THE FACULTY of Civil Law plans to tighten its debarment rules to maintain its status as a premier law school and improve its performance in the bar exams.

Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said stricter standards would be implemented, for instance, any law student regardless of year level would be debarred if he or she did not meet the standards.

Under the proposal, third-year students will not be allowed to proceed to the fourth year unless they pass the mock bar exams, but exemptions will be given to those who will have an average grade of above 86.

“If you fail, you go. And I think this will be the best practice and, also, this will encourage the [students] to strive harder and not take things easily when they reach fourth year,” Divina said in an interview, adding he was confident Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P. would approve the changes.

The new polices to be implemented beginning academic year 2016-2017 are mock bar exams per year level, a diagnostic assessment, and departmental exams in “bar subjects” or those that are included in the bar exams, like political law, remedial law, labor law, and legal ethics, to test the students’ ability in answering and solving different sets of questionnaires.

“We’ll screen carefully those who will be allowed to progress to second year, third year, and fourth year, until they take the bar examinations,” Divina said.

Students who will pass the mock bar exams will be given incentives such as law books.

Last year, Civil Law recorded a 43.9-percent passing rate in the bar exams, significantly lower than the 63.67-percent passing rate in 2013.

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The last time a Thomasian entered the top 10 list of the bar exams was in 2012 when Christian Louie Gonzales placed fifth. Arlene Maneja topped the bar in 2002, the third Thomasian to place first in the bar exams after former president Diosdado Macapagal in 1936 and former chief justice Roberto Concepcion in 1924.

“We want to be more than just being a good law school. Our goal is to be in the top three. We’re not happy with just being in the top 10. We want to produce topnotchers and improve the over-all bar passing rate,” Divina said.

The faculty has signed up with trusted technology providers, such as My Legal Whiz, to give students easy access to research materials such as laws and cases.

Civil Law will also tap the Center for Global Practice and Foundation for writing and memory improvement classes for students.

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