The long wait is over. Law Education at DLSU (LEAD) has announced the latest course, which they will provide in their curriculum, entitled ‘How to Get Away with Murder’. A respected institution since 2010, LEAD has decided to take their legacy to the next level.
The road to approval
It seems that it’s not only on our TV screens that the show has gained influence, but even in academic institutions such as DLSU. Ever since it first aired in 2014, How to Get Away with Murder has established a very unconventional way of teaching law, putting law students in the perspective of the criminal, innocent until proven guilty. The Dean of the College of Law, Atty. Jose Manuel I. Diokno, together with the Board of Advisers, have finally approved the implementation of the course after months of deliberation.
One of the strongholds of transformative learning, the College of Law aims to maintain the outstanding performance of their graduates in the bar exam through this new course addition. Months of deliberation have also given the faculty ample time to perfect the course syllabus. Like any other law subject, it will focus on the technicalities of law, but students will get the opportunity to focus more on the psyche and the intricacies that come with the murderer and the murder itself.
Months of screening time were also done by the dean, board of advisers, and the faculty to dissect the show itself, taking notes from Annalise Keating and her main constituents, including Wes Gibbins, Laurel Castillo, Michaela Pratt, Asher Millstone, Bonnie Winterbottom, and Frank Delfino. When asked about their takeaways from the show, prominent faculty member Atty. Katrina Legarda says that Ms. Keating’s approach is intimidating, especially considering the number of cases discussed throughout the series, but a worthy model to follow.
Atty. Legarda also highlights the concepts and issues that will really challenge the students’ work ethics, responsibility, and sensibility in the field, especially when handling such delicate cases. The proposed topics include: guaranteed manipulation prior, during, and after hearings; the art of distinction in terms of eye contact; and last but not the least, the definition of murder.
Certain expectations and outcomes
Upon graduation, the future lawyers aren’t only armed with Juris Doctor degrees but also possess certain expected attributes that they’ve acquired throughout their stay in the University. Commonly and repeatedly mentioned as the Expected Lasallian Graduate Attributes, the admin of the College of Law aim to strengthen these core values found in Lasallian graduates.
In accordance with the requirements of ELGA, at the end of the term, students must fulfill their roles of becoming Critical and Creative Thinkers, Effective Communicators, Reflective Lifelong Learners, and Service-Driven Citizens. LEAD will test the capabilities of the students assigned to criminal cases by determining if their arguments are sound enough, and if they have mastered not only sensibility but factual manipulation. The prognosis of the students becoming Reflective Lifelong Learners should be effortless, as they will learn the rich context of criminal law to a more personal degree. However, the role of the students to become Service-Driven Citizens may be questionable, as it is up to their assessment and usage of the knowledge, whether they will side with the good or downright anarchic.
Due to such high stakes, the course will only be taking the best and the brightest. Before students are approved to take this class, they must go through a process of rigorous psychological testing. Using a standardized measurement scale, students will be asked regarding their aversion to blood, certain childhood experiences, frequency of specific moods, as well as other psychological checks. All responses by the students will be confidential. “This is mandatory for the implementation of the course,” Atty. Diokno further explains, “as it would determine the strengths and weaknesses of each student.”
The dean and board of advisers have met up with some of the most sought after lawyers in the country in criminal law to go through the prospective candidates that would do the syllabus justice. So far, Atty. Anne L. Ease, a mother of three whose firm has been built comfortably in their family’s backyard, fits the mold perfectly well. One of the board advisers, Atty. Anthony Peralta gives testimony to this. “I met Atty. Ease just about that time we finished up the syllabus. She had a certain gait, a mumbling tongue, but her eyes held a fixing gaze. You’d know right then and there she was sizing you up,” he shares.
It seems that most of the College of Law and the students are gearing up for this new addition to the curriculum. There is apparent anticipation, but what everybody asks as the college is gearing up for such changes is just how far will an elaborate, surprise-laden series blur its fiction with an actual academic setting?