University of the Philippines College of Law

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The University of the Philippines College of Law was established on January 12, 1911. The Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines formally approved it.



It was formally opened with first and second year classes. There was a total of 125 students comprising freshmen and sophomores, the latter numbering fifty when they started in th YMCA school. On this first law class, one became a President of the Philippines, one, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, while others became legislators and legal luminaries.

At first the faculty was predominantly American, but the it has been changed when the American teachers were supplanted by Filipinos.Sherman Moreland, Justice of the Supreme Court, was acting Dean From July 1 to October 11, 1911; George Malcolm was Secretary and subsequently Dean until 1917 when he was elevated to the Supreme Court. Jorge C. Bocobo, a member of the 1911 faculty, succeeded Dean Malcolm and became the first Filipino dean of the College. He held the position until 1934.

In the early years of the College, classes were held after five in the afternoon only because most of the student were working during the day. The college offered three years to those full time student and three years to those working student.

By its twenty-fifth year, the enrollment in the College of Law totaled 547 students; the faculty was composed of eight full-time and nine part-time members. A graduate program leading to the Master of Laws degree had been established; two earned the degree in 1918. Classes were then held in Palma Hall on the Padre Faura campus in Manila and the greater number of students attended day classes. Evening classes were maintained for students who were employed during the day.

When war broke up in 1941, the College was closed and classes did not resume until August of 1945. During the war the building and other collections were destroyed and law classes were first held in the Cancer Institute at Padre Faura St., later on at the third floor of the Engineering building. With the aid of the Association of American Law Schools and different foundation in the US, law alumni and friends, the library was gradually rebuilt.


The objectives of the College (including the Law Center) have been restated thus;

  • To discover and transmit knowledge of the law so as to achieve distributive justice for all; To train students for the practice of law, instilling in them the ethical responsibilities of the legal profession and the social responsibility to work for the attainment of a just and humane society; To contribute to the improvement of the legal system and the quality and administration of the system of justice in our society for the full protection of human rights;
  • To train lawyers for leadership that is innovative and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the Filipino people;
  • To develop a new level of legal education with a view to enhancing knowledge of the law on the part of citizenry, and as part of general education.
  • The purpose is to produce lawyers who are not only superior legal craftsmen but also socially conscious leaders who would promote the public interest above that of individual clients and pressure groups. This can be achieved only by viewing the law as part of the social process and by studying it in relation to related social services and disciplines.




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