Writen By: fvillamor
Author: Faye Villamor
Editor: King Anthony Perez
To regularly distinguish Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and Juris Doctor (J.D.) is of no moment.
This after the Legal Education Board (LEB) adopted J.D. as the universal academic degree for all graduates of the basic law course in the Philippines.
In their memorandum order approved in their 96th En Banc meeting last October 24, 2018, the Board mandated higher educational institutions (HEIs) offering basic law courses to only award or confer J.D. to all graduating students in the second semester of the current academic year (2018-2019) and in the future.
The LEB, prior to the issuance of the order, took notice of the distinction made between the two basic law degrees, LL.B. and J.D., wherein the latter is treated as an ‘enhanced version’ of the law degrees.
The Board explained that J.D. is considered as a professional doctorate degree used in jurisdictions where the basic law degree is a graduate-level degree. LL.B., however, is commonly used when the entry requirement in basic law course is a senior high school diploma only.
It also added that the use of Ll.B. creates an ‘erroneous perception that the basic law degree is equivalent to other bachelor’s level degrees.’
‘The use of these two academic degree titles for the graduates of the basic law course can mislead the general public to the wrong impression that lawyers who graduated with the former degree are inferior to those who graduated with the latter degree,” the LEB stated in its approved memorandum.
What happens next?
The Memorandum Order also mandated HEIs to discontinue the use of Ll.B. at the end of the second semester of the current academic year.
It also ordered the renaming of the current model curricula. The Ll.B. Curricula shall be renamed to J.D. Non Thesis, while the J.D. Curricula shall be renamed to J.D. Thesis.
Schools and universities offering the basic law courses are now required to consider the Ll.B degree awarded to past graduates as equivalent to J.D. prior to the issuance of LEB Memorandum Order.
The LEB, subject to their approval, also allowed HEIs to reissue diplomas, official transcript of records, and other academic credentials for the purpose of substituting the academic degree Juris Doctor.
Where are we now?
The Board has approved the revised J.D. Curricula of the University of Cebu-School of Law in their 97th En Banc meeting. The revised curricula shall be effective for freshman students of the current academic year.
Students under the J.D. Non Thesis Curricula, however, are required to take three (3) units of the subject Public International Law. The same subject was offered for only two (2) units in the previous curriculum.
The LEB has granted the School of Law’s applications for authority to confer the J.D. Non-Thesis curriculum to second, third and fourth year students.
The Board has also approved the school’s application to reissue academic credentials of past Ll.B. graduates.