Established in 1938, through the efforts of Dr. Florentino Cayco, Sr., Arellano Law College formed the nucleus of what we know today as Arellano University School of Law - Arellano Law Foundation.
Named after the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Cayetano S. Arellano, the original school was located in historic Intramuros, where classes were held until the Battle of Manila in 1945.
A few months later, classes were resumed in an old Spanish-type building along Legarda Street in Sampaloc. It was the first law school opened after World War II, whose faculty members were legal luminaries, among them Fred Ruiz Castro, later to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruperto G. Martin, Jose C. Vitug and Antonio P. Barredo, who later were all appointed associate justices of the same Court. It also had a dynamic student population who often got embroiled in many relevant social and legal issues.
In 1948, the school was moved to Plaza Guipit located at present day corner of G. Tuazon and A. Lacson streets, Manila along with the other colleges of Arellano University. In 1955, the school was relocated back to its old site at Legarda Street, Sampaloc, but this time housed in a modern four-storey concrete building.
The first forty years of existence of the Arellano Law College produced graduates who topped the bar examinations, including former Congressman Francisco S. Sumulong, Dean Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr., the late Congressman Jose R. Zafra, and businessman Augusto G. Syjuco. Other luminaries who graduated from the school were the late Court of Appeals Justice Ramon G. Gaviola, the late former Arellano University President Florentino E. Cayco, Jr., bankers/finance experts Hermilo V. Rodis, Eliseo P. Ocampo, Manuel Abrogar III and Antonio M. de las Alas, Jr., insurance executive Domingo R. Sioson, Police General Manuel C. Roxas and Manila Police Chief Gerardo Tamayo.
The first Dean of the Arellano Law College was Vicente G. Sinco, who served from 1938 to 1940, and who later on became President of the University of the Philippines. He was succeeded by Francisco R. Capistrano, a civil law expert who sat as Member of the Civil Code Commission that revised the old Civil Code and later became a Justice of the Court of Appeals. He served from 1940 to 1956. He was succeeded by civilist Enrique Voltaire Garcia, who served as Dean until 1962. Manila councilor and bar placer Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr. assumed the deanship in 1963, holding it until 1978.
In 1979, Arellano University turned over the management of the School of Law to the Arellano Law Foundation and in 1997, the agreement between Arellano University and the Arellano Law Foundation was amended to grant full fiscal autonomy to the Foundation.
Arellano Law Foundation is a non-profit, non-stock organization established by alumni and faculty members of Arellano University for the purpose of contributing to the upgrading of the standards legal profession and to the efficient, fair, and honest administration of justice. Its major project in the attainment of this objective is the operation of Arellano University School of Law.
Upon its organization in 1978, the Foundation was privileged to have retired Supreme Court Justice Ruperto G. Martin as the first chairman of its Board of Trustees, with Dean Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr. as vice chairman and Arellano University School of Law cum laude graduate, businessman and law practitioner Eliseo P. Ocampo as executive director. Upon his retirement, Justice Martin was replaced by Dean Magsalin Sr. as chairman, who served until his untimely demise in 1992. Arellano University Chairman and President Florentino E. Cayco, Jr. then took over as chairman of the Foundation. In April 1995 Chairman Cayco died and was replaced by Dean Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, with Paulino F. Cayco as co-chairman. Dean Mariano F. Magsalin, Jr. was appointed executive director of the Foundation, a position he held until 2007. At present, retired Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura sits as chairman, Francisco P.V. Cayco as co-chairman and Atty. Gabriel P. dela Peña as executive director.
The first dean of the law school under Arellano Law Foundation management was bar first-placer and Harvard Master of Laws graduate Rodolfo D. Robles. Due to pressing business commitments, Dean Robles had to go on an indefinite leave. In his absence, Florentino E. Cayco, Jr., then Arellano University chairman and president, sat as Dean of the College of Law. He was later succeeded by Agriculture Undersecretary Dante Q. Barbosa who served until early 1986. It was from Dean Barbosa that Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr. took over as dean. Dean Magsalin’s term was however interrupted when he suffered a major illness that rendered him temporarily unable to continue with his work. Justice Jose C. Vitug, a retired associate justice of the Supreme Court, took the helm as acting dean in his stead. Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr. subsequently recuperated and, in fact, re-assumed his deanship until his death in 1992. Bar topnotcher Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, now a retired associate justice of the Supreme Court, was tapped to succeed Dean Magsalin Sr. until the former was appointed DECS undersecretary in November 1994. Mariano F. Magsalin Jr. then took over as Dean of AUSL and Executive Director of ALF. It was during Magsalin Jr. deanship when Nelson S. Victorino (No.6 in 1993)landed a place among the top ten in the bar examination. During the term of Dean Jose R. Sundiang, Sr., three graduates of Arellano University School of Law landed among the Bar topnotchers for two consecutive years, namely Paolo Carlo C. Tolentino (No. 3 in 2010), Daren L. Salipsip (No. 10 in 2010) and Cherry Liez O. Rafal-Roble (No. 3 in 2011). Also in 2011, Arellano University School of Law-Arellano Law Foundation was awarded recognition by the Board of Legal Education as one of the Top Ten Law Schools in the Philippines.