As a culmination of the Juris Doctor curriculum, the Ateneo de Manila Law School requires its students to prepare and defend a thesis on a subject of law which must deal with a legal problem not yet resolved by the legislature or the courts.
A student is given a year to prepare for his thesis. The process starts with the call for topics by the Thesis Committee on junior year. The Committee then either approves or declines these proposals depending on the viability of writing the proposed topic and the existence of a legal problem, or the lack thereof. Upon the approval of a topic, the preparation of the thesis is supervised by an adviser chosen by the student from the Ateneo Law faculty.
Of the several phases of the long process, it is the thesis defense that is most awaited and most talked about. Once the thesis adviser certifies a student’s thesis as ready for defense, the student makes a case for his proposition before an oral panel of experts in the relevant field of law.
A total of 126 students from Batch 2019 will defend their theses from September to October in the first semester of this academic year. While some describe the entire process as rigorous and stressful, Ateneans are still able to inject creativity through their topics of choice. Some of the peculiar theses written this year tackle topics that range from underwater vehicles to liability for accidents caused by self-driving cars.