The IBP was established as an official organization for the legal profession by Republic Act No. 6397. The law confirmed the constitutional power of the Philippine Supreme Court to adopt rules for the integration of the Philippine Bar. Consequently, Presidential Decree 181 constituted the IBP into a corporate body in 1973.
Then recently-retired Supreme Court Associate Justice J.B.L. Reyes was named as the first Chairman of the IBP in 1973. He served in that capacity until 1975, and was the Chairman emeritus for the remainder of his life. Reyes had been a longtime proponent of bar integration in the Philippines.
On August 18, 2007, Atty. Briccio Joseph Boholst, president of IBP — Cebu City Chapter, opposed the abolition of the CA in Cebu City, for it will cause inconvenience for both litigants and lawyers. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruben Reyes was tasked to investigate and submit recommendation to the High Tribunal because of the alleged massive graft and corruption of justices, especially in the issuance of temporary restraining orders (TRO’s).
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (48,000 members in 83 chapters nationwide) president Feliciano Bautista informed Newsbreak newspaper that the bribery expose of Governor Eddie Panlilio triggered hitting the “culture of corruption” in the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. The statement of concern advertisement was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on December 17 and in Philippine Star on December 20. IBP called for 3 courses of action: a) "prosecution of cases against corrupt government officials, b) continued Senate investigation on alleged corruption in government contracts, and c) filing of an impeachment case against President Arroyo." IBP also held the government responsible for widespread smuggling activities, extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances, and ghost projects. It called on the House of Representatives to endorse the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo and admonished the Senate to continue probes on government anomalies. In March 2006, the IBP, for the first time, organized its lawyers in a street protest against President Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017.
The IBP is administered by a Governing Board consisting of nine Governors representing the nine regions of the IBP. The Governing Board elects the IBP National President and IBP Executive Vice President from among themselves or from outside the Board.
The IBP House of Delegates decide on important matters. The chamber is composed of not more than one-hundred-twenty (120) members apportioned among all IBP Chapters in major cities throughout the country. Every two years, the IBP Governing Board makes a reappointment of delegates among all IBP chapters.
The IBP Constitution and By-Laws considers the following, "automatically and without exception," as members of the IBP:
There are currently about forty-thousand (40,000) living attorneys who comprise the IBP.
These are the attorneys whose names appear in the Rolls of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. They have qualified for and have passed the Philippine Bar Examination conducted annually, and have taken the attorney’s oath, unless otherwise disbarred. Membership in the IBP is compulsory for all lawyers in the country. The Philippine Supreme Court has required all lawyers to indicate their Roll of Attorneys Number in all papers and pleadings filed in judicial and quasi-judicial bodies in additional to the previously required current Professional Tax Receipt (PTR) and IBP Official Receipt or Life Member Number.
The IBP has been active in safeguarding the integrity of the bar exams; promoting ethical practices of lawyers, judges, lawyer-politicians, and lawyer-government officials; refraining from any partisan political activity especially during local and national elections; developing legal education and research in law schools and continuing legal education centers; and expanding legal aid offices throughout the country to provide free legal services to indigent Filipinos.
The IBP National Committee on Bar Discipline is the special group monitoring and upholding ethical practices in the profession.
The IBP National Committee on Legal Aid is the ad hoc committee for establishing and maintaining suitable legal aid offices in all IBP Chapters nationwide.
While the IBP is the mandatory organization for Filipino lawyers, other organizations exist to serve the various interests of the legal profession in the Philippines, such as:
The Philippines is also a member of international law associations such: