Chel Diokno’s Dad Was One Of Two Bar Topnotchers *Without* A Law Degree
Law school is known for having an arduous curriculum because of the nature of the profession. Before you even get to attend law school, you'll also need to have a degree in any pre-law course that's worth four or so years of undergraduate studies. To prepare you for the bar examinations which you'll need to take to officially become a lawyer, you'll have to endure law school and earn your degree, unless you're someone brilliant like Mike Ross of U.S. TV show Suits.
IRL, however, there's a special case that's somewhat similar to that of the Suits character (minus all the fraud and deception). Former senator Jose "Pepe" Wright Diokno, aka the father of Atty. Chel Diokno, had always been an achiever in class. He was the class valedictorian in high school and even graduated summa cum laude at the young age of 17 with a degree in commerce. He eventually went on to top the 1937 CPA board exams.
What's interesting, though, is that Jose Diokno was also able to take the Philippine bar examinations despite not having a law degree--and even ended up being a top notcher. While World War II was ongoing, Diokno had been studying law on his own. In 1944, he was granted a "special dispensation" which allowed him to take the bar examinations without a law degree. He ended up getting a rating of 95.3 percent, the highest rating for that year. He topped the bar together with Jovit Salonga, a former Senate President.
Aside from Jose Diokno, the only other person to top the boards without a law degree was Carolina C. Griño-Aquino, a former Supreme Court Justice. She earned a rating of 92.02 percent, making her the top notcher of the 1950 Bar Exams.
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