Revised Rule 138-A – Law Student Practice Rule

by | Feb 13, 2022

REVISED RULE 138-A OR THE “REVISED LAW STUDENT PRACTICE RULE”

What is Revised Rule 138-A or the Revised Law Student Practice Rule?

A.M. No. 19-03-24-SC, Rule 138-A Law Student Practice, otherwise known as the Revised Law Student Practice Rule has been adopted and promulgated by the Supreme Court en banc on June 25, 2019.

It is where a law student must be certified to be able to engage in the limited practice of law which provides the law students the opportunity for practical learning that will enable them to learn the law and make them practice-ready while serving the community.

What does limited practice of law include?

The Revised Rule covers the limited practice of law by students certified under the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP) of the law school. Examples of law practice allowed are:

  1. Appearances;
  2. Drafting and submission of pleadings and documents before trial and appellate courts and quasi-judicial and administrative bodies;
  3. Assistance in mediation, legal counselling and advice; and
  4. Other activities that are be covered by the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP) of the law school.

What is Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP)?

CLEP is an experiential, interactive and reflective credit-earning teaching course with the objectives of providing law students with practical knowledge, skills and values necessary for the application of the law, delivery of legal services and promotion of social justice and public interest, especially to the marginalized, while inculcating in the students the values of ethical lawyering and public service. It can be undertaken either through law clinic or externship.

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.

Who are eligible to apply as Law Student Practitioners (LSP)?

The Revised Rule requires that law students, before engaging in the limited practice of law via the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP), must first apply for and secure the following:

  1. Level 1 Certification for those who have completed the 1st year law courses; and/or
  2. Level 2 Certification for those who are currently enrolled for the second semester of their 3rd year law courses. However, if the student fails to complete all their third-year law courses, the Level 2 certification shall be deemed automatically revoked.

 

Note: Level 1 Certification is not a prerequisite for Level 2 Certification. Law schools can opt to have CLEP only under Level 1, or only under Level 2, or both.

 

What are the practice areas of Law Student Practitioners?

Subject to the supervision and approval of a supervising lawyer, a certified law student practitioner may:

For Level 1 Certification

  1. Interview prospective clients;
  2. Give legal advice to the client;
  3. Negotiate for and on behalf of the client;
  4. Draft legal documents such as affidavits, compromise agreements, contracts, demand letter, position papers, and the like;
  5. Represent eligible parties before quasi-judicial or administrative bodies;
  6. Provide public legal orientation; and
  7. Assist in public interest advocacies for policy formulation and implementation.

For Level 2 Certification

  1. Perform all activities under Level 1 Certification;
  2. Assist in the taking of depositions and/or preparing judicial affidavits of witnesses;
  3. Appear on behalf of the client at any stage of the proceedings or trial, before any court, quasi-judicial or administrative body;
  4. In criminal cases, subject to the provisions of Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, to appear on behalf of a government agency in the prosecution of criminal actions; and
  5. In appealed cases, to prepare the pleadings required in the case.

 

What are the requirements for certification application?

The law students must submit a duly accomplished application form under oath in three (3) copies, accompanied by proof of payment of the necessary legal and filing fees. The law school, through the dean or the authorized representative, will then submit the forms to the Office of the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) having jurisdiction over the territory where the law school is located, with an endorsement under oath.

Where shall applications be submitted and approved?

For both Level 1 and 2 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 as well as the RTC Executive Judge has the authority to approve the same.

 

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.

Where may externships be done?

Externships are activities involving public service which are held outside of law school campus. This 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.

 

What are the duties of the Supervising Lawyers?

The following are the duties of a supervising lawyer:

  1. Supervise such number of certified law student practitioners as far as practicable;
  2. Personally appear with the law student practitioner in all cases pending before the second-level courts and in all other cases the supervising lawyer determines that his or her presence is required;
  3. Assume personal professional responsibility for any work performed by the certified law student practitioner while under his or her supervision;
  4. Assist and advise the certified law student practitioner in the activities authorized by these rules and review such activities with the certified law student practitioner, all to the extent required for the proper practical training of the certified law student practitioner and the protection of the client;
  5. Read, approve, and personally sign any pleadings, briefs or other similar documents prepared by the certified law student practitioner prior to the filing thereof, and read and approve any documents which shall be prepared by the certified law student practitioner for execution by the eligible party; and
  6. Provide the level of supervision to the certified law student practitioner required by these rules.

Does the supervision of 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.

Are LSPs only allowed to practice law within a certain jurisdiction?

Yes. Law student practitioners shall only be allowed to practice law within the region of the Executive Judge who issued their certification.

For MSU-Iligan Extension Campus enrolled LSPs, they shall apply for a certification with the Executive Judge of the RTC of Iligan City, and upon issuance of said certification, the law student practitioners may perform the allowable activities based on the certification issued within the Region only.

What acts are considered unauthorized practice of law?

  1. Engaging in any of the acts provided in Section 4 of this Rule without the necessary certification or without the consent and supervision of the supervising lawyer;
  2. Making false representations in the application for certification
  3. Using an expired certification to engage in the limited practice of law under this Rule;
  4. Rendering legal services outside the scope of the practice areas allowed under Section 4 of this Rule;
  5. Asking for or receiving payment or compensation for services rendered under the Clinical Legal Education Program as provided in this Rule; and
  6. Other analogous circumstances.

What happens when the Law Student Practitioner performed unauthorized practice of law?

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.