Help bar non-passers, schools told
LAW schools across the country were urged to consider the future of those who don’t pass the bar examinations.
In a speech before forum participants from the University of San Carlos- College of Law, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno said expectations weigh heavily on the law graduates who take four Sundays of bar exams.
“To what extent can those wounds heal for those who didn’t pass the bar examinations? Others suffer much from an examination being watched by the whole nation. If we ignore their future, we are not just to them,” Sereno said.
She said some law graduates who didn’t pass the bar examinations should be given the same opportunity as those who become lawyers.
Sereno was the guest speaker during the forum “Philippine Legal Education and the Profession: Preparing Our Students for the Practice of Law and Leadership in the Society.”
“If there is a venue for them to be considered paralegal? Some of them became sheriffs, court interpreters and legal researchers. What is the future that awaits them?,” she said.
While the Supreme Court (SC) noted that many failed to pass the bar examinations, Sereno said they could not reduce the standards set for what is considered the toughest examination in the country.
“The bar examinations must be related to the question if we are producing the kind of lawyers our society needs today. None of us justices in the Supreme Court, want to be associated with a mediocre system. We aim for excellence and competence,” Sereno said.
She said the High Court should examine the conduct of the bar examinations to see if they produce competent lawyers lest the credibility of the legal profession suffers.
“We want to show the public that those who become lawyers are men and women you can trust. If loosening the bar requirement will result in the deterioration of the kind of service we have, we’re on the wrong path,” she said.
Sereno noted that some of those who failed to pass the bar examinations didn’t make it because of “poor English.” “Are our law schools teaching effectively?,” she said.
Apart from developing command of the English language, Sereno said law schools should also teach their students to ask the right questions and to go beyond memorization.
“Are you able to ask your students the right questions during class? The value added for memorization is small but creative thinking is significant and over time,” she told the law professors.
During last year’s bar examinations, only 17.76 percent or 949 out of 5,343 law graduates made it. The Supreme Court said it was the lowest passing rate in 12 years.
Lawyer Joan Largo, dean of the USC College of Law, expressed dismay over how last year’s bar examinations was conducted.
She said the low passing rate in the 2012 bar examinations was caused by the unreasonable length of the exam.
Largo said bar examinees were asked to answer a set of 100-point multiple choice questions (MCQ) and another 100-point essay at the same time.
She said it was physically and humanly impossible to answer the questions sensibly given the short period of time.
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