The University of Saint La Salle (USLS) – Bacolod unveiled its program for legal aid services by Law Student Practitioners (LSP) in the presence of Executive Judge Raymond Joseph Javier of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) and the Officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) – Negros Occidental Chapter. A total of thirty-three (33) LSPs are undergoing training and capacity-building this year as part of the Clinical Legal Education and Legal Aid Program of the USLS Law Center (ULC) under the university’s College of Law.
The Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP) is mandated by the Revised Rule 138-A or the Revised Law Student Practice Rule as provided in the Rules of Court. Last November 19, 2021, 33 Juris Doctor (JD) students of USLS took their oath of office as LSPs administered by RTC Executive Judge Joseph Raymond Javier. These law students currently possess a Level 1 Certification allowing a limited practice of law under the guidance of accredited supervising lawyers.
USLS Law Dean Rosanne Gonzaga says the program focuses on the shared responsibility of the law school and the volunteer supervising lawyers to assist students in developing the skills and values required for practice-ready and ethical lawyers wherein the lessons learned in the classroom are translated into meaningful and life-changing action in the real world.
The CLEP is an experiential, interactive and reflective credit-earning course in the JD curriculum with the objectives of providing law students with practical knowledge, skills and values necessary for the application of law, and the delivery of legal services aimed at promoting social justice and public interest, especially to the marginalized and underserved sector of our community, while inculcating the values of ethical lawyering and public service.
The learning activities covered by Rule 138-A shall be carried out in two ways, first, through the USLS Law Center, and second, through an externship program with the Courts, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), government offices and agencies, and school-recognized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide legal services to its clients.
Lawyer and ULC Director Johnnil Fatima Acero, an alumna of the USLS College of Law, shared the a brief explanation of the basic legal services which may be offered by certified LSPs and also named the first batch of supervising lawyers to include Jocelle Batapa Sigue (Clinical Professor), Leanne Mari Torrato, Hazelmer Fernandez and Bebelan Madera.
Executive Judge Javier welcomed this development and congratulated the USLS College of Law for its effort in addressing the need for accessible legal services and recognizes the USLS Law Center’s vital role in contributing to the administration of justice.
IBP President Josephine Natalaray said that the Office of Legal Aid is willing to provide training and assistance to LSPs to promote practice-based learning and to expose them to pro bono cases and other advocacies of the IBP.
The launching ceremony was witness by USLS Br. Normady Dujunco FSC, Vice Chancellor for Mission and Development, members of the Judiciary and court staff, Officers and members of the IBP, colleagues in the legal profession and civilian members of the community present.
Pursuant to Sections 5 and 9 (c) of Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, the following law students have been granted for Level 1 Certification:
- ABALAJON, Laila Marie Posadas
- BARTOLOME, Joevel Asigurado
- BE, Stephanie Anne Coo
- BELLO, Mikail Lee Rosales
- BONGCO, Lotus Mae Gayanilo
- CHIN, Christien Derrick Rosario
- COSTINIANO, Ernalin Garanganao
- DIAZ, Gabrielle Martina Lizares
- DIGNOS, Laisha Marie Vergara
- DIOCARES, Febe Ruth Redil
- ENCARNACION, Mitzi Caryl Tolimao
- GAMO, John Emmer Sulit
- GO, Richthofen Jrich Alipala
- GROMEA, Jarre Villarta
- GUANZON, Joan Pauline Genogaling
- HIGGINS, Ma. Isabel Elumba
- LACSON, Gabriel Christian Jo
- LAPORE, Zairo Delgado
- MATTI, Vanessa Joy Gustilo
- OMANDAC, Reynaldo Jr. Arsenio
- ONGSUCO, Anne Mary Louise Lobusta
- ORBISTA, Bobby Rommel Jr. Salondaguit
- PABON, Justin Eric Teovisio
- PANDAN, Ralph Chrisol Ramos
- PELLANO, Sasha Raisa Nuñeza
- RESULA, Ricca Joy Mercurio
- ROA, Keziah Joy Canlas
- ROSALES, Jose Maria II Decena
- SANCHEZ, Nelie France Suerto
- SANTIAGO, May Hope Diotay
- SENADRE, Crystine Jaye Nodado
- SOCUACO, Lea Dessa Alagos
- SUELO, Jan Jireh Palo
Subject to the supervision and approval, of a supervising lawyer, a certified law student practitioner under Level 1 certification may:
(1) Interview prospective clients;
(2) Give legal advice to the client;
(3) Negotiate for and on behalf of the client;
(4) Draft legal documents such as affidavits, compromise agreements, contracts, demand letter, position papers, and the like;
(5) Represent eligible parties before quasi-judicial or administrative bodies;
(6) Provide public legal orientation; and
(7) Assist in public interest advocacies for policy formulation and implementation.
Written By Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue with Dean Rosanne Gonzaga/February 15, 2022