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The history of Arellano University begun in 1938 through the efforts of Florentino Cayco Sr. when its School of Law was first established and formed. It aimed to provide quality legal education to aspiring Filipino lawyers. It was 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 in Manila, classes resumed in an old Spanish-type building along Legarda Street in Sampaloc, Manila. It was the first law school which opened after World War II boasting of a strong faculty line-up, including Fred Ruiz Castro, who later became Supreme Court Chief Justice, and Ruperto G. Martin and Antonio P. Barredo, who became Associate Justices of the High Court. At that time, the law school had an active student population in the thick of every burning national issue involving the new Republic. Its strong and vibrant student activism continued through the decades.

The college quickly gained recognition for its excellent legal program and began to expand its academic offerings. On June 28, 1946, the founder left the government as Undersecretary of Public Instruction to head his school. In 1947, the Department of Education elevated the school to Arellano Colleges. In the same year, it was again elevated to a university.

In 1948, the university moved to Plaza Guipit. In 1955, it was relocated back to its old site in Legarda, but this time housed in a modern four-storey concrete building. Today, it has seven campuses in the National Capital Region in the cities of Manila, Pasay, Pasig, Mandaluyong, and Malabon. It currently offers various programs from basic education to graduate schools recognized by DepEd, CHED, LEB, and TESDA, and accredited by PACUCOA.

The first AUSL Dean was Vicente Sinco who served from 1938-1940 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 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 Councillor and bar placer Mariano M. Magsalin, Sr. then assumed the deanship in 1963, holding the position until 1979.

In 1978, the Arellano Law Foundation (ALF) was established by the alumni, faculty and employees of Arellano University. Its primary purpose is to upgrade the legal professionís standards and the efficient, fair, and honest administration of justice. Its secondary purposes has been to establish and operate a law school. Thus, on April 22, 1979, Arellano University turned over the law school operation and management to the ALF under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with financial support from the University. The School of Law will continue as an academic college of the University. In 1997, the MOA was amended to grant the ALF fiscal autonomy.

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 it 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 and 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 was Dean until he was forced to give up the position for health reasons. He was replaced by Jose R. Sundiang Sr., a highly regarded civil and commercial law reviewer. He took over as Dean but due to illness had to be replaced by Virgilio B. Gesmundo, a bar topnotcher, up to the end of May 2016. Reynaldo G. Lopez was appointed Acting Dean during the hiatus. In August 2016, Domingo M. Navarro was designated as the new Dean and holds the position to date.

In 1944, Macario D. Nicolas, Augusto I. Iturralde and Mariano M. Magsalin of Arellano Law Colleges were bar-topnotchers. It was followed in 1946 by another bar topnocher Jose F. Zafra. Then in 1947, Augusto G. Syjuco and Francisco Sumulong were bar topnotchers. In 1993, Nelson S. Victorino landed fifth place in the bar examination. In 2010, Paolo Carlo C. Tolentino was No. 3 and Daren L. Salipsip was No. 10. In 2011, Cherry Liez O. Rafal-Roble was No. 3. Also in 2011, Arellano University School of Law was awarded recognition by the Legal Education Board as one of the Top Ten Law Schools in the Philippines.

In 2021, AUSL produced 722 new lawyers, the largest number in the country. In 2021, AUSL had one Excellent Performance Passer with at least 90% grade, Fernando Felix L. Imperial, and 39 Exemplary Performance Passers with at least 85% and above passing grades. In 2022, AUSL produced 378 new lawyers with Kyle Terence Arnilao Viloria in the 20th place.

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 strong alumni holding key positions in the public and private sectors, and in the academe. Over the years, AUSL produce the most number of lawyers.

Last update: June 26, 2023

Arellano University School of Law
Taft Avenue Corner Menlo St. Pasay City, Philippines
Tel. No.: (632) 8404-3089 to 93 Fax.No.: (632) 8521-4691

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