University of Saint La Salle Welcomes Its First Batch of Law Student Practitioners

The pioneer batch of law student practitioners of USLS with Law Dean Rosanne Gonzag

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

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.

USLS Law Center Director Johnnil Fatima Acero

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 Raymond Joseph Javier of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)

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 Negros Occidental Chapter President Josephine Natalaray

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:

  1. ABALAJON, Laila Marie Posadas                                       
  2. BARTOLOME, Joevel Asigurado                                        
  3. BE, Stephanie Anne Coo                                                       
  4. BELLO, Mikail Lee Rosales                                                 
  5. BONGCO, Lotus Mae Gayanilo                                           
  6. CHIN, Christien Derrick Rosario                                          
  7. COSTINIANO, Ernalin Garanganao                                    
  8. DIAZ, Gabrielle Martina Lizares                                          
  9. DIGNOS, Laisha Marie Vergara                                           
  10. DIOCARES, Febe Ruth Redil                                               
  11. ENCARNACION, Mitzi Caryl Tolimao                               
  12. GAMO, John Emmer Sulit                                                    
  13. GO, Richthofen Jrich Alipala                                                
  14. GROMEA, Jarre Villarta                                                      
  15. GUANZON, Joan Pauline Genogaling                                 
  16. HIGGINS, Ma. Isabel Elumba                                              
  17. LACSON, Gabriel Christian Jo                                             
  18. LAPORE, Zairo Delgado                                                      
  19. MATTI, Vanessa Joy Gustilo                                                
  20. OMANDAC, Reynaldo Jr. Arsenio                                       
  21. ONGSUCO, Anne Mary Louise Lobusta                              
  22. ORBISTA, Bobby Rommel Jr. Salondaguit                         
  23. PABON, Justin Eric Teovisio                                               
  24. PANDAN, Ralph Chrisol Ramos                                          
  25. PELLANO, Sasha Raisa Nuñeza                                          
  26. RESULA, Ricca Joy Mercurio                                              
  27. ROA, Keziah Joy Canlas                                                       
  28. ROSALES, Jose Maria II Decena                                         
  29. SANCHEZ, Nelie France Suerto                                           
  30. SANTIAGO, May Hope Diotay                                            
  31. SENADRE, Crystine Jaye Nodado                                       
  32. SOCUACO, Lea Dessa Alagos                                             
  33. 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.

The USLS Law Student Practitioners with Law Dean Rosanne Gonzaga and RTC Executive Judge Raymond Joseph Javier and IBP Negros Occidental Chapter Officers

Written by Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue with Dean Rosanne Gonzaga