No sad stories, only hard work for Ateneo de Davao bar topnotcher

Unlike other Bar topnotchers with sad and emotional stories, Ateneo de Davao University Law School's Justin Ryan D. Morilla, No. 5 in the 2016 Bar Examinations, passed the bar because of sheer hard work.

"I'm just a typical law student who dreamed of becoming a lawyer...not much emotional story for me," said the 25-year old new lawyer who got an 88.4% grade in the bar examinations.

Morilla hails from Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat and graduated with a BA Political Science degree at the UP Visayas. He now works with the Sycip, Salazar, Hernandez, Gatmaitan Law Office in the city.

He said there is no formula for topping the bar but he studied hard during his review, and regularly slept at 11 p.m. after studying most of the day. The most difficult subjects for him during the Bar are Mercantile Law and Criminal Law, while he considers Taxation as relatively easier than the other subjects.

"It is important to have discipline, establish a routine and focus, and leave behind emotional and other baggage behind," he said. During the bar, he added, one should not burden one's self with unnecessary stress. 

ADDU College of Law Assistant Dean Atty. Lydia C. Galas said the Ateneo usually have more than 200 first year enrollees every year. This started right after the impeachment proceedings against  then President Joseph Estrada.

"Since then we have had five sections for the first years every year but this would eventually taper off to 30 students for the fourth year," Ms. Galas said,

Dean Manuel Quibod said the Ateneo Law School has performed well in the last even before this year's Bar Examination result. He attributed this to a good faculty mix and good school facilities.

"It is not important that you have many bright students because while it counts, it is not crucial, there are always late bloomers later on, he said.

Mr. Quibod attributed the increasing number of bar topnotchers from the provinces to the availability and increased access in law school reading materials. Unlike before when they had to scamper to get hold of the SCRA which usually arrives late in Davao City, law students can now easily access the Supreme Court decided cases through the internet.

"The existence of the law school is really built by these two gentlemen who were unattached except to the law," Pre-Bar Review Director Father Agustin L. Nazareno said. He was referring to former Deans Epifanio E. Estrellado and Hildegardo Iñigo. The present Dean, Atty. Quibod, is only the third in the law school in its almost 56 years of existence.

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