15 things before going to law school (Part 1)

Before you go to law school, here are basic things you need to know./For Regina Phalange

[1] In law school, professors almost never teach you. They do sometimes point out information or clarify certain details but that seldom happens. If you find a law professor who explains everything to the class, you are lucky.

[2] In a sense, law school is easier than undergraduate schools. There are only five requirements: (a) read the books; (b) read the cases; (c) attend classes; (d) try your best during recitation; and (e) do well in exams and quizzes.

[3] In another sense, law school is harder than undergraduate schools because textbooks and Supreme Court decisions (jurisprudence) are not very easy to understand. Before entering law school, be sure to understand the basics of our legal system.

[4] Speaking of the basics of our legal system,"law" is a general term which refers to the body of rules of conduct that govern our society. "Law," in the strict sense, includes the Constitution and statutes. In a loose sense, the term includes implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) and jurisprudence.

[5] The Constitution is the fundamental law of the land. A deeper analysis shows that it is basically a contract between the Government and the governed (the people). The people, in their sovereign capacity, delegated to the Government their powers and prerogatives but with a warning that any violation of that contract (the Constitution) shall be null and void (invalid). In short, the basis of our Government is the Constitution.

[6] Statutes are laws passed by Congress in the exercise of its legislative power. There are three Great Branches of Government exercising three powers: The Legislative (Congress); the Executive (the Presidency); and the Judiciary (the Supreme Court).

[7] Legislative power or the power to make laws is lodged in Congress (Article VI of the Constitution). Executive power or the power to implement and enforce laws is delegated to the President (Article VII). Finally, judicial power or the power to settle controversies and interpret the law is given to the Supreme Court and other lower courts (Article VIII).

[8] IRRs are rules crafted and promulgated by an implementing agency. When we say "implementing agency," it is that department, office or bureau under the Executive Branch that is tasked by law to implement its provisions.

For example, the implementing agency of tax laws is primarily the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). This is why there are revenue regulations (RRs) that have the force and effect of law, although they are not strictly considered as laws.[9] Decisions of the Supreme Court, also called jurisprudence, form part of the legal system of the Philippines. Courts decide a case on the basis of facts and law. They settle controversies between parties and, in doing so, they have to make an evaluation of evidence and interpretation of law.

When a case reaches the Supreme Court, the highest tribunal of the land, and when decided, the decision is known as "a piece of jurisprudence," which is an authority of what the law means and how future issues with similar facts should be settled.

[10] In law school, there are three types of books typically used: (a) textbooks; (b) code (codal) books; and (c) reviewers.

[11] Law students are encouraged to read textbooks which contain legal provisions, comments or discussions, examples and relevant jurisprudence. In addition, they are required to read Supreme Court decisions.

[12] When the Supreme Court issues a decision, it is in full-text form. Most of the time, law students are required to summarize these full-text decisions into what are known as "case digests" or "case briefs."

[13] Code (codal) books, also called "codals," are small books that contain only the provisions of the law without comments or discussions. For example, the Family Code in its codal form is available in a civil law codal book. A textbook on the Family Code contains discussions and comments. The codal form has no such discussions and comments.

[14] Reviewers are summaries of textbooks. Law students from 1L to 3L are NOT advised to use reviewers.

[15] On average, one law student has to read 45 textbooks from his first year to his third year in law school. It is estimated that, to accomplish this on time, 54.7945 pages should be read every day. https://www.projectjurisprudence.com/2019/05/bar-exam-flunkers-deserve-recognition-too.html.

PART 1: https://www.projectjurisprudence.com/2019/09/15-things-before-going-to-law-school-part-1.htmlPART 2: https://www.projectjurisprudence.com/2019/09/15-things-before-going-to-law-school-part-2.htmlPART 3: https://www.projectjurisprudence.com/2019/09/15-things-before-going-to-law-school-part-3.html.

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