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Law professors Gafar E. Lutian and Manuel R. Riguera had long wanted to do something about the dismal pass rates in the bar examinations.  They were deeply disturbed by the usual experience of law students assiduously studying and preparing for the bar but still failing to make it.  In trying to pinpoint the cause of the high mortality rate in the bar, they observed that legal education consisted in the main of conveying, through lectures and readings, legal knowledge to law students and then having them regurgitate the same through recitations and examinations. The same system continued in the bar review where the reviewees continued to be bombarded with a myriad of laws and cases with the expectation or hope that they would somehow be able to disgorge the same in the bar examination room.
 
The two professors noted that while such input-based learning was doubtless essential to passing the bar, there was a felt need to further train law graduates in the equally vital test-taking competencies of problem analysis, issue-spotting, logical reasoning and argumentative writing. Desirous of helping the bar examinees, Professors Lutian and Riguera drew up plans for a bar review center that would offer not only bar-review lectures but more importantly provide a system of coaching and performance-monitoring that would equip the examinee with the indispensable skills to hurdle the bar.  The guiding objective was to reboot the bar review paradigm from a conclusion-driven to a logic-driven approach.     
 
In late 2004, after extensive brain-storming sessions, in which Professors Riguera and Lutian were joined by their respective spouses Attys. Hazel and Gina, the core group was able to design and finalize a novel and revolutionary  bar review program that included  mock bar exams, one-on-one  coaching, and performance monitoring. In 28 January 2005, Jurists Review Center, Inc. was incorporated with Professor Manuel R. Riguera as the President and Atty. Hazel R. Riguera as the Chief Financial Officer. 
 
2005 was Jurists’ maiden bar review season at the Elena Arcade in Las Piñas City.  It was the first time that an integrated bar review and coaching program had been offered in the country.  Although Jurists was a new player in the industry and the venue was a bit removed from the University Belt, the upstart review center was able to attract 82 reviewees to sign up for its premiere season. Jurists had rocked the establishment! 
 
When the bar results came out in March 2006, Jurists obtained an overall pass rate of 41.38% as against the national passing percentage of 27.20%. For those Jurists reviewees who faithfully followed and adhered to the Jurists training protocol of mock-bars and attendance in one-on-one coaching sessions, the pass rate was an astounding 85%. And Gladys Gervacio, a Jurists reviewee who faithfully followed the Jurists protocol, copped 6th place and scored a perfect 100% in Labor Law and Legal Ethics, a feat unparalleled  in the annals of the bar examinations.  Atty. Gervacio went on to serve for several years as a Jurists coach before eventually moving to the United States to become a successful immigration lawyer.   
 
Jurists’ impressive results caught the attention of the academe, the law studentry, and even the national media. Ms. Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, in her widely-read column “Hidden Agenda” in the Philippine Star, said: “For a bar review center set up only last year, the Jurists Bar Review Center in Las Piñas is gaining quite a reputation.” (Philippine Star, 17 May 2006). Ms. Reyes wrote that Ms. Gervacio’s “remarkable performance she attributes largely to the preparation she received from the Jurists Bar Review Center … with its unique bar review program that features coaching with multi mock bar exams.” (Philippine Star, 14 May 2006). 
 
In the 2006 Bar Review season, the number of enrollees increased to 108. The 2006 season was also notable for the introduction of an English for Bar Reviewees program and the implementation of various refinements to the coaching program. 
 
Out of the 78 Jurists candidates who took the 2006 Bar, 31 emerged triumphant for a pass rate of 40% as against the national pass rate of 30%. The pass rate for those who followed the protocol continued to astound at a remarkable 80%. 
 
Enrollment increased to 154 for the 2007 bar review season. The 2007 Bar was an especially difficult one. Only 1,289 out of 5,626 examinees made the grade for a low 22.91% national pass rate. Despite this, Jurists bar candidates performed above par with 34 out of 91 candidates making it for a 37.36% passing percentage. The examinees who followed faithfully the Jurists training protocol continued to outperform the rest of the pack with a remarkable 70% pass rate. 
 
During the 2008 bar review season, Jurists moved to a new venue at the Philippine Christian University in Taft Avenue, Manila.  Word continued to spread among the law studentry of the marvelous results posted by Jurists and there was a surge in enrollment. The number of coaches was thus increased and the coaching program further fine-tuned in order to cope with the growth in enrollment. 
 
61 out of 150 Jurists examinees hurdled the 2008 bar for a 40.66% pass rate, double the national pass rate of 20.58%. Those who faithfully adhered to the Jurists protocol by taking all the mock bars and attending all the coaching sessions posted a superb 71.76% pass rate.
 
For the 2009 bar review season, Jurists moved to its new home at the Far Eastern University in Nicanor Reyes Street (Morayta), Manila.
 
In the 2009 Bar, Jurists bar examinees again continued to outperform the rest of the pack. 104 out of 249 Jurists bar examinees passed the bar for a success rate of 41.77% as compared to the national pass rate of 24.58%. For those who faithfully followed the Jurists training program by taking all the mock bars and attending all the coaching sessions, the pass rate was an impressive 71%. The performance of the Jurists bar examinees becomes more noteworthy when one considers that the 2009 bar examination was an extremely difficult bar examination with the Supreme Court constrained to lower the passing mark to 71% and to lower the disqualification grade in Taxation from 49% to 45%.
 
The 2010 bar examination, chaired by Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, proved to be another difficult challenge.  Jurists bar examinees rose to the challenge posting a pass rate of 41.67%, more than double the national pass rate of 20.26%.    For those who faithfully followed the Jurists training program, the pass rate was an outstanding 70%.  The difficulty of the 2010 Bar Examination was underscored by the fact that the Supreme Court was constrained to lower the passing grade to 72.5%.
 
Many bar reviewees were understandably worried about the 2011 bar exam.  The Supreme Court, under the stewardship of bar chairman Justice Roberto A. Abad, was making a radical change with the adoption of a new format consisting of multiple-choice questions and performance tests.  Jurists, true to its proactive stance, had anticipated the shift to MCQs and prepared in advance an intensive MCQ training and coaching program and compiled a databank of MCQs.  Jurists had also engaged the services of and consulted with law professors who had passed the New York bar exam, given in MCQ and essay-type format and reputedly the toughest state bar exam in the U.S. 
 
The result was not surprising:  Jurists bar examinees turned in a performance for the ages with 193 out of 307 Jurists bar examinees hurdling the bar for an eye-popping pass rate of 62.87%, nearly double the national pass rate of 31.95%.  For the reviewees who faithfully followed the full training program of mock bars and attendance in the one-on-one coaching sessions, the pass rate was a sensational 73.16%.   The results were a testament to the effectiveness and adaptability of the Jurists program to whatever format the bar exam may take.
 
An agonizingly challenging 2012 bar examination consisting of lengthy MCQs and essay exams held under grinding time pressure resulted in only 949 out of 5,343 aspirants making the grade for a measly pass rate of 17.76%, the fourth lowest in history.  The pass rates of even the top three law schools took a beating but Jurists bar candidates put up a respectable showing besting the national pass rate with a 23.19% pass rate.  For the reviewees who faithfully stuck to the full training protocol of mock bars and one-on-one coaching sessions, the pass rate was a creditable 60.75%.   The new Jurists lawyers were led by Ralph Karlo B. Barcelona of Aquinas University, who placed 7th with a score of 83.43%, in the process breaking the stranglehold of Ateneo de Manila and U.P. on the top ten.  Atty. Barcelona went on to become a Jurists coach. 
 
In the 2013 Bar, Team Jurists continued its tradition of outperformance.  76 Jurists bar examinees hurdled the 2013 Bar for a pass rate of 37.25%, trumping the national pass rate of 22.18%.    For those who faithfully adhered to the Jurists training program, the pass rate was a rousing 68.69%.  The performance of the Jurists bar examinees becomes more noteworthy when one considers that the 2013 bar examination, which featured the resurgence of the essay-type question, was a most exacting bar examination with the Supreme Court constrained to lower the passing mark to 73%.
 
In 2014, Jurists moved to its new home at Madison 101 in New Manila, Quezon City.  Madison 101 was a new building specially built and designed to host review centers and to house reviewees.  In the same year, the Jurists Online Bar Review and Coaching Program (JURISTS ONLINE) was launched to complement Jurists’ traditional or classic bar review and coaching program (JURISTS CLASSIC).  Through Jurists Online, reviewees were able to have access to the latest, on-season Jurists pre-bar lectures as well as to avail of the online mock bar and coaching program.
 
Jurists also came up with another first in 2014:  JURISTS COMBO, the first and only bar review and coaching program in the Philippines combining the structured regimen and face-to-face coaching of a traditional program with the convenience and flexibility of an online one. Jurists Online and Jurists Combo proved to be a resounding success with many reviewees signing up.  

The 2014 bar exams was one of the most rigorous and challenging bar exams in history, characterized by numerous essay questions under grinding time pressure and strict marking of the examination booklets. Of the 5,984 examinees who completed all eight exams, a scant 1,126 made the grade for a pass rate of 18.82%, one of the lowest in history.

Team Jurists took up the gauntlet with 89 Jurists bar candidates slaying the bar exam dragon for a 34.50% pass rate, soundly trashing the national pass rate. For those who followed the Jurists training program with fidelity, the pass rate was a notable 61.15%.

Team Jurists’ outperformance was further burnished by the feat of two Jurists candidates who landed in the top ten: Jose Angelo A. David and Adrian F. Aumentado, both of San Beda, copping the 6th and 7th places respectively.

Jurists bar candidates put on a redoubtable showing in a tough 2015 Bar Examination, with Team Jurists posting a pass rate more than double the national pass rate and four Jurists bar candidates barging into the elite top ten.

Of the record 6,605 examinees, only 1,731 made the mark for a pass rate of 26.21%. While the 26.21% pass rate broke the trifecta of ultra-low pass rates from 2012 to 2014 (average 19.59%), content-wise the 2015 Bar was one of the toughest and most grueling bar exams ever.

The examinees were drowned with a deluge of bar questions (which in the case of Remedial Law and Taxation numbered 41 and 42, respectively) which they were expected to field in four hours. To add to the degree of difficulty, esoteric questions such as those asking for the definition of “depecage,” “Jason Clause,” and “voir dire,” were thrown in from time to time. The Supreme Court also declined to lower the pass rate below 75%.

Team Jurists rose to the daunting challenge with 392 Jurists bar candidates slaying the bar exam dragon for a 60.96% pass rate, more than double the national pass rate. For those who followed faithfully the Jurists training program, the pass rate was a formidable 74.62%. The 392 Jurists bar passers represented over 22% of the total nationwide passers of 1,731.

Team Jurists’ impressive performance was highlighted by the feat of four Jurists candidates who landed in the premier top ten: Reginald M. Arceo (Ateneo de Manila, 4th), Jecca B. Jacildo (University of San Carlos, 8th), and Ronel U. Buenaventura (Bulacan State University) and Lara Carmela G. Fernando (San Beda Manila), both tied for tenth.

 

For the 2016 Bar Review Season, Jurists unveiled another innovation: Jurists Preweek Online.   This is a useful option during the hectic preweek review period.   Reviewees can save valuable time by viewing the full preweek lectures via on-demand videos through their desktop computer, laptop, PDA, tablet, hand phone, or any other electronic device with internet access.   Jurists will continue to offer the on-site preweek review for those who prefer the structured regimen of a brick-and-mortar review venue.

 
More than a decade after its founding, Jurists has become one of the foremost bar review centers in the country and the leader in bar review research and innovation.   Jurists reinvented bar review in the Philippines by introducing the mock bar and coaching system in 2005 thus producing pass rates which have consistently trounced the national benchmark.  Since then others have sought to replicate Jurists’ success but the Jurists praxis featuring seven mock bars, six intensive post-mock coaching sessions, and performance evaluation and monitoring continues to be the gold standard of bar exam review and preparation.  With the introduction of Jurists Online and Jurists Combo, Jurists has become the bar review center offering the most number of bar review and coaching programs to suit the various needs of the bar reviewees.  As Jurists looks forward to the next ten years, it will not rest on its laurels but will continue to further improve and fine-tune its programs in line with its vision of empowering the bar reviewees with the competencies necessary for gaining admittance to the hallowed ranks of the Philippine Bar.