Fifty-seven law student practitioners of the School of Law of the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos-Bacolod took their oath before Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Phoebe Gargantiel-Balbin in rites held at the Hall of Justice on November 30.
These law student practitioners received their Level 1 Certification necessary to undertake the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP).
Joining Executive Judge Gargantiel-Balbin was Judge Fernand Castro, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 41, who served as the Inspirational Speaker during oath-taking rites.
UNO-R School of Law Dean Dodie Turla, Atty. Aiken Alagban, Supervising Lawyer, UNO-R, CLEP; Rev. Fr. Leo Alaras and some judges and law Professors graced the oath-taking rites.
The Executive Judge said, “Equip yourselves with the knowledge of the law with integrity and dedication to be of help to the less privileged members of the community. During our time, we don’t have this CLEP program. The first time I entered the courtroom when I was already a lawyer."
She said, "It is good that you have this CLEP now because you will be exposed to the actual court hearing. You will meet new and old practicing lawyers as well as Judges.”
Judge Castro, in his inspirational message, said, “In the world of law, there is an inherent responsibility that comes with the pursuit of justice. Law practice is a calling, a profession, and not a business venture. It demands intellect, integrity and above all a deep-seated commitment to make a positive impact on society.
“As you took your oath, you are just committing to a profession, but you are also embracing a noble cause. This journey will not be easy. There will be late nights pouring over case filed and an early morning, preparing and drafting pleadings and motions and countless hours will be spent in legal research and writing.
“These are the sacrifices you have to make to reach a significant milestone starting today. Each assignment and challenge you face will be a stepping stone towards the legal professional that you are becoming today. As Level 1 Certified Law Student Practitioners, you will not only demonstrate academic excellence but more importantly, you will showcase your ability to apply legal knowledge to real-world situations."
He further said, "The essence of Clinical Legal Education lies in its power to bridge the gap between theory and practice. And you have embraced this bridge with enthusiasm, determination and an unyielding commitment to justice.
“As you prepare to perform your duties as Law Student Practitioners, let me remind you of the weight that it carries. Hindi po biru ang inyong gagampanan. This is not merely a ritual, not a mere ceremony, not an empty act. It is a solemn promise to uphold the principles of justice, to defend the rights of the voiceless and to be a beacon of hope to those who seek refuge in the rule of law.
“In the pursuit of justice, you will encounter challenges that will test your character and your resolve. You will face situations where the law seems insufficient, that’s why we have equity, being justice outside the law, where morality and ethics collide with legal precedent. In those moments, remember the principles that guided you through this program which include integrity, fairness, and unwavering belief that justice is a beacon that must shine brightly for all.”
Meanwhile, Atty. Dodie Turla, said, “To all our Law Student Practitioners, you will formally embark on the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP). This is a testament to our school’s commitment, not only to be compliant with the mandate of the Legal Education Board as well as to the Supreme Court but also to ensure the professional growth of our law students.
“For Law Student Practitioners, this CLEP will be a platform for a comprehensive and insightful learning experience that will make you practice-ready and become contributors to the effective delivery of justice. Allow me to congratulate you in advance.
“The UNO-R School of Law and I are very proud of you. And we all cannot wait for your delivery of the unique legal service that you will give to the community as Law Student Practitioners, highlighted by the UNO-R School of Law brand of being “Ma-alam and Ma bu-ot.” Thank you all for sharing with us your precious time and together, let us pursue an enriching legal journey.”*