Within the past two months, the Legal Education Board (“LEB”) released two recent issuances that have made quite the noise due to their controversial content.
Last December 1, 2018, the Legal Education Board (“LEB”) issued a memorandum migrating the basic law degree to Juris Doctor. In Memorandum No. 19 series of 2018, the LEB discontinued the use of the “Bachelor of Laws”and adopted the “Juris Doctor”as the universal law degree. This decision was meant to address the confusion that is brought about by the different law degrees conferred upon graduates of the basic law course in the Philippines. The Memorandum also provides that aside from being effective as of this academic year (2018-2019), the LLB degree of previous graduates of the basic law course will now be deemed equivalent to a JD Degree. Following these changes, the LEB renamed the curricula for LLB and JD degrees to JD Non-thesis Curriculum and JD Thesis Curriculum, respectively.
In its Resolution No. 2019-406 titled A Resolution Setting the Graduate-Level Degree Equivalency of the Basic Law Course, the LEB considered the basic law degrees as being equivalent to doctoral degrees “for purposes of appointment/employment, ranking, and compensation. It is stated in the Resolution that it is “unreasonable and unfair to consider the basic law degrees as merely equivalent to a master’s degree.” The LEB then compared the number of units and the minimum coursework requirement for these two degrees and found that it is more fitting to regard a JD degree as equivalent to an academic doctoral degree. Further, graduate law degrees are now to be considered as “additional degrees for purposes promotion, ranking and compensation.”