The Ateneo Law Journal, a fully student-run legal and academic journal, was founded in 1951. Initially, it was published bi-monthly, representing the collaborative efforts of law student editors and staff members, guided by faculty advisers. The Journal presented an opportunity for students to harness their legal writing and research skills beyond the demands of classroom routine. Discussions, analyses, and criticisms of various legal issues were the products of such fertile tradition. Thus, from scholarly articles and expositions penned by the country’s best, gifted, and most respected legal minds, to notes and comments from passionate law students, the Journal published thought-provoking and noteworthy compositions.
As the Journal progressed through time, the contents of its issues evolved with the changing needs of the student body. Earlier volumes dedicated the final issue to digests of significant cases decided by the Supreme Court. For a time, reprinting Bar Examination questions and suggested answers became an integral part of the Journal’s pages. From 1971 to 1973, publication was halted when all co-curricular activities in the Ateneo de Manila University were suspended during the early years of Martial Law.
When the Ateneo Law School began conferring the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree to its graduates in 1991, the Journal adapted to this historical landmark by publishing selected theses of the graduating class. Today, a list of all theses of the graduating batch is found in the September issue. On the other hand, the June issue focuses on important and recent developments in the law, while an Index of all works published in the volume is appended to the March issue. With the introduction of multiple choice questions in the 2011 Bar Examinations, the Journal plans to revert to its practice of reprinting Bar questions in its December issue.
The Journal celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2001 with the publication of its 46th volume, marking five decades of legal scholarship and its continuing tradition of excellence. This represented both a milestone for the publication and a challenge of engaging the needs of a new generation, where local statutes and jurisprudence are influenced and confronted by global legal developments and the increasing role of the judiciary and the judicial process in national development.
Beginning with Volume 47, the Journal adopted a more stringent admission process where only editors would be admitted directly to the Journal’s Board of Editors, thereby replacing the staff members. Under this new policy, the Journal ceased to be headed by an Editor-in-Chief; instead, an Executive Committee composed of three individuals was established to lead the Board of Editors. In 2008, the Journal published its first Legal Citation Primer — a codification of the Journal’s citation practices and a culmination of over five decades of experience and tradition. In 2011, the Journal concluded its revision and improvement of the said Primer, paving the way for its second edition — the Legal Citation Guide, a more comprehensive and detailed version of its precursor.
While providing a venue for the scholastic competence of the law school community, the Journal did not, however, confine itself to merely publishing the writings of faculty members, alumni, and students. Paying tribute to the evolving concept of peace, the Journal collaborated with the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law and the University for Peace — the United Nations-Mandated Graduate School of Peace and Conflict Studies — to create a platform for dialogue regarding the subject of conflict and the peace process. The result was The Peace Process and National Development: An Academic Symposium held on 15 April 2009 at the Loyola Campus of the Ateneo de Manila. The first issue of Volume 54 published speeches and presentations from the conference, as well as articles written by legal experts discussing the special relationship of the law and the courts with the peace process.
As the Journal celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2011, the Ateneo Law School similarly commemorates its 75th year. Thus, the year has been marked with events and activities organized in collaboration between the Journal, among other organizations, and its alma mater. This is particularly true with the publication by the Journal of a special issue devoted to the coverage of the Legal Convocation spearheaded by the Law School in August of the said year.
Truly, the Journal has continued to be committed to being relevant in the field of legal scholarship, making it one of the Ateneo Law School’s most notable badges of distinction from other law schools. It continues to feature works of legal interest, the latest legislation, and jurisprudence in the form of articles, notes, case comments, legal essays, and speeches. Its issues are now published quarterly, each usually coming under an overarching theme, along with the occasional special issues. Thus, the Journal, after 60 grueling but glorious years, remains steadfast to its tradition of excellence and dedicated to carrying on its role in pushing the boundaries of understanding the complexities of law, even transcending the four walls of the law school classroom.