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Mauricio Ulep vs The Legal Clinic

on July 4, 2012
223 SCRA 378 42 SCAD 287 Legal Ethics
Advertisement in the Legal Profession Practice of Law

In 1984, The Legal Clinic was formed by Atty. Rogelio

Nogales. Its aim, according to Nogales was to move toward
specialization and to cater to clients who cannot afford the
services of big law firms. Now, Atty. Mauricio Ulep filed a
complaint against The Legal Clinic because of the latters
advertisements which contain the following:
P560.00 for a valid marriage.
Please call: 521-0767; 521-7232; 522-2041
8:30am 6:00pm
7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila
An attorney in Guam is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam
Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to
Friday during office hours.
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration
Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special
Retirees Visa. Declaration of Absence. Remarriage to
Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil.
US/Foreign Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children.
Call Marivic.
7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila nr. US Embassy
Tel. 521-7232, 521-7251, 522-2041, 521-0767
It is also alleged that The Legal Clinic published an article
entitled Rx for Legal Problems in Star Week of Philippine
Star wherein Nogales stated that they The Legal Clinic is
composed of specialists that can take care of a clients
problem no matter how complicated it is even if it is as
complicated as the Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion
situation. He said that he and his staff of lawyers, who, like

doctors, are specialists in various fields, can take care of

it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and
criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, litigation and
family law. These specialists are backed up by a battery of
paralegals, counselors and attorneys.
As for its advertisement, Nogales said it should be allowed
in view of the jurisprudence in the US which now allows it
(John Bates vs The State Bar of Arizona). And that besides,
the advertisement is merely making known to the public the
services that The Legal Clinic offers.
ISSUE: Whether or not The Legal Clinic is engaged in the
practice of law; whether such is allowed; whether or not its
advertisement may be allowed.
HELD: Yes, The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law
however, such practice is not allowed. The Legal Clinic is
composed mainly of paralegals. The services it offered
include various legal problems wherein a client may avail of
legal services from simple documentation to complex
litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of these services
are undoubtedly beyond the domain of paralegals, but
rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged in the
practice of law. Under Philippine jurisdiction however, the
services being offered by Legal Clinic which constitute
practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. Only a
person duly admitted as a member of the bar and who is in
good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.
Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned
advertisements, the Code of Professional Responsibility
provides that a lawyer in making known his legal services
shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective
information or statement of facts. The standards of the legal
profession condemn the lawyers advertisement of his
talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of his
profession, advertise his talents or skills as in a manner
similar to a merchant advertising his goods. Further, the
advertisements of Legal Clinic seem to promote divorce,
circumventions of law which their experts can facilitate.
Such is highly reprehensible.

The Supreme Court also noted which forms of advertisement

are allowed. The best advertising possible for a lawyer is a
well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity
to trust, which must be earned as the outcome of character
and conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as well as
to the community has a way of publicizing itself and
catching public attention. That publicity is a normal byproduct of effective service which is right and proper. A good
and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to
generate it and to magnify his success. He easily sees the
difference between a normal by-product of able service and
the unwholesome result of propaganda. The Supreme Court
also enumerated the following as allowed forms of
Advertisement in a reputable law list
Use of ordinary simple professional card
Listing in a phone directory but without designation
as to his specialization
In Re Cunanan
IN RE CUNANAN [94 Phil 534; Resolution; 18 Mar 1954]
In the Matter of the Petitions for Admission to the Bar of
Unsuccessful Candidates of 1946 to 1953;
ALBINO CUNANAN, ET AL., petitioners.
Resoluti, 1954on
March 18
Congress passed Republic Act Number 972, commonly
known as the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953. In accordance
with the said law, the Supreme Court then passed and
admitted to the bar those candidates who had obtained an
average of 72 per cent by raising it to 75 percent.
After its approval, many of the unsuccessful postwar
candidates filed petitions for admission to the bar invoking
its provisions, while other motions for the revision of their
examination papers were still pending also invoked the
aforesaid law as an additional ground for admission. There

are also others who have sought simply the reconsideration

of their grades without, however, invoking the law in
question. To avoid injustice to individual petitioners, the
court first reviewed the motions for reconsideration,
irrespective of whether or not they had invoked Republic Act
No. 972.
Issue: Whether or Not RA No. 972 is constitutional and valid.
RA No. 972 has for its object, according to its author, to
admit to the Bar, those candidates who suffered from
insufficiency of reading materials and inadequate
In the judicial system from which ours has been evolved, the
admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of
attorneys at law in the practice of the profession and their
supervision have been indisputably a judicial function and
responsibility. We have said that in the judicial system from
which ours has been derived, the admission, suspension,
disbarment or reinstatement of attorneys at law in the
practice of the profession is concededly judicial.
On this matter, there is certainly a clear distinction between
the functions of the judicial and legislative departments of
the government.
It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant
license for the practice of law belongs exclusively to this
Court, and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of
permissive character, or as other authorities may say,
merely to fix the minimum conditions for the license.
Republic Act Number 972 is held to be unconstitutional.
IN re: IBP
[T]he Commission on Bar Integration submitted its Report
with the earnest recommendation on the basis of the
said Report and the proceedings had in Administrative Case
No. 526 of the Court, and consistently with the views and
counsel received from its [the Commission's] Board of

Consultants, as well as the overwhelming nationwide

sentiment of the Philippine Bench and Bar that (the)
Honorable (Supreme) Court ordain the integration of the
Philippine Bar as soon as possible through the adoption and
promulgation of an appropriate Court Rule. The petition in
Adm. Case No. 526 formally prays the Court to order the
integration of the Philippine Bar, after due hearing, giving
recognition as far as possible and practicable to existing
provincial and other local Bar associations.
(1) Does the Court have the power to integrate the
Philippine Bar?
(2) Would the integration of the Bar be constitutional?
(3) Should the Court ordain the integration of the Bar at this
YES. On all issues.
[T]he Court is of the view that it may integrate the Philippine
Bar in the exercise of its power, under Article VIII, Sec. 13 of
the Constitution, to promulgate rules concerning x x x the
admission to the practice of law.
The Court is fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing
conscientious study of all the arguments adduced in Adm.
Case No. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass
of factual data contained in the exhaustive Report of the
Commission on Bar Integration, that the integration of the
Philippine Bar is perfectly constitutional and legally
unobjectionable, within the context of contemporary
conditions in the Philippines, has become an imperative
means to raise the standards of the legal profession,

improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to

discharge its public responsibility fully and effectively.
[T]he Court, by virtue of the power vested in it by Section 13
of Article VIII of the Constitution, ordained the integration of
the Bar of the Philippines effective January 16, 1973.
Cayetano vs Monsod
Leave a comment
201 SCRA 210, 1991
Monsod was nominated by President Aquino to the position
of Chairman of the COMELEC on April 25, 1991. Cayetano
opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not
possess the required qualification of having been engaged
in the practice of law for at least ten years. Challenging the
validity of the confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments of Monsods nomination, petitioner filed a
petition for Certiorari and Prohibition praying that said
confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as
Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null
and void because Monsod did not meet the requirement of
having practiced law for the last ten years.
Whether or not Monsod satisfies the requirement of the
position of Chairman of the COMELEC.
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in
court. A person is also considered to be in the practice of
law when he: . . . for valuable consideration engages in the
business of advising person, firms, associations or
corporations as to their rights under the law, or appears in a
representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings
pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner,
referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted
by law or authorized to settle controversies. Otherwise

stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in

the business of advising clients as to their rights under the
law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in
court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the
practice of law.

respondent concludes, the above provisions of the Court

Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force
and effect.

Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar,

having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of
86.55%. He has been a dues paying member of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 197273. He has also been paying his professional license fees as
lawyer for more than ten years. Atty. Monsods past work
experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a
lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of
contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the
poor verily more than satisfy the constitutional
requirement that he has been engaged in the practice of
law for at least ten years.
In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of
A.M. No. 1928 August 3, 1978

WON the payment of IBP dues suffers constitutional

infirmity? NO

The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed
practicing attorney in the Philippines. The IBP Board of
Governors recommended to the Court the removal of the
name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for
stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues to the IBP
since the latters constitution notwithstanding due notice.
Edilion contends that the provision providing for the IBP
dues constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the
sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition to
maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a
member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and
that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of
the said organization to which he is admittedly personally
antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and
property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the


All legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been
uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of
the police power over an important profession.
The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a
privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a
lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also
to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the
nation, and takes part in one of the most important
functions of the State the administration of justice as
an officer of the court.
When the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal
profession, his practice of law and his exercise of the said
profession, which affect the society at large, were (and are)
subject to the power of the body politic to require him to
conform to such regulations as might be established by the
proper authorities for the common good, even to the extent
of interfering with some of his liberties. If he did not wish to
submit himself to such reasonable interference and
regulation, he should not have clothed the public with an
interest in his concerns.
To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is
not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. 6
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with
anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of
his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its

elections as he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is

subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme
Court, in order to further the States legitimate interest in
elevating the quality of professional legal services, may
require that the cost of improving the profession in this
fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the
regulatory program the lawyers.

Such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police

power of the State. Why? The right to practise law before
the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject
to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee
as a regulatory measure is recognize, then a penalty
designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be
avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable
or arbitrary.