15 things before going to law school (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of PJP's on-going series on things you need to know before you decide to go to law school. In Part 1, the last item was on the number of textbooks and pages per day that law students have to read. Here, we start with specific subjects offered in law school and the eight general Bar examination subjects.

[1] There are eight general Bar examination subjects. They are:

[a] Political law;
[b] Labor law;
[c] Civil law;
[d] Criminal law;
[e] Commercial law;
[f] Tax law;
[g] Remedial law; and
[h] Ethics law.

[2] These general subjects are divided into specific ones. For example, political law is divided into political law proper (structure of government), constitutional law (rights and government powers), public international law, administrative law, law on public officers and election law.

[3] Labor law is divided into labor standards, labor relations and social legislation.

[4] Civil law is divided into law on agency, conflict of laws, human relations law, land titles and deeds, lease law, obligations and contracts, partnership law, persons law, family law, law on prescription, property law, sales law, succession law, torts and damages and law on trusts.

[5] In criminal law, there are at least three subjects: general principles of criminal law (Book 1), crimes under the Revised Penal Code (Book 2) and special penal laws (also called Criminal Law 3).

[6] In commercial law, there are nine subjects: banking laws, corporation law, insurance law, intellectual property law, negotiable instruments law, mercantile law jurisprudence, securities regulation law, special commercial law and transportation law.

[7] In tax law, which has been considered as the most difficult subject in any Bar examination, there are at least five subjects: general principles of taxation, income taxation, local taxation, tariff and customs law, tax remedies and jurisprudence and transfer and business taxes.[9] Remedial law is divided into five or six subjects, depending on the law school. They are civil procedure, criminal procedure, evidence, special proceedings, alternative dispute resolution and remedial law jurisprudence.

[10] Ethics law is divided into legal ethics (for lawyers), judicial ethics (for judges), problem areas in legal ethics (a survey of jurisprudence), legal forms and practice court.

[11] All the above-mentioned specific subjects are taken in law school from 1L to 3L. Therefore, law school basically lasts for only three years because the last year (4L) is known as the review year. During the review year, you retake all the specific subjects but, this time, with a much faster pace than before. Imagine studying all 45 textbooks again (which you did for three years) in a shorter period of one year.

[12] In the first semester of 1L, you will study political law proper (structure of government), criminal law one (general principles of criminal law) and persons and family relations. You will also study non-Bar subjects such as legal writing, legal research and statutory construction.

[13] Statutory construction or legal hermeneutics is a study of how the Supreme Court has interpreted laws. Or rather, it is the study of how to properly construe laws. There are tools of statutory construction that help courts in the process of determining what the law actually means and how it should be applied on a certain set of facts. Although classified as a non-Bar subject, legal hermeneutics is actually a very important field and it applies to all Bar exam subjects.

[14] In the second semester of 1L, you will study constitutional law (rights and government powers), criminal law two (crimes), obligations and contracts and basic legal ethics. Non-Bar subjects in this semester may include legal technique and logic, the legal profession and/or philosophy of law, depending on the law school.

[15] It is important to know under which general subject specific subjects fall so you have a map in your mind of what you are actually studying and why. For example, it does not help to study property law without knowing that it falls under civil law which is a branch of law that regulates the relation or relations between and among persons, including their obligations.

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.