Frequently Asked Questions

REVISED RULE 138-A – LAW STUDENT PRACTICE RULE

 

  • 1. Why is there a need to amend Rule 138-A?
    The amendment to Rule 138-A was borne out of the recognition of the reality that the sheer number of vulnerable Filipinos is staggering and the legal aid needs of the marginalized, is overwhelming. The law schools can very well provide legal services to the underserved. On the other hand, law students learn many of the important lawyering skills only by the actual application of their learning in the classroom and through interactions with actual clients. Thus, affording the law students the opportunity for experiential learning will enable them to learn the law and make them practice- ready, while serving the community.
     
  • SECTION 1

  • 1. What is the difference between the practice of law of Lawyers and Law Student Practitioners?
    The practice of law of Student Practitioners is subject to the limitations provided under Rule 138-A.

  • 2. What are the bases of the limitations of the Law Student Practice?
    The limitations are based on the conditions imposed by the Rule, area of practice, and the conditions for certification level.

  • SECTION 2

  • 1. Is externship the same as internship?
    No. Externships are activities are held outside of law school campus whereas Internships are activities done in the law school’s clinic.

  • 2. Where may externships be done?
    Externships may be done in courts, IBP offices, government offices and
    law school recognized NGOs, except private law offices. Law students
    can still do externship in the private law offices but the same will not be
    credited under the Program.

  • 3. Why are private law offices excluded in the permitted areas of externship?
    Private law offices are excluded because the objective of Rule 138-A is to promote social justice and public interest, especially to the marginalized while inculcating in the law students not only the value of ethical lawyering but also public service.

  • 4. Is CLEP a stand alone course?
    Yes, it is a stand alone course. However, and in the interim that the law school curriculum is undergoing revision, existing courses may be credited as compliance with the CLEP, e.g. Practice Court, Legal Counselling and Social Responsibility, Summer Apprenticeship Program.

  • 5. What existing courses may be replaced by CLEP?
    For JD Non-thesis, examples of courses that may be replaced are Legal Counselling and Social Responsibility, Practice Court I or Practicum. For JD With Thesis, Practice Court I and II and Summer Apprenticeship.

  • 6. Can CLEP be embedded or integrated into an existing course?
    In the interim, and while the law curriculum is undergoing revision, yes.

  • 7. What existing courses may CLEP be embedded in the interim?
    For both JD Non-thesis and JD with Thesis, CLEP may be embedded in Natural Resources and Environmental Law, Human Rights Law, Agrarian Law and Social Legislation, Legal Forms, and in Remedial Law courses such as Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Special Proceedings.

  • 8. Is CLEP similar to practice court, trial techniques, and the like?
    No. Unlike Practice Court or Trial Techniques, CLEP may be done in a law clinic or in an externship, and it has two components: clinic and classroom.

  • 9. Does CLEP only cater to marginalized clients?
    No. CLEP may be extended to other clients as long as the rendition of service promotes public service and social justice. Thus, for example, CLEP may be extended to local government units.

  • 10. What are the components of a Clinical Legal Education Program?
    Essentially, CLEP involves experiential learning. Thus, CLEP has two components: a clinic and a classroom. The clinic is where practical skills and experiences are acquired, while the classroom component is where application of legal theories and techniques is taught and the practical experiences acquired whether in externship or the law clinics are shared, processed, and documented.

  • 11. Can an existing clinic continue to operate under CLEP?
    Yes, subject to the compliance of the requirements under the Rule. For instance, the law student needs to secure certification before they can undertake the activities under the Program.

  • 12. Is it mandatory to have a physical office for the law clinic?
    Yes. However, in the interim, existing law school facilities may be used to perform the basic functions and deliver the basic services of a law clinic

  • 13. Is the Law School required to hire/appoint a Supervising Lawyer?
    Yes. He/ she may or may not be a member of the faculty of the law school.

  • SECTION 3

  • 1. Is the first year law student eligible to engage in the limited practice of law?
    No. The student must have successfully completed all the first year courses offered by the law school.

  • 2. Who can obtain a level 1 certification?
    Those who meet the qualifications under Section 3 of Rule 138-A. Law students who have successfully completed their first-year law courses can apply for the level 1 certification.

  • 3. When can you apply for a level 2 certification? Who are eligible to apply?
    Those who meet the qualifications under Section 3 of Rule 138-A and have successfully completed all the courses required during the first, second, and third-year law courses of the law school.
    Thus, the law school must see to it that the student is enrolled in all courses required in the second semester of the third year, and the Certification will be used only upon completion of all the requisite courses. In this regard, it is advisable for the Level 2 Certification to be applied for towards the end of the second semester.

  • 4. When can you practice under a Level 2 Certification?
    As soon as one obtains the Level 2 certification and is enrolled in the CLEP Course.

  • 5. When can a Level 2 Certification be automatically revoked?
    If the student fails to successfully complete all of the first, second and third year courses, the level 2 certification is automatically revoked.

  • 6. Is Level 1 Certification a prerequisite for Level 2 Certification?
    No. A law school may offer CLEP only under Level 1 Certification, only under Level 2 Certification, or both.

  • 7. How long is the effectivity of a certification issued in favor of a law student practitioner, regardless if it is a level 1 or 2 certification?
    The certification shall be valid until the student has completed the required number of courses in the clinical legal education program unless sooner revoked for grounds stated under the rule.

  • SECTION 4

  • 1. Does a Law Student Practitioner need to perform all the practice areas enumerated under Section 4 for Level 1 and 2 Certifications?
    No. A Law Student Practitioner may engage in any one of the practice areas enumerated.

  • 2. What is meant by the phrase to ‘negotiate for and on behalf of the client’ under the practice areas enumerated in Level 1 Certification?
    The term “negotiate for and on behalf of the client” is to be understood in its generic sense. The ultimate objective is to develop skills for alternative dispute resolution.

  • 3. Does the supervision of a Supervising Lawyer entail actual physical presence during the performance of any of the activities enumerated?
    A Supervising Lawyer should personally appear with the Law Student Practitioner in all cases pending before the second-level courts, whenever his presence is required by the judge in first-level courts and in all other cases when the Supervising Lawyer determines that his or her presence is required. In all activities undertaken by the Law Student Practitioner, a review by the supervising lawyer of the work done by the student is mandatory.

  • 4. Do the activities in Level 2 Certification No. 5 include pleadings before the CA, CTA, Sandiganbayan, and the Supreme Court?
    Appearance before collegiate court is subject to leave of court.

  • 5. How may working students comply with the requirements of the program?
    While some CLEP activities are done in courts, there are CLEP activities that may be done after office hours and during weekends, such as but not limited to public education and advocacy, client interviewing and drafting of affidavits and the like.

  • 6. Can the law student practitioner engage in legal activities nationwide?
    No. The law student practitioner shall only be allowed to practice law within the region of the Executive Judge who issued the
    certification.
    For example, a law student practitioner enrolled in University of the Philippines – Diliman shall apply for a certification with the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, and upon issuance of said certification, the law student practitioner may perform the allowable activities based on the certification issued within the National Capital Judicial Region only.

  • SECTION 5

  • 1. How much does it cost to apply for a certification?
    The fee for the certification is Two Hundred Pesos (P200.00) as provided under Rule 141, Section 21 (l) as amended.

  • 2. Should the law school endorse the student application for certification individually?
    The school as far as practicable should submit the applications by batch.

  • 3. Where shall the applications be submitted?
    For both Certifications, applications shall be submitted to the Office of the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the territory where the law school is located.

  • 4. Who shall approve and issue level certifications?
    For certification level 1, it is the Executive judge of the RTC having jurisdiction where the law school is located who has the authority to approve and issue the said certification.
    For certification level 2, the Executive judge of the RTC having jurisdiction where the law school is located shall recommend to the appropriate Deputy Court Administrator for the approval and issuance of the certification (A.O. No. 132-2019 dated June 25, 2019).

  • SECTION 6

  • 1. What is the difference between the duties imposed upon a lawyer and a Law Student Practitioner?
    None. They have the same duties and obligations under the Code of Professional Responsibility.

  • SECTION 7

  • 1. Can the law student practitioner sign using an alias or initials?
    No. The law student practitioner must sign using his/her name as appearing in the school records and in the Certificate. He/She must also cite his/her Certification Number in every pleading or motion filed.

  • SECTION 8

  • 1. When may a Law Student Practitioner take the oath?
    Upon proper coordination with the law school and the Office of the Executive Judge, a Law Student Practitioner may take the oath as soon as a certificate is issued but before performing any of the activities allowed in the Student Practice Rule.

  • 2. Can the law student practitioner take the oath before any person other than the Executive Judge who issued the certification?
    No, to ensure that the Executive Judge has control over the issuance of the certification.

  • SECTION 9

  • 1. How many units/hours should be given to CLEP?
    In the interim that the law curriculum is being revised, the existing prescribed two (2) CLEP units by LEB may be adopted, as provided under LEB Memorandum Order No. 1, Series of 2011.

  • 2. Who shoulders the expenses incurred for the operation of the Clinical Legal Education Program?
    The law school should shoulder the expense. It may source the funds for its Program from tuition fees and/or grants. Nothing, however, prevents the law school from asking clients to defray the actual expenses related to the handling of the case such as filing fees, TSN, mailing expenses, or those expenses not relating to the operation of the Program itself.

  • 3. Is there a maximum number of law clinics that a law school can establish?
    None.

  • 4. Are law clinics required to specialize?
    No.

  • 5. Is it required for the school to have a clinical legal education program head or director?
    Yes. A law school, however, may designate any of the current members of its faculty as CLEP director or program head.

  • 6. Is the applicant required to submit a certificate of good moral character for his/her certification?
    The endorsement of the law dean serves as the certification of the law school that the student applicant possesses good moral character. Nothing, however, prevents the law dean from requiring the student applicant of proof of good moral character as a precondition for endorsement.

  • 7. Is there a need to accredit law clinics?
    Since CLEP is mandatory in all law schools, law clinics need not obtain any accreditation.

  • SECTION 10

  • 1. Is there a required number of years in practice for Supervising Lawyers?
    None. However, the law school in the exercise of its academic freedom may impose additional qualifications for its supervising lawyers.

  • 2. Can Supervising Lawyers supervise students from two or more law clinics?
    Yes, as long as he/ she can competently supervise and there is no conflict of interest.

  • 3. How many students practitioners can a supervising lawyer handle at any given semester?
    A Supervising Lawyer may handle as many Law Student Practitioners as s/he can competently supervise.

  • SECTION 11

  • 1. What is the nature of the liability of a supervising lawyer in case of negligence?
    A Supervising Lawyer assumes personal professional responsibility for any work performed by Law Student Practitioners under his/ her supervision, in accordance with the Code of Professional Responsibility, pertinent laws, and jurisprudence.

  • SECTION 12

  • 1. What is the difference between a podium law professor and clinical law professor?
    A podium law professor teaches substantive and procedural law, while a clinical law professor teaches practical skills and processes the practical experiences acquired by the law student practitioners in externship or in the law clinics.

  • 2. What are the qualifications for a clinician?
    He must undergo a specialized training on pedagogy and experiential learning.

  • SECTION 13

  • 1. What are the sanctions that may be imposed for unauthorized practice of law committed by a Law Student Practitioner?
    Unauthorized practice of law shall be a ground for revocation of the Law Student Practitioner’s Certification and/or disqualification for the law student from taking the bar examination for a period to be determined by the Supreme Court.

  • SECTION 14

  • 1. In order to take the Bar in 2023, how many units/hours of CLEP must he take? Or what is the minimum number of units/hours of CLEP required of a student in order to take the bar?
    The Law School shall determine the number of units/hours of CLEP.

  • 2. Student X graduated in 2020. He plans to take the 2020 Bar, is he required to comply with this rule?
    No.

  • 3. Student X graduated in 2020. He plans to take the 2021 Bar, is he required to comply with this rule.
    No.

  • 4. Student X graduated in 2020 but he plans to take the bar on 2023, is he required to take the CLEP before taking the 2023 bar?
    No.

  • 5. Student X entered law school in the year 2000, filed his leave of absence immediately, returned in 2020, is he required to take the CLEP?
    Yes.

  • 6. Student X graduated and took the bar in 2019 but did not make it, if he takes the 2021 bar, is he required to take the CLEP?
    No.

  • 7. Student X graduated in 2019 but did not take the 2019 bar, instead he will be taking the 2023 bar examination, is he required to take the CLEP?
    No.

  • 8. What may be submitted as proof to show compliance of the CLEP requirement to take the 2023 Bar Exams?
    The Transcript of Records (TOR) must reflect the CLEP courses completed, as a stand alone course or otherwise. In the interim, while the law curriculum is undergoing revision, if CLEP is integrated or embedded in certain courses, the TOR must also reflect the same.

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