Gavel and robes, business suits, and briefcases were cast aside for a night in the biggest gathering of lawyers in the country. At the outside-of-court event, denim ruled over the

country’s judiciary system, a dress-down dinner affair on the opening day of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) National Convention.

IBP’s Fellowship Night is a segment of the five-day gathering that lists a sports fest, convention, and a Governor’s ball. On this night, just like in the court of law, five teams of lawyers representing their regions presented their cases in the manner of performing arts - dance, sing, act - before a panel of nonlawyer judges. The best case will win the judges’ favor.

The 2023 IBP gathering is a celebration of milestones. It marks the 50th year of the organization and it’s also the first face-to-face convention after three years following the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Held every two years, the IBP convention aspires to promote camaraderie among lawyers all over the country, as well as discuss important issues in furtherance of their mandate as the national organization of lawyers in the Philippines.

Since its establishment in 1973, the official organization of the legal profession in the country has stood loyal to its advocacy to promote the welfare of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and uphold the rule of law in the country.

This year’s host is the IBP-Davao City Chapter. The event, which will gather around 3,500 participants, one of the highest numbers of attendees in a single event Davao has hosted. The convention will showcase the milestones of the organization for the past 50 years and the vigor to move forward to a better and stronger organization.

In her welcome address, Hon. Dorothy Montejo-Gonzaga said she misses her time in court after taking the role of Governor of Davao de Oro.

Present in the affair was Vice President Sara Duterte, a lawyer and a member of the IBP. In her message, she said it was good to see her friends, colleagues, law school classmates and professors gathering to celebrate the golden jubilee of the IBP.

“Fifty remarkable years, the IBP has stood tall and proud of its role in elevating the standard of its legal profession. For 50 years, the IBP has served the Filipino public,” said the vice president.

“The IBP has evolved to become more responsive and attuned with the times in the accompanying technological advancement that come with modernization. Yet much remains to be unfolded as the institution embarks on its new chapter of bolder strides in honor of justice, equality, fairness for all, effectivity and efficiency of service as defenders of the law. Fifty years ago and 50 years hence, the vision to administer and serve justice with the highest integrity remains. We ask ourselves what is next for the bar. A lot, and we have only just begun with 50.”

After the vice president’s uplifting message, it was time for the regional contingents to present their 80’s themed cases before the judges.

The gavel was hit and the decision was made. So ordered. The lawyers from Western Mindanao “blew up” the ballroom with the impressive delivery of their case and took home the grand prize. The contingents from Greater Manila Region and Western Visayas took the second and third places, respectively. The decision is final and no appeal shall be entertained.

On the local front, the IBP Davao Chapter prides itself in its legal advocacy activities. It has established the IBP Legal Resource Building which houses the IBP Office, the IBP Legal Aid

Office and the Laurente C. Ilagan Memorial Law Library, where the IBP’s services for its members and the community are easily available. Aside from the legal aid services and continuing legal education seminars, the IBP Davao City Chapter lawyers have a dedicated legal advice column in the Edge Davao newspaper. The IBP Davao Corner articles are free of charge, accessible, and downloadable by the public through the IBP Davao City Chapter

Facebook account.


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