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First lawyers under ‘new normal’ take their oath online

/ 05:21 PM June 25, 2020

Oath-taking of new lawyers before Supreme Court justices. Screengrab from PTV

MANILA, Philippines — Being the first lawyers who ushered in the era of the so-called “new normal,” Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe said they are in a unique position to innovate ways to ensure that justice is made accessible to all.

“Historically, you will not only be known as the first batch of lawyers to have been sworn-in online but to a greater extent, the first batch to have commenced your legal practice during a debilitating global pandemic,” Bernabe, the chairperson of the 2019 Bar, said in her speech during the online oath-taking for new lawyers.

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“In formally assuming your duties and responsibilities, I challenge you to lead the new generation of lawyers in carrying the great responsibility of utilizing the law to help society cope and move forward,” she said.

“Now, more than ever, the legal profession needs your youthful exuberance, your proficiency in new technologies and most of all, your interconnected sense of community. Harness all these qualities for the advancement of our profession with a brimming optimism that this too shall pass,” Bernabe added.

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A total of 2,103 successful examinees took their oath online before the magistrates who, instead of at the PICC, are at the Supreme Court’s session hall with their conspicuous face shields and face masks as protection against coronavirus infection.

The oath-taking was done online in compliance with the government’s policy against mass gathering to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It was aired over government’s PTV channel and at the Supreme Court’s YouTube account.

But the high court clarified that the unorthodox oath-taking was to be “pro hac vice,” meaning, it is to be exclusive only for the 2019 Bar passers.

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TAGS: 2019 Bar examination, oath-taking, online, Supreme Court, videoconferencing
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