Justice Magdangal M. de Leon obtained his Foreign Service degree in the University of the Philippines where was a college scholar and was chosen as a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Pi Gamma Mu Social Science Honor Society, and his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1972 from the same university where he finished among the top ten in his batch.
After a few years in private practice, he entered the Office of the Solicitor General as a Research Attorney in 1976. Rising from the ranks, he was appointed as Assistant Solicitor General by President Corazon Aquino in 1991. As a trial lawyer for thirty (30) years, he had argued before all court levels – Municipal/Metropolitan Trial Court, Regional Trial Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Supreme Court, both division and en banc, giving him considerable experience in the litigation process in the country.
In 2004 he was appointed to the Court Appeals by President Gloria Arroyo. He retired recently from said Court, his last ranking being the Chairperson of the Fifth Division, and attained a record of zero cases submitted for decision.
Presently, he is a remedial law professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas and De la Salle University. Also, he is a bar reviewer in eight (8) law schools and review centers. He is the Chairperson of the Philippine Judicial Academy Remedial Law Department as well as the PHILJA Committee on the new Benchbook for Philippine Trial Courts. Also, he was a member of the Supreme Court Sub-Committee on the Revision of the Rules on Civil Procedure (2013) and the Special Committee on ContinuousTrial for Criminal Cases (2017). Most recently, he was a member of the Supreme Court Sub-Committee which proposed amendments to the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure(2019), and Technical Working Group for judicial forms, a project of the Supreme Court and the UP Law Center (2019).
In the international scene, he was a member of the International Consultants Group, Rules and Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure, sponsored by the American Law Institute. An active Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) lecturer, he has traveled to San Francisco and Los Angeles, California for that purpose. He was a bar examiner for Labor Law in 2016 and Remedial Law in 2009, and is the author of two law books, “Appellate Remedies” and “Special Proceedings, Essentials for Bench and Bar.
Among other distinctions, he is a recipient of the 2019 and 2017 Justice Jose Colayco Professorial Chair for Remedial Law; 2016 Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair for Remedial Law; 2015 Rotary Club of Makati Paseo de Roxas Award for exemplary government service; 2011 and 2007 Court of Appeals Awards of Recognition for outstanding performance; 2008 University of the Philippines Centennial Distinguished Alumnus Award for championing justice and the judiciary; and 2008 Outstanding Jurist Award from the Consumers Union of the Philippines.