It all began in 1938 through the efforts of Florentino Cayco, Sr. when the School of Law was established and formed the nucleus of Arellano University. Named after the first Filipino Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Cayetano Arellano, the original school was located in historic Intramuros where classes were held until the 1945 Battle of Manila.
A few months after the cessation of hostilities, classes resumed in an Old Spanish type building along Legarda Street in Sampaloc, Manila. It was the first law school opened after World War II which boasted of a strong faculty lineup, among whom were Fred Ruiz Castro, who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruperto G. Martin, and Antonio Barredo, who were likewise appointed as Associate Justices of the same court. It also had an active student population that was in the thick of every burning national issue at the time.
In 1948, the School was moved to Plaza Guipit, along with the other colleges of Arellano University. In 1955, the school was relocated back to its old site in Legarda, but this time housed in a modern four-storey concrete building.
The first 40 years of existence of the Arellano University School of Law (AUSL) produced graduates who topped the Bar Examinations, including former Congressman Francisco Sumulong, Dean Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr., the late Congressman Jose Zafra, and businessman Augusto Syjuco. Other legal luminaries who graduated from the school were the late Court of Appeals Justice Ramon Gaviola, former Arellano University President Florentino Cayco, Jr., bankers/finance professionals Hermilo Rodis, Eliseo P. Ocampo, Manuel Abrogar III, and Antonio de Las Alas, Jr., insurance executive Domingo R. Sioson, Police General Manuel Roxas and Manila Police Chief Gerardo Tamayo.
The first AUSL Dean was Vicente Sinco, who served from 1938 to 1940, and later became the President of the University of the Philippines. Francisco 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, served from 1940 to 1956. He was followed by Enrique Voltaire Garcia who held office from 1956 until 1963. Manila Councilor and bar placer Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr. then assumed the deanship in 1963, holding it until the Arellano Law Foundation ("Foundation") took over in 1979. The first AUSL Dean under the Foundation management was bar first-placer and Harvard University Master of Laws graduate Rodolfo O. Robles. Due to pressing business commitments, Dean Robles had to go on an indefinite leave of absence. In his place, Florentino Cayco Jr., then University Chairman and President, sat as Dean of the College of Law. He was later succeeded by Agriculture Undersecretary Dante Barbosa, who served until early 1986, to be followed by Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr., whose deanship was interrupted when he suffered an ailment that rendered him temporarily unable to continue with his work. Jose C. Vitug, retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, took the helm as Acting Dean in his stead. Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr. later re-assumed the post and held it until his death in 1992. Bar topnotcher Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura was tapped to succeed Magsalin. When Dean Nachura was appointed as DECS Undersecretary in November 1994, he had to relinquish the deanship due to conflict of interest. He was replaced by his Assistant Dean, Mariano F. Magsalin Jr., who took over the realms of the Dean until he was forced to give up the position due to health reasons. He was replaced by Jose R. Sundiang Sr. who took over as Dean but had to give up the position due to health reasons in favor of his Assistant, Virgilio Gesmundo who remains as Dean up to the present.
In the early 1970's, enrollment in the School of Law took a sudden decrease due to the declaration of Martial Law. "In 1978, the Securities and Exchange Commission granted a Certificate of Incorporation to Arellano Law Foundation, a non-stock, non-profit corporation established by alumni, faculty members and employees of Arellano University whose main purpose is the upgrading of the standards of the legal profession and the efficient, fair, and honest administration of justice." Among its purposes was the establishment and operation of a law school, so, on April 22, 1979, Arellano University turned the school over to the Arellano Law Foundation by virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), whereby the school would be managed by the Foundation with the financial support of the University, and would remain as a college of the University. In 1997, the MOA between the Arellano University and the Arellano Law Foundation was amended to grant fiscal autonomy to the Foundation.
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.
Last updated: July 25, 2014