.
Section 2.
Requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar. Every
applicant for admission as a member of the bar must be a citizen of the Philippines,
at least twenty-one years of age, of good moral character, and resident of the
Philippines; and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of
good moral character, and that no charges against him, involving moral turpitude,
have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines.
Section 3.
Requirements for lawyers who are citizens of the United States of
America. Citizens of the United States of America who, before July 4, 1946, were
duly licensed members of the Philippine Bar, in active practice in the courts of the
Philippines and in good and regular standing as such may, upon satisfactory proof of
those facts before the Supreme Court, be allowed to continue such practice after
taking the following oath of office:

I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ., having been permitted to continue in the


practice of law in the Philippines, do solemnly swear that I recognize the supreme
authority of the Republic of the Philippines; I will support its Constitution and obey
the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will
do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; I will not wittingly or
willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit, nor give aid nor
consent to the same; I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct
myself as a lawyer according to the best of may knowledge and discretion with all
good fidelity as well as to the courts as to my clients; and I impose upon myself this
voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help
me God.
Section 4.
Requirements for applicants from other jurisdictions. Applicants for
admission who, being Filipino citizens, are enrolled attorneys in good standing in the
Supreme Court of the United States or in any circuit court of appeals or district court
therein, or in the highest court of any State or Territory of the United States, and
who can show by satisfactory certificates that they have practiced at least five
years in any of said courts, that such practice began before July 4, 1946, and that
they have never been suspended or disbarred, may, in the discretion of the Court,
be admitted without examination.
Section 5.
Additional requirements for other applicants. All applicants for
admission other than those referred to in the two preceding section shall, before
being admitted to the examination, satisfactorily show that they have regularly

studied law for four years, and successfully completed all prescribed courses, in a
law school or university, officially approved and recognized by the Secretary of
Education. The affidavit of the candidate, accompanied by a certificate from the
university or school of law, shall be filed as evidence of such facts, and further
evidence may be required by the court.
No applicant shall be admitted to the bar examinations unless he has satisfactorily
completed the following courses in a law school or university duly recognized by the
government: civil law, commercial law, remedial law, criminal law, public and
private international law, political law, labor and social legislation, medical
jurisprudence, taxation and legal ethics.
Section 6.
Pre-Law. No applicant for admission to the bar examination shall be
admitted unless he presents a certificate that he has satisfied the Secretary of
Education that, before he began the study of law, he had pursued and satisfactorily
completed in an authorized and recognized university or college, requiring for
admission thereto the completion of a four-year high school course, the course of
study prescribed therein for a bachelor's degree in arts or sciences with any of the
following subjects as major or field of concentration: political science, logic, english,
spanish, history and economics.