Philippine Bar Examination
The Philippine Bar Examination is the professional licensure examination for lawyers in the Philippines.
It is the only professional licensure exam in the country that is not supervised by the Professional Regulation Commission. The exam is exclusively administered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines through the Supreme Court Bar Examination Committee.
- 1 Brief history
- 2 Admission requirements
- 3 Committee of Bar Examiners
- 4 Bar review programs
- 5 Coverage
- 6 Grading system
- 7 Increasing difficulty
- 8 Waiting period
- 9 Admission of successful bar examinees
- 10 Controversies
- 11 Bar Topnotchers List
- 12 External links
- 13 See also
- 14 References
The first Philippine Bar Exams was given in 1903 but the results were released in 1905. Jose I. Quintos obtained the highest rating of 96.33%, Sergio Osmena, Sr. was first with 95.66%, F. Salas was third with 94.5% and Manuel L.Quezon fourth with 87.83%. The first bar exam was held in 1903, with 13 examinees, while the 2008 bar examination is the 107th (given per Article 8, Section 5, 1987 Constitution). The 2001 bar exam had the highest number of passers—1,266 out of 3,849 examinees, or 32.89%, while 2006 had the highest examinees -.6,187. However, the Supreme Court of the Philippines' Office of the Bar Confidant announced that (a new and official record of) 6,533 law graduates will take the 2008 Bar examinations.
The most notable was the 1999 bar examinations which recorded the lowest passing rate of 16.59% or with a total number of 660 successful examinees. Also, the 2003 bar exam was marred by controversy when the Court ordered a retake of the Mercantile law due to questionnaire leakage. In 2005, the High Tribunal implemented the "five-strike" rule, which disqualifies five-time flunkers from taking future bar exams.
A bar candidate must meet the following academic qualifications:
- Holder of a professional degree in law from a recognized law school in the Philippines
- Holder of a bachelor's degree with academic credits in certain required subjects from a recognized college or university in the Philippines or abroad.
He or she should also meet certain non-academic requisites:
- A Filipino citizen.
- At least twenty-one (21) years of age.
- A resident of the Philippines.
- Satisfactory evidence of good moral character (usually a certificate from the dean of law school or an immediate superior at work).
- No charges involving moral turpitude have been filed against the candidate or are pending in any court in the Philippines.
In March 2010 the Philippine Supreme Court Issued Bar Matter 1153 amending provisions in sec 5 and 6 of rule 138 of the rules of court now allowing Filipino foreign law school graduates to take the bar exam provided that they comply with the following: a. completion of all courses leading to a degree of Bachelor of laws or its equivalent b. recognition or accreditation of the law school by proper authority c. completion of all fourth year subjects in a program of a law school duly accredited by the Philippine Government d. present proof of completing a separate bachelor's degree
Committee of Bar Examiners
The Supreme Court appoints memberships in the Committee of Bar Examiners, the official task force for formulating bar exam questions, instituting policy directives, executing procedures, grading bar examination papers, and releasing the results of the annual bar examination.
The committee is chaired by an incumbent Justice of the Supreme Court, who is designated by the Supreme Court to serve for a term of one year. The members of the committee includes eight (8) members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, who also hold office for a term of one year. While the Justice who shall act as Chairman is immediately known, committee members must exert every effort to conceal their identities until the oath-taking of the successful bar examinees, approximately six months after the bar exam.
Bar review programs
Candidates who meet all the admission requirements usually enroll in special review classes after graduating from law school. These programs are held from April to September in law schools, colleges, universities, and review centers.
Program schedule, content, and delivery differs from one review program to another. Lecturers in these programs are called bar reviewers. They are usually full-time professors and part-time professorial lecturers in law schools and universities. Most review programs invite incumbent and retired justices and high ranking public officials both as a marketing tool and as a program innovation.
The examination covers the following topics and their associated subtopic, popularly known as the bar subjects:
- Political and Public International Law
- Labor and Social Legislation
- Civil Law
- Mercantile Law
- Criminal Law
- Remedial Law
- Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises
The eight bar subjects are separately graded. Each subject contributes to the general average in the following proportion:
|Labor Law and Social Legislation||10%|
|Political and International Law||15%|
|Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises||5%|
The passing average fixed by law is 75%, with no grade falling below 50% in any bar subject.
Passing average vs. Passing rate
The passing average is the minimum grade in the exam required to be admitted to the practice of law. The passing rate is the proportion of total number of bar passers in relation to the total number of bar examinees. It is usually computed on two levels—the national level (national bar passing rate), and the law school level (law school passing rate).
In the past, passing averages were considerably lower to admit more new lawyers (i.e. 69% in 1947, 69.45% in 1946, 70% in 1948). Since 1982, the passing average has been fixed at 75%. This has led to a dramatic decrease in the national passing rate of bar examinees, from an all-time high of 75.17% in 1954 to an all-time low of 16.59% in 1999 (all-time low should have been the single digit 5% national passing rate for the 2007 bar examination if the Supreme Court did not lower the passing average to 70% and lowered the disqualification rate in 3 subjects). In recent years, the annual national bar passing rate ranges from 20% to 30%.
Passing percentage trends (1978-2014)
, a total of or
|2014||18.82% (1,126 out of 5,984)|
|2010||20.26% (982 out of 4,847)|
|2005||27.22% (1,526 out of 5,607)|
|2000||20.84% (979 out of 4,698)|
|1995||30.90% (987 out of 3,194)|
|1990||27.94% (866 out of 3,100)|
|1985||25.78% (701 out of 2,719)|
|1980||33.61% (605 out of 1,800)|
|1978||56.93% (1,076 out of 1,890)|
Law school passing rates
The law school rankings were based on the cumulative performance of law schools in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Bar Examinations. The list only included law schools which had 20 or more examinees. The rankings were certified by the Supreme Court’s Office of the Bar Confidant:
Excellence in Legal Education (top five)
- University of the Philippines (73.71%)
- Ateneo de Manila University (67.55%)
- San Beda College-Manila (67.13%)
- University of San Carlos (58.00%)
- Ateneo de Davao University (53.02%)
Outstanding Law Schools (rest of the top ten)
- University of Santo Tomas (43.98%)
- University of Cebu (41.49%)
- San Beda College-Alabang (39.10%)
- Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (35.80%)
- Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (32.20%)
Role of the Supreme Court, Criticisms
In 2007, only 5% (of the 5,626 who took the 2007 tests, or less than 300) got the passing grade of 75%. Thus, the Supreme Court adjusted the standard to 70% and the disqualification rate in 3 subjects (civil, labor and criminal law) from 50 to 45%. Accordingly, 1,289 or 22.91%, "passed." This passing grade reduction is highly unusual, since it last happened in the 1981 exam when the passing grade was lowered to 72.5%. Prior to 1982, the passing mark jumped unpredictably from year to year: 69.45 percent in 1946; 69 in 1947; 70 in 1948, 1963, 1972 and 1974; 71 in 1961; 71.5 in 1953, 1964 and 1965; 72 in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1967; 72.5 in 1954, 1962 and 1981; 73 in 1950, 1956, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1975, 1978 and 1980; 73.5 in 1955 and 1979; 74 in 1949, 1951, 1952, 1966, 1971, 1973 and 1977; and 74.5 in 1976. In 1954, the Court lowered the passing grade to 72.5%, even if the passing percentage was already at its highest at 75.17%. In 1999, moves to lower the passing grade to 74% failed, after Justice Fidel Purisima, bar committee chairman failed to disclose that his nephew took the examination. He was censured and his honoraria was reduced to half.
Bar topnotchers are bar examinees who garnered the highest bar exam grades in a particular year. Every year, the Supreme Court releases the bar top ten list. The list contains the names of bar examinees who obtained the ten highest grades. It is possible for more than ten examinees to place in the top ten because numerical ties in the computation of grades usually occur.
From 1913 to 2014, schools which have produced bar topnotchers (1st placers) are as follows:
- University of the Philippines College of Law - forty-seven (47) bar topnotchers
- Ateneo de Manila Law School - twenty-one (21) bar topnotchers
- San Beda College of Law - eight (8) bar topnotchers
- Philippine Law School - five (5) bar topnotchers
- Far Eastern University Institute of Law - four (4) bar topnotchers
- University of Manila College of Law - four (4) bar topnotchers
- University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law - three (3) bar topnotchers
- University of the Cordilleras (formerly Baguio Colleges Foundation) College of Law - two (2) bar topnotchers
- Manila Law College Foundation (formerly Escuela de Derecho de Manila) - one (1) bar topnotcher
- Manuel L. Quezon University College of Law - one (1) bar topnotcher
- Holy Name University (formerly Divine Word College of Tagbilaran) - one (1) bar topnotcher
- University of the East College of Law - one (1) bar topnotcher
- San Sebastian College - Recoletos - one (1) bar topnotcher
Two bar examinees topped the bar exams without officially graduating from any Philippine law school:
- Jose W. Diokno - former Senator of the Philippines; 1st placer, 1945 bar exams. Mr. Diokno, who tied for Number One with Mr. Jovito Salonga in the 1945 Bar Exams, would have graduated from the University of Santo Tomas had not World War II supervened. Mr. Diokno's success in the bar exams is further underscored by the fact that he was also under-age and that he also placed number 1 in the 1940 CPA Board exams which he took while in law school, after graduating summa cum laude from then De La Salle College at the age of 17. This double number 1 feat may never be paralleled. The closest may have been Cesar L. Villanueva (from the Ateneo Law School) who placed second in the 1981 Bar Exams and sixth place in the 1982 CPA Board Exams.
- Carolina C. Griño-Aquino - former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; 1st placer, 1950 bar exams. Ms. Aquino (who later became the wife of Mr. Ramon Aquino, 6th placer in 1939 Bar Exams) was a special student of the UP College of Law, where she finished her last two years of law school having taken her first two years of law school at the Colegio de San Agustin in Iloilo. Ms. Aquino was advised to take her last two years of law school in UP by Colegio de San Agustin Law Dean Felipe Ysmael. Coincidentally, Mr. Ysmael (a UP Law graduate himself) placed number 1 in the 1917 Bar Exams. Since Ms. Aquino only took her last two years of law at UP, she can't be certified as an official UP law graduate. Both spouses Aquino (in addition to being topnotchers) also served as Justices of the Supreme Court.
In the past, non-law school graduates were allowed to take the bar. However, the Revised Rules of Court and Supreme Court Circulars allow Filipino graduates of Philippine law schools (and subject to certain conditions, Filipino graduates of foreign law schools) to take the bar, necessarily excluding non-law graduates and foreigners who have law degrees from taking part in the exercise.
While not a guarantee for topping the bar, academic excellence in law school is a good indicator of an examinee's fortune in the bar exams. Ateneo Law School's only summa cum laude graduate, Claudio Teehankee, placed number one in the 1940 Bar Exams. It is worth noting that Teehankee's son, Manuel Antonio, followed in his footsteps by graduating at the top of his Ateneo Law School class (albeit, not as summa cum laude) and placing first in the 1983 bar exams. Claudio's nephew, Enrique (a cum laude graduate from the UP College of Law), also placed number one in the 1976 bar exams. Claudio eventually became Supreme Court Chief Justice, Manuel was formerly Department of Justice Undersecretary and Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland while Enrique is a successful private practitioner.
This father-son-nephew feat has yet to (and, perhaps, may never) be equalled in the annals of Philippine Bar. For siblings, the closest is when Manuel B. Zamora, Jr. placed third in the 1961 Bar Exams and younger brother Ronaldo placed first in the 1969 Bar Exams.
The San Beda College of Law's sole magna cum laude graduate, Florenz Regalado, ranked 1st in the 1954 Bar exams with a mark of 96.70%. The record is the highest average in the Philippine Bar Examinations, to date. Regalado later served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
The UP College of Law (which has yet to produce a summa cum laude graduate) had five of its seventeen magna cum laude graduates (the College of Law first conferred the honor to Rafael Dinglasan in 1925 and, to date, last conferred the same honor to Dionne Marie Sanchez in 2007) place number one in their respective bar exams: Rafael Dinglasan in 1925, Lorenzo Sumulong in 1929, Deogracias Eufemio in 1962, Roberto San Jose in 1966 and Ronaldo Zamora in 1969. Dinglasan became a Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Sumulong became Senator of the Republic and a renowned statesman, Eufemio and San Jose established their respective successful private law practices while Zamora became Executive Secretary to then President Joseph Estrada and is currently the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.
Highest and lowest topnotcher grades
A standard was created in 1940, when Claudio Teehankee (future Supreme Court Chief Justice), from the Ateneo Law School, got a grade of 94.35% when he topped the examinations. This record was obliterated four years later in 1944 when Jovito Salonga and Jose W. Diokno tied with the highest score of 95.3%. This was the first time that first place ended in a tie. When they took the 1944 Bar Exams, Atty. Salonga was an undergraduate at the UP College of Law while Atty. Diokno (future Senator) was an undergraduate of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law. After passing the bar, Atty. Salonga (future Senate President) went back to UP to complete his bacholer's degree in law, earning it in 1946. The only other instance of a tie at first place of the bar exams was when Edwin Enrile (salutatorian of his Ateneo Law School class) and Florin Hilbay (an honor student of the UP College of Law) both garnered the same score in 1999. Atty. Enrile served as Deputy Executive Secretary to President Gloria Arroyo and as a Professorial Lecturer at the Ateneo Law School while Atty. Hilbay is a Professor of Law at the UP College of Law.
After another four years, the "bar" was raised a few notches when Manuel G. Montecillo of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law got a grade of 95.50% when he bested all the bar examinees of 1948. The following year, another record was set when Anacleto C. Mañgaser, an alumnus of the Philippine Law School, got a grade of 95.85% when he topped the 1949 bar exams.
Ferdinand Marcos (future President of the Philippines) of the UP College of Law scored 98.8% when he topped the 1939 Philippine Bar Examinations. But this result was disputed and the Supreme Court officially recognized Florenz D. Regalado's (San Beda College) score of 96.7% in the 1954 Bar Examinations as the highest score ever to be made in the Philippine Bar. Marcos' official bar score is at 92.35%. 
The lowest grade was obtained by Ateneo Law School's Mercedita L. Ona, 83.55%, 2007, which erased the prior record of 84.10%, obtained by Adolfo Brillantes of Escuela de Derecho de Manila (now Manila Law College Foundation) in 1920. Atty. Ona was the just the latest of women first placers. In 1930, Tecla San Andres (an alumna of the UP College of Law and future Senator) broke the proverbial "glass ceiling" when she became the first woman to top the bar with a grade of 89.4%. Ameurfina A. Melencio (also an alumna of the UP College of Law and who later became a Justice of the Supreme Court) has the highest grade of all female bar topnotchers in recorded history, when she obtained a 93.85% rating in 1947.
Below is a listing of all 100 first-placers (from 1913 to 2014) ranked from highest to lowest in terms of rating obtained. It should be noted however that bar ratings are not exactly comparable from year-to-year as the difficulty of the exams varies through the years.
Highest scores in specific bar subjects
While no bar examinee has ever reached a 100% general average, several bar examinees have garnered perfect and near-perfect grades in specific bar subjects.
In 1930, Tecla San Andres-Ziga (future Senator) of the University of the Philippines got a grade of 99% in Remedial Law. She also placed number one in the bar exams of the same year.
In 1949, Anacleto C. Mañgaser of the Philippine Law School earned 100% in Mercantile Law, and placed 1st in the bar exams of that year. His average of 95.85% broke all prior records before it was bested by Florenz Regalado in 1954. Mañgaser's bar rating remains the second highest of all time.
In 1953, Juan Ponce Enrile (future Defense Minister and Senate President) of the University of the Philippines College of Law, where he graduated salutatorian and cum laude, earned 100% in Mercantile Law and placed 11th in the bar exams of that year.
In 1955, Raul Gonzales (future Congressman, Secretary of Justice and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel) of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law earned 99% in Remedial Law and 95% in International Law. However, he did not place in the top ten.
In 1973, Renato Franciso (Executive Judge of RTC Malolos, Bulacan) of the Ateneo de Manila Law School obtained a perfect score of 100% in Criminal Law.
In 1997, Maria Celia H. Fernandez of the University of the Philippines College of Law, where she graduated salutatorian and cum laude, earned 100% in Legal Ethics and emerged as the year's bar topnotcher.
In 2001, Rodolfo Ma. A. Ponferrada, that year's valedictorian of the University of the Philippines College of Law, obtained a perfect score of 100% in Remedial Law, the highest weighted of the bar subjects. The difference (3.75%) between his final bar examination score (93.80%) and that of the second-placer, Jesus Paolo U. Protacio (90.05%), that year's valedictorian of the Ateneo de Manila Law School and who got a perfect score of 100% in Criminal Law, is the highest of all time. Notably, that year's valedictorian of the San Beda College of Law, Adonis V. Gabriel, obtained a perfect score of 100% in Political Law and placed 8th (88.25%). The 3.75% difference between No. 1 and No. 2 eclipsed the previous highest difference of 2.10% registered in 1966 when Roberto V. San Jose (valedictorian of the UP College of Law) garnered a grade of 90.6% versus the 88.5% of the tied second placers, Ruben F. Balane (salutatorian of the UP College of Law) and Pablo S. Trillana III (valedictorian of the San Beda College of Law).
In 2005, Gladys V. Gervacio of the University of Perpetual Help-Rizal earned a perfect 100% in two bar subjects—Legal Ethics and Labor Law. She placed 6th in the bar exams of that year. In 2011, she passed the California State Bar examinations.
The difficulty of the recent bar examinations, compared to exams of the past, can be attributed to the following factors:
- The growing volume of Philippine case and statutory laws is unprecedented. Laws, jurisprudence, and legal doctrines of the past constitute only a small fraction of contemporary Philippine legal materials, which are increasing on a daily basis.
- The 75% passing average with no grade lower than 50% in any subject is already fixed by law. Actual candidates who scored 74.99% in the general average were not admitted to the practice of law, unless they retake the bar exams.
- The Three-Failure Rule is now in place. Candidates who have failed the bar exams for three times are not permitted to take another bar exam until they re-enroll and pass regular fourth-year review classes and attend a pre-bar review course in an approved law school.
- The Five-Strike Rule is implemented since 2005. The rule limits to five the number of times a candidate may take the Bar exams. The rule disqualifies a candidate after failing in three examinations. However, he is permitted to take fourth and fifth examinations if he successfully completes a one-year refresher course for each examination.
- The four-year bachelor's degree is required before admission to law school. Hence, every bar examinee has to hold at least two degrees—one in law and one in another field. In the past, law schools readily admit high school graduates and two-year Associate in Arts degree holders.
After the end of the Second World War, the passing rate in the succeeding years was remarkably high, ranging from 56 to 72% percent. However, after Associate Justice J.B.L. Reyes, a noted scholar, was appointed Chairman of the 1955 Bar Examinations, the passing rate for that year dropped dramatically to 26.8%, with a mortality rate of 73.2%. That ratio has been invariably maintained in the 50+ years since.
The largely essay-type exams are manually checked by members of the Committee of Bar Examiners. Candidates have to wait from the last Sunday of the bar exams in September up to the date of the release of results, which traditionally happens before or during the Holy Week (the last week of March or the first week of April) of the following year.
During this period, candidates (who already hold law and bachelor's degrees) may opt to work in law firms and courts as legal researchers, teach in liberal arts and business colleges, function in companies and organizations using their pre-law degrees (i.e. Communication Arts, Accounting, Economics, Journalism, etc.), help run the family business, or take a long vacation.
Admission of successful bar examinees
The Office of the Bar Confidant of the Philippine Supreme Court releases the Official List of Successful Bar Examinees, usually during the last week of March or the first week of April of every year. Candidates whose names appear in the list are required to take and subscribe before the Supreme Court the corresponding Oath of Office.
Candidates shall take an Oath of Office and sign their names in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. The oath-taking is usually held in May at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) with a formal program where all Justices of the Supreme Court, sitting en banc, formally approve the applications of the successful bar candidates. The eight bar examiners are officially introduced to the public. A message to the newly inducted lawyers is delivered by one of the justices. Candidates who made the bar top ten list are also introduced and honored. The deans of all Philippine law schools are requested to attend the ceremony and grace the front seats of the plenary hall.
In the 1930s, a distant relative of Imelda Romualdez Marcos who was a Justice in the High Court resigned after a controversy involving the bar examinations. Justice Ramon Fernandez was forced to protect his name and honor when he resigned because of a bar examination scandal.
On November 23, 1979, the High Court, per Justice Pacifico de Castro ordered new examinations in labor and social legislation and taxation.
On May 7, 1982, 12 of the Supreme Court's 14 justices resigned amid expose "that the court fixed the bar-examination score of a member's son so that he would pass." Justice Vicente Ericta was accused to have personally approached the bar chairman to inquire whether his (Ericta's) son passed the bar. Ferdinand Marcos accepted the resignations and appointed the new Justices. Chief Justice Enrique Fernando wept at a news conference as he accepted responsibility for rechecking and changing the exam score of Gustavo Ericta, son of Justice Vicente Ericta.
Associate Justice Fidel Purisima, chairman of the bar committee, did not disclose that he had a nephew who was taking the bar examination in that year. He was merely censured and his honoraria as bar examiner were forfeited.
On September 24, 2003, the Supreme Court, per a bleary-eyed Associate Justice Jose Vitug, annulled the tests results on mercantile law after "confirmation of what could be the most widespread case of cheating in the 104-year-old bar exams".
Bar Topnotchers List
The Office of the Bar Confidant releases an official Bar Topnotchers list together with the list of names of all successful bar examinees. The Bar Topnotchers list contains the names of the candidates who garnered the highest general averages in the bar exam for that year. The highest ranking candidate in the list is known as the bar topnotcher. The list has always been the subject of much media attention and public speculation.
Making a place in the list is widely regarded as an important life achievement, an attractive professional qualification, and a necessary improvement in a lawyer's professional and social status.
Famous bar topnotchers
Presidents and Vice-Presidents
- Manuel A. Roxas - fifth President of the Philippines; 1st placer (92%), 1913 Bar Exams (UP)
- Diosdado P. Macapagal - ninth President of the Philippines; 1st placer (89.85%), 1936 Bar Exams (UST)
- Ferdinand E. Marcos - tenth President of the Philippines; 1st placer (98.80%) - Disputed / (92.35%) - Official, 1939 Bar Exams (UP)
- José P. Laurel - third President of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1915 Bar Exams (UP)
- Elpidio C. Quirino - sixth President of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1915 Bar Exams (UP)
- Sergio S. Osmeña - fifth President of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1903 Bar Exams (UST)
- Manuel L. Quezon - second President of the Philippines; 4th placer, 1903 Bar Exams (UST)
- Carlos P. García - eighth President of the Philippines; 7th placer, 1923 Bar Exams (PLS)
- Emmanuel N. Pelaez - former Vice-President of the Philippines; 1st placer, 1938 Bar Exams (UM)
- Arturo M. Tolentino - former Vice-President of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1934 Bar Exams (UP)
Incidentally, each President who happened to be a lawyer was also a bar placer. In the 2010 presidential elections, candidate Gilberto Teodoro (an alumnus of the University of the Philippines) placed first in the 1989 Bar Exams, with a grade of 86.185%. He however was fourth in the elections, losing to Benigno S. Aquino III. A lawyer, Jejomar C. Binay (also from UP), won the Vice-presidency when he bested former Senator Manuel A. Roxas II (a grandson of the first bar topnotcher, President Manuel A. Roxas).
Two other topnotchers have sought previously failed to secure the presidency. Vice-President Pelaez (1938 Bar Topnotcher) lost the Nacionalista Party nomination to President Marcos (1939 Bar Topnotcher) in the 1965 presidential elections, while Senate President Jovito Salonga (1944 Bar Topnotcher) of the Liberal Party lost to President Ramos of Lakas-NUCD in the 1992 presidential elections.
Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Justices
- José Yulo - 6th Philippine Chief Justice; 3rd placer, 1913 Bar Exams (UP College of Law)
- Ricardo Paras - 8th Philippine Chief Justice; 2nd placer, 1913 Bar Exams (UP College of Law)
- César Bengzon - 9th Philippine Chief Justice; 2nd placer, 1919 Bar Exams (UP College of Law)
- Roberto Concepcion - 10th Philippine Chief Justice; 1st placer, 1924 Bar Exams (UST Faculty of Civil Law)
- Querube Makalintal - 11th Philippine Chief Justice; 7th placer, 1933 Bar Exams (UP College of Civil Law)
- Ramon Aquino - 15th Philippine Chief Justice; 9th placer, 1939 Bar Exams (UP College of Law)
- Claudio Teehankee - 16th Philippine Chief Justice; 1st placer, 1940 Bar Exams (Ateneo Law School)
- Pedro Yap - 17th Philippine Chief Justice; 1st placer, 1946 Bar Exams (UP College of Law)
- Andres Narvasa - 19th Philippine Chief Justice; 2nd placer, 1951 Bar Exams (UST Faculty of Civil Law)
- Artemio Panganiban - 21st Philippine Chief Justice; 6th placer, 1960 Bar Exams (FEU Institute of Law)
- José P. Laurel - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 2nd placer, 1915 Bar Exams
- J. B. L. Reyes - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 6th placer, 1922 Bar Exams
- Cecilia Muñoz Palma - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 1st placer, 1937 Bar Exams
- Ambrosio Padilla - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 3rd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
- Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 1st placer, 1947 Bar Exams
- Irene Cortes - former Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 9th placer, 1948 Bar Exams
- Adolfo Azcuna - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 4th placer, 1962 Bar Exams
- Antonio Eduardo Nachura - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 7th placer, 1967 Bar Exams
- Presbitero Velasco, Jr. - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 6th placer, 1971 Bar Exams
- Antonio Carpio - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; 6th placer, 1975 Bar Exams
- Arturo D. Brion - Philippine Supreme Court Justice; former Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 1st placer, 1974 Bar Exams
- Lucas Bersamin - Philippine Court of Appeals Justice; 9th placer, 1973 Bar Exams
Senators and Representatives
- Manuel A. Roxas - former Philippine Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives; 1st placer, 1913 Bar Exams
- Manuel L. Quezon - former Philippine Senate President; 4th placer, 1903 Bar Exams
- Arturo M. Tolentino - former Philippine Senate President; 2nd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
- Ferdinand E. Marcos - former Philippine Senate President; 1st placer, 1939 Bar Exams
- Jovito Salonga - former Philippine Senate President; 1st placer, 1944 Bar Exams
- Neptali Gonzales - former Philippine Senate President; 9th placer, 1949 Bar Exams
- Ernesto M. Maceda - former Philippine Senate President; 10th placer, 1956 Bar Exams
- Franklin M. Drilon - former Philippine Senate President; 3rd placer, 1969 Bar Exams
- Lorenzo Sumulong - former Philippine Senator; 1st placer, 1929 Bar Exams
- Jose W. Diokno - former Philippine Senator; 1st placer, 1944 Bar Exams
- Aquilino Pimentel III (Koko Pimentel) - Philippine Senator; 1st placer, 1990 Bar Exams
- Sergio S. Osmeña - former Speaker of the House of Representatives; 2nd placer, 1903 Bar Exams
- Antonio Eduardo Nachura - former Samar Representative; 7th placer, 1967 Bar Exams
- Prospero Nograles - Speaker of the House of Representatives; 2nd placer, 1971 Bar Exams
- Arturo D. Brion - Assemblyman, Philippine National Assembly; 1st placer, 1974 Bar Exams
- Gilberto Eduardo Gerardo C. Teodoro, Jr. - former Tarlac Representative; 1st placer, 1989 Bar Exams
- José P. Laurel- former Senator; 2nd Placer 1915
Appointees and career service officials
- Roberto Concepcion - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 1st placer, 1924 Bar Exams
- Lorenzo Sumulong - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 1st placer, 1929 Bar Exams
- Arturo Tolentino - Member, Philippine Civil Code Commission; former Minister of Foreign Affairs; 2nd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
- Ambrosio Padilla - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 3rd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
- Diosdado Macapagal - President, Philippine Constitutional Convention of 1971; 1st placer, 1936 Bar Exams
- Cecilia Muñoz-Palma - President, Philippine Constitutional Commission of 1986; Chairperson, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; 1st placer, 1937 Bar Exams
- Jovito Salonga - former Chairman, Presidential Commission on Good Government; 1st placer, 1944 Bar Exams
- Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera - Chancellor, Philippine Judicial Academy; Chairperson, Legal Publications Committee, Supreme Court Centenary Celebrations; 1st placer, 1947 Bar Exams
- Andres Narvasa - Chairman, Preparatory Commission for Constitutional Reform; 2nd placer, 1951 Bar Exams
- Gabriel Singson - former Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1952 Bar Exams
- Florenz D. Regalado - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 1st placer, 1954 Bar Exams
- Jose Nolledo - Delegate, 1971 Constitutional Convention & Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 3rd placer, 1958 Bar Exams
- Haydee Yorac - former Chairperson, Presidential Commission on Good Government; former Commissioner, Commission on Elections; 8th placer, 1962 Bar Exams
- Adolfo Azcuna - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; 4th placer, 1962 Bar Exams
- Joaquin G. Bernas - Member, 1986 Constitutional Commission; Member, Feliciano Commission investigating the Oakwood mutiny; 9th placer, 1962 Bar Exam
- Antonio Eduardo Nachura - former Solicitor General; 7th placer, 1967 Bar Exams
- Franklin Drilon - former Secretary of Labor and Employment; 3rd placer, 1969 Bar Exams
- Arturo D. Brion - Secretary of Labor and Employment; 1st placer, 1974 Bar Exams
- Antonio Carpio - former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel; 6th placer, 1975 Bar Exams
- Simeon Marcelo - former Philippine Ombudsman; 5th placer, 1979 Bar Exams
- Leila de Lima - current Secretary of Justice; former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson; 8th placer, 1985 Bar Exams
- Romeo C. de la Cruz -- former Solicitor General; 9th placer, 1957 Bar Exams
- Pablo P. Garcia - former Governor of Cebu; 3rd placer, 1951 Bar Exams
- Juanito Remulla, Sr. - former Governor of Cavite; 4th placer, 1956 Bar Exams
- Joaquin G. Bernas - former President, Ateneo de Manila University; Dean Emeritus, Ateneo Law School; 9th placer, 1962 Bar Exam
- Jovito Salonga - former Dean, Far Eastern University Institute of Law; 1st placer, 1944 Bar Exams
- Cesar L. Villanueva - Dean, Ateneo Law School; 2nd placer, 1981 Bar Exams
- Supreme Court of the Philippines
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines - Negros Oriental Chapter
- Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, With Due Respect,How to pass, nay, top the bar exams
- Legal education in the Philippines
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines
- Supreme Court of the Philippines
- 2010 Philippine Bar exam bombing
- gmanews.tv, Record 6,533 to take 2008 Bar Exams - SC
- Inquirer.net, First bar exam in RP held in 1901, with 13 test takers
- Inquirer.net, 1,289 pass bar exams
- Section 5, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Section 6, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Section 2, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Section 12, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Section 12, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Section 12, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Rufus Rodriguez. Slaying the Bar Exams Dragon. Rex Bookstore, 2002.
- Rufus B. Rodriguez. Slaying the Bar Exams Dragon. Rex Bookstore, 2002.
- Section 14, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Section 14, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Bar Passing Percentage from 1946-2003. The Practice: Business & Leisure Magazine for Lawyers. August–September 2004 Issue.
- Inquirer.net, With Due Respect, How Arroyo can help produce better lawyers
- List of Bar Topnotchers from 1913 to 2006, Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines.
- Manila Times, 12 April 2008
- Florenz Regalado
- News5 (October 6, 2013). "The 'brilliant' Ferdinand Marcos and others who made Bar exams history". TV5 News Centre. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- GMA NEWS.TV, Women outshine men in RP bar exams
- Cruz, Miguel. "Bar Topnotchers 1970-2000". Inquirer. Inquirer. Retrieved June 12, 2003.
- Business Mirror, 1 April 2008
- Rufus B. Rodriguez. Legal Research. Rex Bookstore, 2002.
- Section 6, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Supreme Court resolution in Bar Matter No. 1161. 2005.
- Section 6, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- JBL: Selected Speeches and Essays in Honor of Justice Jose B.L. Reyes, p. 57-58
- Ricardo B. Teruel. Practical Lawyering in the Philippines. Revised Edition. Central Professional Books, 1999.
- Section 17, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- Section 19, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court.
- query.nytimes.com, AROUND THE WORLD; 12 Philippine Justices Resign in Scandal. Since the 1982 "Ericta Scandal", it was only in 2008 that the Court relaxed the fixed rules on passing grades amid the inhibitions of 5 Justices whose relatives took the exams.
- sun star, Bar leakage extends exams by one Sunday
- "Results of the Philippine Bar Exams." TV Patrol World, ABS-CBN, March 2006.
- Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, Ateneo School of Law, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, FEU Institute of Law, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, MLQU College of Law, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, San Beda College of Law, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, San Sebastian College-Recoletos College of Law, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, UE College of Law, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, UP College of Law, June 2007.
- Faculty and alumni list, UST Faculty of Civil Law, June 2007.