The history of Arellano University School of Law (AUSL) begun in 1913 through the efforts of Florentino Cayco, Sr. when the School of Law was established and formed as the nucleus of Arellano University. Named after the first Filipino Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Cayetano S. 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, and Ruperto G. Martin and Antonio Barredo, who became Associate Justices of the same court. The AUSL had an active student population that was in the thick of every burning national issue at that time.
In 1948, the School was moved to Plaza Guipit, along with 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.
In the early 70's, enrollment in the AUSL took a sudden decrease because of the declaration of Martial Law. In 1978, the Securities and Exchange Commission granted a Certificate of Incorporation to Arellano Law Foundation (ALF), a non-stock, non-profit corporation established by the alumni, faculty and employees of Arellano University. Its primary purpose is the upgrading of the standards of the legal profession and the efficient, fair, and honest administration of justice. Its secondary purposes were the establishment and operation of a law school. Thus, on April 22, 1979, Arellano University turned over the operation of the School of Law to the Arellano Law Foundation by virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), wherein the School of Law would be managed by the ALF with financial support from the University. The School of Law will continue as an academic 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.
The first AUSL Dean was Vicente Sinco who served from 1938-1940 and later became the President of the University of the Philppines. Francisco Capistrano, a civil law expert who sat as member of the Civil Code Commission that revised the old Civil Code and later became Justice of the Court of Appeals, served as Dean from 1940-1956. He was followed by Enrique Voltaire Garcia who served as Dean from 1956-1963. Manila Councilor and bar placer Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr. then assumed the deanship in 1963, holding the position until the Foundation took over in 1979. The first AUSL Dean under the ALF management was bar examination first-placer and Harvard Law School 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 on until his death in 1992. Bar topnotcher Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura was tapped to succeed Magsalin. In November 1994, Dean Nachura was appointed Undersecretary of the Department of Education, Culture ans Sports (DECS), then elected as member of the House of Representatives and later appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He was replaced by 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., a highly regarded civil and commercial law reviewer. He took over as Dean but had to give up the position due to health reasons in favor of Assistant Dean Virgilio B. Gesmundo, a bar topnotcher, who remained as Dean up to the end of May 2016. Assistant Dean Reynaldo G. Lopez was appointed as Acting Dean during the hiatus. In August 2016, Domingo M. Navarro was appointed as the new Dean and holds the position to date.
It was during Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura's deanship when Nelson S. Victorino (No.5 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.
With the current administration, faculty and staff, Arellano University School of Law continues its long history of academic excellence, boasting with faculty members who are experts in their particular field, producing dedicated and principled lawyers, and a strong alumni holding key positions in the public and private sectors, and in the academe. Over the years, AUSL produce the most number of lawters. In the 2016 bar examinations, AUSL produced 272 new lawyers, the largest number in the country.
Last updated: January 5, 2018