Purpose and Objectives
In line with the Philosophy and Objectives of the University, the College of Law has articulated its specific objectives as follows:
1. To develop in law students a love for law as an expression of Divine Will, as well as the continuing ability to learn, eventually producing lawyers of moral and ethical comportment together with technical excellence.
2. To focus attention to human dignity and human rights under the Rule of Law as the basis for positive laws.
3. To expose law students to the actual legal problems of the community, making the study of law more relevant and meaningful, so that the student who may shift to another discipline may use his acquired knowledge to greater advantage.
4. To integrate the acquisition of merely technical skills with an acquaintance of the law's broader philosophical horizons, implicit in the University motto Virtus et Scientia.
The above objectives included preparation for professional growth inthe practice of law, stress moral and ethical consciousness, and promote recognition of the rights of the individual in relation to the community which is his milieu. The Social and Philosophy of Law. These subjects also contribute to the attainment of the specifically Christian objectives of the University. Legal Counseling in the third year and Practicum in the fourth year are designed to provide practical experiences in situations likely to be encountered in the law office and the courtroom after the student passes the bar.
The purposes and objectives of the College of Law are perfectly consonant with those of the University and the effort of the College of Law to realize them is manifested in the enrichment of its curriculum requirements over and above those of government, in the careful selection of the faculty, and in the desire of the Administration to improve conditions through accreditation.
Ordinance No. 2: Mission Statement of a Catholic University (Supplementary to Ex Corde Ecclesiae)
The essential elements to be contained in the Institutional Commitment and the Mission Statement of a Catholic University or College are:
- Commitment to the search for, and communication of Truth through teaching, research and service to Church and society;
- Promotion of a dialogue between Faith and reason leading to the integration of knowledge about the human person, nature and God;
- Preservation, enrichment and transmission of Philippine culture and its evangelization: inculturation of Faith;
- Contribution to communal development as social critic and source of innovation and social transformation;
- Integral development of the human person and the community;
- Commitment to education which not only provides academic and professional training, but also inspires to being witness to Christ and one's Christian faith;
- Moral formation which fosters love of neighbor; sense of social conscience and responsibility, promotion of social justice and peace, solidarity with the poor and the victims of unjust social structures, the care/stewardship of the environment;
- Commitment to remain faithful to the Catholic Tradition and to uphold the teaching of the Catholic Church as declared in the pronouncement of the Magisterium.
The year 1939 saw the birth of the College of Law, under the rector, Fr. Dolse Garcia, its founder, with only a first year class composed of a few determined students. In 1940, the second year class came into view, and in 1941 the third. They were all under the first dean, Felipe Ismael.
With the Second World War starting on the 7th of December, 1941, classes stopped. At the end of the war in 1946, students who survived went back to their books with enthusiasm. Two years later the school pitted for the first time its so-called Seven Wise Men against the dreaded bar exams. The school produced its first seven attorneys and the bar topnotcher in the person of Antonio Montelibano who copped 3rd place with a grade of 91.75 percent. The other new lawyers were Mariano Toledo, percent Federico Torre, Patricio Miguel, Vicente Bello, Vicente Abalajon and Alfredo Ladrido.
In the school year 1947-1948, Atty.Benjamin H.Tirol became dean and new breed of professors was also beginning to put their teaching abilities into effect. During the early and midfifties, the college gradually earned a reputation for quality of teaching and good bar record. It had the biggest library in the region with 3,000 volumes of law books. Legal luminaries were produced who missed the top ten in the bar exams by just a hairline. The examinees got above average grades. The Portia Club for lady law students was founded by Miss Concepcion Novera who later became Mrs.Jose Amamanglon, both Augustinian lawyers. The Sigma Alpha Lex which is the law student fraternity, on the other hand, has been existing since 1939.
In 1963, the USA College of Law was again in the headlines featuring two bar topnotchers: Wenceslao de la Paz bagging the 3rd place and Carmelo Betita, the 7th place. In 1967, the 2nd place was taken by another Augustinian, Atty.Mariano Guariña III.
Sometime in 1968, Dean Benjamin H. Tirol relinquished his position to an equally worthy and brilliant professor, Atty.Corazon C. Miraflores.
In the bar examinations of 1971, the college of law gained notice once again with Eduardo Aguillon garnering the 9th place. In 1972, Ricardo Chu, Jr. was a 3rd placer. Earlier, Professor Ladrido had predicted he would garner any of the first three places.
In 1977, Dr.Cesar T. Tirol was appointed dean. A PAASCU Survey team visited the college and left with favorable recommendations.
In 1978, bar candidates passed with one of the highest percentages of passing in the history of the College of Law. Out of 21 candidates, there was only one casualty.
The College of Law received initial PAASCU accreditation on December 7,1979 and was the first law school to be so accredited in the Philippines.
To name the captains of the USA College of Law without mentioning the names of the high ranking crew would not be proper. For more than 50 years of rough and smooth sailing, the college had its three old guards whose names have become identical with the subjects they have been teaching: Judge Luis Hervas, with Natural Law; Atty.Corazon C. Miraflores, with Civil Law; and Atty.Wilfrido J. Ladrido, with Criminal Law. However, they have faded from the scene as all of us will.
In 1981, the College of Law opened the Pre-Bar Review Class which was then the first and the only one outside Metro Manila.
The College of Law was re-accredited in March 26,1983 for another five to seven years. The Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP) certified that our Law program satisfied the standards for deregulated status, Level II, and this entitled us to the benefits in paragraphs 5a and 5b of MECS Order No. 36, Series of 1984, valid up to 1991.
In the 1984 bar examinations, another Augustinian made it to the 3rd place in the person of Dolores R Abad. In 1985, Ma. Elena Gallenero-Opinion got the 10th place. We did not do so well in the 1986 bar examinations, which had a passing average of only 18.8 percent. The Class of 1987 has redeemed this when seven of them passed the bar examinations and the class had a passing percentage of 47 percent. Eight of our 1987 bar candidates passed including Atty. Ben De Los Reyes, who was the magna cum laude of the class of 1986. The national passing percentage for this year was 17.8 percent.
Of the Class of 1988, 14 were certified by the college to take the bar. This number was augmented by the other graduates of the past years, some taking the bar examinations for the second time. Of this group, seven passed. One was again a bar topnocher Cyril Regalado who got the 7th place.
We are proud to mention that in the Inquirer issue of November 15, 1988 it was reported that the DECS considers our school as among the country's better law schools. Also in Panorama magazine of December 4, 1988 in the article on the U.P. College of Law, Dean Bartolome Carale was quoted as musing that while the U.P. has a good law school, there are strong competitors such as Ateneo, San Beda and perhaps the University of San Agustin in Iloilo. The DECS awarded a Certificate of Recognition dated March 15,1988 to the USA College of Law for meritorious performance in the Bar Examinations during the school year 1987-1988 and 1988-1989.
Recently, the DECS granted the College the authority to graduate students without the need for Special Orders (DECS Order No. 51, Series of 1993). This authority is valid as long as the accredited status (Level III) is maintained.