Baguio City commends Cordilleran for being world’s youngest law graduate

Becomes lawyer at 18 and first Filipino associate editor of Cambridge Law Review

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

For bringing honor to the City of Baguio and the Philippines, the City Council of Baguio passed a resolution recognizing and commending Jozef Maynard Borja Erece for being the youngest law graduate and practicing lawyer in the world.

Erece, now 26 years old and who was born in New Zealand, is the son of a couple from Baguio City—Dr. Maynard Victor ‘Thoots’ Erece, an educator, former prosecutor and criminal lawyer who went to Magsaysay Elementary School in New Lucban, and Dr. Josephine Ana ‘Jo-ann’ Borja Erece, a medical doctor, who was class valedictorian at the St. Louis Center.

For his feat, Jozef is believed to have brought honor to the three countries—Australia, where they are currently residing; New Zealand, his birth country and the Philippines, where his parents are from.

Under Resolution No. 015, series of 2023, local legislators stated that Jozef is “one of the most prodigious citizen, if not in the history, renowned not only in the Philippines but the world over, for giving honor to the city and the whole nation.”

In May 16, 2014, the Philippine Congress passed House Resolution No. 2072 which commended and congratulated Jozef for his accomplishment.

He studied in the University of Southern Queensland in 2012, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Law in just three years.

In May 13, 2022, CNN reported that Haley Taylor Schlitz became Dallas, Texas-based Southern Methodist University’s youngest-ever law school graduate. She was 19.

Jozef has a postgraduate diploma in Legal Studies (summa cum laude equivalent), a Master of Laws with High Distinction (summa cum laude equivalent) from the Australian National University in only 10 months and a credential of Readiness in Business Analytics, Economics for managers and financial account from Harvard University in only 3 months, reported.

At present, He is already a senior-ranked commercial litigator and disputed resolution expert at Corney and Ling Law Firm in Brisbane, Australia and represents clients internationally in disputes against multinational companies such as the Mercedes Benz and international alliances like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), it added.

He completed his Masters in Corporate Law (magna cum laude equivalent) in only 9 months from the University of Cambridge and served as the first Filipino to be the associate editor of the Cambridge Law Review in 2021, the longest university journal in the United Kingdom.

He is a product of the now-defunct Stanford education program for gifted youth, and advocated reading for the rights of audiences at the Bars of England and Wales, New York and Queensland, a feat never before achieved in law history at his young age.

Jozef was evaluated by educational psychologists and lead educators to be profoundly gifted with an intelligence quotient (IQ) beyond the 160 limit.

His academic excellence was already evident at a young age. By the age of 3, he was already reading, and at 11, he was in high school and had graduated as Valedictorian in 2011 from St. Peter’s Catholic School in Cambridge.

The Erece family–Doctors Maynard and Josephine and their children lawyer Jozef and Maynah. (photo from


He is also into sports, specifically taekwondo and basketball, aside from being a chess master, a book author and a gifted violinist.

He started martial arts training at the age of 5 in Tokoroa, New Zealand; was awarded a black belt at the age of 8 by the New Zealand Olympic coach; became the youngest New Zealand taekwondo instructor at Sejong Taekwondo at Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand at the age of 14; trained with the New Zealand Olympic taekwondo team; was awarded his 3rd dan black belt in July 2010; and presently the youngest local taekwondo instructor at the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo headquarters.

Since he is 6’2” tall, Erece is a highly recruited basketball point guard, who has been offered athletic scholarships by coaches and agents from Manila-based universities to play for the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the Philippine National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), invited for ‘walk-on’ trials with academic scholarships by the United States NCAA Division 1 universities, and to play for the Nike all-Australian Tour to the United States.

He became the youngest player in the semi-professional Greater Brisbane League tournament, the team captain of the champion St. Johns College Blue in Hamilton, New Zealand. He was also voted in the Mythical Selection Team for the New Zealand junior secondary championships held in Rotorua, New Zealand in 2013.

As a gifted athlete, Jozef holds the current acceleration Australia record for no-step vertical jump for 15-year old athletes (all sports); captained the Waikato Hockey Association under 15 rep teams and played in the under 15 Filipino team for Hamilton. He also led the St. Johns senior blue team to the regional pool championships.

As a chess master, Jozef was the top player at the St. Johns chess team during the North Island championships at St. Paul’s College, Hamilton in 2011, and defeated nationally ranked senior chess players in New Zealand in only his sophomore year in spite of being the youngest player at board 1.

Jozef is also an author. He published “The Grand Powers’ his first fantasy short novel at only 8 years old which was made available for general circulation at the New Zealand public library system through a local Cambridge bookstore. He continues to write 5-star rated books available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle, such as pieces that include ‘syzygy and one’ and ‘Starlight legacies.’

He is also an accomplished violinist. He learned violin at the age of 6, participated in various youth symphony orchestras, entered secondary school as an academic and music scholar at St. Johns College, performs with the Waikato Youth orchestra and St. Johns Sacred Heart College combined orchestra in New Zealand.

He had his first musical composition at age 6, creating an addendum to ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,’ for his sister, Maynah, on her first birthday (also a gifted and talented prodigy), claiming the song to be incomplete.

He continues to play through church-based ministry, having gone through formal music training at Trinity College, London.

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