Best Law Schools in the Philippines

James Ryan Jonas

Did you know that there are just 40,000 lawyers registered in the rolls of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, according to 2016 article published in BusinessWorld? That seems to be a small number, considering the seeming proliferation of lawyers in the country.

In terms of the Philippine Bar Exam, tens of thousands of hopefuls actually take the exam every year, with just a few hundreds successfully hurdling it. The highest Bar Exam passing rate was 75.17% back in 1954. This means 3 out of 4 takers successfully passed the bar that year. In contrast, the lowest passing rate was 16.59% in 1999.

Lawyers in the Philippines

Attorneys or Lawyers have different roles and responsibilities, depending on the field of specialization. Some of their typical jobs include:

  • explaining the law
  • giving general legal advice
  • representing a client and giving advise on a legal situation
  • settling disputes and supervising agreements
  • drafting contracts and legal documents
  • analyzing legal documents
  • gathering and researching evidence
  • creating oral arguments in the courts
  • attending court hearings to defend clients
  • conveyancing (making documentary requirements for transfer of properties)
  • prosecuting criminal suspects

Philippine Bar Examination

To become an official Attorney in the Philippines, an individual must:

  • 1. Be a holder of a Professional Degree in Law from a recognized law school in the Philippines; and
  • 2. Pass the Philippine Bar Examination, which is administered by the Supreme Court Bar Examination Committee under the appointment of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

The Philippine Bar Exam is scheduled only once a year, usually in November.

If you’re interested to be an attorney or a lawyer, take note of the following scope of the Bar Exam which includes these topics, among others:

  • Political and Public International Law
  • Labor and Social Legislation
  • Civil Law
  • Taxation
  • Mercantile Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Remedial Law, and
  • Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises

To pass the examination, you should obtain a passing average of 75% and no grade must fall below 50% in any bar subject.

Best Law Schools in the Philippines

Are you interested to find out which universities in the Philippines are able to achieve the highest passing rates in the Philippine Bar Examination? We compiled the data from previous Bar exams to determine the top schools with the highest Bar Examination passing rates.

Check out the table below to see if your school is one of the top Law schools in the Philippines in terms of Bar Exam passing rate!

Schools ranked by Bar Exam Passing Rate

RankLaw SchoolBar Exam Passing Rate
1University of the Philippines73.71%
2Ateneo de Manila University67.55%
3San Beda College-Manila67.13%
4University of San Carlos58.00%
5Ateneo de Davao University53.02%
6University of Santo Tomas43.98%
7University of Cebu41.49%
8San Beda College-Alabang39.10%
9Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila35.80%
10Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan32.20%

Note: The passing rates just count the first-time takers; repeaters are not included in the passing rate. All figures are based on the 2012-2014 bar examinations.

If you’re interested to find out how much it costs to study in a law school, check out the table below which shows the amount of tuition fee you’ll have to pay every semester.

Tuition Fee in Philippine Law Schools

Law Schools in the PhilippinesTuition Fee per Sem (estimate)
University of the PhilippinesPHP 25,000 - PHP 30,000
Ateneo de Manila UniversityPHP 75,000 - PHP 98,000
San Beda College-Manila PHP 63,000
University of San Carlos PHP 32,000
Ateneo de Davao UniversityNo Data
University of Santo TomasNo Data
University of Cebu PHP 25,000
San Beda College-Alabang PHP 60,000
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng MaynilaPHP 32,000
Xavier University - Ateneo de CagayanPHP 33,000

Source: PRC Philippines (;

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.