SC’s Clinical Legal Education Drive Gets Funding Support

October 20, 2021

The Supreme Court’s effort to develop and promote clinical legal education in law schools nationwide has just received funding support.

The Governance in Justice (GOJUST) Programme has started its funding program to support law schools that are challenged to implement their own clinical legal education programs (CLEP).

At least P1 million per year for two years will made available for the successful law school whose grant application will be approved by GOJUST. The funding facility is open to both public and private law schools, whether stock or non-stock corporations. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that can manage the funds for the law schools are also eligible to apply.

Those interested were given until yesterday, October 19, 2021, to send their expression of interest. They have until today, October 20, to submit their proposal development training using the template of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

The deadline for submission of proposals is on November 3, 2021.

The details and and links to all related documents may be accessed at https://www.ungm.org/Public/Notice/147767. Those interested may also email gojustgrants@unops.org so that UNOPS can send them the soft copy of the pertinent documents should  they encounter difficulty in downloading the same in the said link.

In 2019, the SC En Banc adopted and promulgated A.M. No. 19-03-24-SC Rule 138-A Law Student Practice, or the Revised Law Student Practice Rule (Revised Rule). The Revised Rule is an amendment to the existing provisions of Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court. A salient feature of the Revised Rule is that a law student must now be certified to be able to engage in the limited practice of law.

Earlier this year, the SC also adopted The Guidelines on the Externship Program in Court of Law Student Practitioners under Rule 138-A. The guidelines were issued pursuant to the Revised Rule

which allows externship in courts as a means of complying with the CLEP of a law school.

Incidentally, the Legal Education Board (LEB) launched last October 14 its Revised Model Law Curriculum (RMLC) and its CLEP website. The RMLC aims to modernize the law curriculum, while the CLEP website is a portal for all relevant information and resource materials on CLEP and on the Revised Rule.

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo deemed “historic” the RMLC’s and CLEP website’s launch last October 14 and expressed optimism that the country’s law students will now be practice-ready with the introduction of a modernized legal education that is “primarily student- and society-centered.” Among the key changes in the RMLC are: 1) the reduction of the total minimum academic load required of law students, 2) the rationalization of mandated courses, which removes the emphasis on bar review and focuses instead on ensuring that bar candidates are given updates and ample amount of coaching; 3) introduction of procedural law subjects in the First Year Law curriculum; and 4) full integration of clinical legal education in the curriculum. ###