First AI-assisted lawyers?

By Alex P. Vidal

“AI is a tool. The choice about how it gets deployed is ours.”—Oren Etzioni

CAN the Philippines produce lawyers with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) this year?

If authorities (in this case, the Supreme Court of the Philippines) will allow it, possible; if not, it’s impossible.

For sure, SC will never even think about it in as far as the Bar tests are concerned—in whatever application. Never today and in the future.

It would be unfair to this year’s Bar exam passers if their success was attributed to AI, or for whatever “help” AI could lend.

The ascription was nightmarish for successful Bar examinees; It’s highly deplorable, disgusting, damaging and must be forcefully corrected immediately.

AI has been known as a machine’s ability to perform the cognitive functions usually associated with human minds, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with an environment, problem solving, and even exercising creativity.

Good thing that Supreme Court Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando, chair of this year’s bar examinations, has already debunked and even denounced as “false information” that the 2023 Bar examinations will be “sorted, checked, and corrected by means of artificial intelligence.”

The quicker he issued the statement the better before merchants of half-truths and chaos can succeed in tainting the credibility of the Bar exam results.


Hernando has asserted “the 2023 Bar examinations shall be checked by four examiners per subject, all of whom are established experts in their respective fields, and who are by no means created or powered by artificial intelligence.”

“For the longest time, Bar Examinees have had to endure several months of perceived agony of waiting before the results of the professional licensure exams for future lawyers are released,” he added in a statement.

Hernando also said: “The initial probe commenced by the Office of the 2023 Bar Chair has unveiled the identity of the administrator of both Facebook accounts. The Court is currently undertaking proper measures against the said individual, particularly, the prompt engagement of the National Bureau of Investigation in the conduct of criminal investigation of the nefarious activities and questionable circumstances surrounding this personality.”

The last day of the three-day Bar examinations was on Sept. 24.  Covered subjects were Criminal Law and Remedial Law in the morning and Legal and Judicial Ethics with Practical Exercises in the afternoon.


Rumors of AI intervention may have surfaced after Hernando announced early this month the 2023 Bar examinations might be released in early December or before Christmas Day.

Everything that is new will always attract skepticism and malicious innuendo.

“This year, however, following the examples of my recent predecessors as Bar Chair, the time spent by the Examinees waiting in agony for the results of the exams will be cut short: my team and I are eyeing the release of the results of the 2023 Bar Examinations in early December before Christmas Day,” he explained.

“Yes, you heard me right, the results will, God-willing, come out in early December, before Christmas Day.”

He also announced there would be simultaneous oath-taking and signing of the Roll of Attorneys in the same month to ensure that a new batch of lawyers will be produced before the year ends.

“It will be an additional reason for those who will hurdle the Bar Exams to celebrate the Holiday Season,” the SC associate justice said.

He added: “This year’s Bar Examinations are divided into six core subjects: Political and Public International Law (15%); Commercial and Taxation Laws (20%); Civil Law (20%); Labor Law and Social Legislation (10%); Criminal Law (10%); and Remedial Law, Legal and Judicial Ethics with Practical Exercises (25%). From today, there will be two more exam dates which are September 20 and 24.”


A US House of Representatives Oversight panel was scheduled to hold its first hearing in the impeachment inquiry of President Joseph “Joe” Biden.

A committee spokesperson told CNN that the hearing would focus on the constitutional and legal questions Republicans were raising about Biden.

While the witnesses were still being finalized, House Oversight Chairman James Comer told CNN he planned to have a financial expert speak about the bank records he has uncovered pertaining to the Biden family’s business dealings and a constitutional expert to discuss why an impeachment inquiry is warranted.

The panel was also poised to issue its first subpoenas to the president’s son and brother, Hunter and James Biden, according to the spokesperson.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)