This article is written by Atty. Christine Elvina, Dean, Saint Louis University School of Law
The Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran Community Legal Assistance Office (CJ Moran CLAO) is the official legal aid office of the Saint Louis University School of Law and is the first legal aid office established north of Manila. The CJ Moran CLAO has actively championed the causes of the poor, marginalized, and indigent sectors of the community of the City of Baguio and Northern Luzon by actively conducting informational seminars across different Barangays in Baguio City, empowering alternative dispute resolution mechanisms among communities, and providing legal aid, legal assistance, and free notarization services to the constituents of the City of Baguio and Northern Luzon. Saint Louis University School of Law students are the first students north of Manila to appear before the Regional Trial Courts representing persons deprived of liberty.
Because of CJ Moran CLAO’s active involvement in the promotion of Access to Justice for all, the Legal Education Board (LEB) of the Republic of the Philippines conferred to Saint Louis University School of Law the following awards during the Legal Education Summit held on 2 December until 4 December 2022:
- The Pioneer Law School Clinic Award
- The Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo Virtual Legal Advocate Award
- CLEP Community Advocate Award
- The Pioneer Law Student Practitioner Award
Because of the comprehensive model of CJ Moran CLAO’s Community Dispute Resolution Center, which aims to add another layer of mediation after the barangay conciliation and before the filing of a court case, student-practitioners of CJ Moran CLAO were invited to conduct a workshop on alternative dispute resolutions during the Legal Education Summit. The Dean of the School of Law was also one of the panelists during the Legal Education Summit.
Saint Louis University School of Law has indeed raised the bar in the conduct of legal aid to ensure access to justice for everyone regardless of economic or social position and has given the constituents of the City of Baguio an adequate, competent, and cost-free space for the redress of the community members’ grievances.