Bzzzzz: No lawyer produced since the epidemic. Que calamidad, or is it? 2-year drought of lawyers prompts SC 'go' order on bar exams.

·3 min read

THE Supreme Court Tuesday, January 4, announced the bar examinations -- put off twice because of the epidemic, in 2020 and 2021 -- will push through this January 23, a Sunday, and 25, a Tuesday.

CEBU REQUEST REJECTED? Last Monday, January 3, deans of law schools in Cebu and the Cebu City chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines sent a resolution, approved last December 30, asking the SC to put off the 202-2021 bar exams scheduled in the city.

The deans cited the damage on the three exam sites in Cebu City -- University of Cebu, University of San Carlos and University of San Jose-Recoletos -- that wouldn't be ready for use yet. They also relayed the request of at least 432 would-be examinees, seeking a reschedule because of super-typhoon Odette.

It was not clear if the SC arrived at the January decision after already considering the request for postponement from Cebu and other parts of the country. "Abogado" earlier reported that the request was "set to be tackled" by the SC in the Tuesday meeting.

It was not included in the agenda or the SC decided not to cancel or postpone. Cebu deans and examinees are only asking for a delay until after the end of the month, when the City will have the repairs and the restoration of light and water supply completed.

REVISED SYSTEM OF EXAMS. Thus, the SC resolution pushed through the exams but declaring a revised system that shortens the period and coverage: two days only (January 23 and 5) and only four sets of laws -- (1) the state and its relationship with the citizens; (2) criminal law; (3) private personal and commercial relationships; and (4) procedure and professional ethics.

From the four Sundays in all past bars, it's now just two days, with the subjects compressed. Examinees are "strongly advised" to self-quarantine for at least two weeks before exams. The changes, the SC said, are "pro hac vice" (for this occasion only) "to meet the demand for new lawyers" and the disasters plaguing the country."

LOOKS LIKE IT'S A 'GO.' Bar Bulletin No. 31, series of 2022, already started fleshing out the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the bar exams. It lists the subjects for Day 1 and Day 2 and the number of questions and weight of each set.

DEMAND FOR NEW LAWYERS. Did we get it right? There's a demand for lawyers created by the zero production of new lawyers in the last two years?

Often, one hears the complaint of having too many lawyers. That may not be true, although there's no hard set of numbers provided by lawyers and their critics alike.

The last statistics available were those of 2016, when, with 40,000 living lawyers in the Roll of Attorneys, there was .4 lawyer for every 1,000 people or one lawyer for every 2,500 in a population of 100 million.

But here's the SC's en banc per curiam resolution of January 4, 2022 declaring that there's a demand for new lawyers. The demand is judicially recognized by the highest court of the land.

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