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Legal Counseling - According to Blacks' Law Dictionary, counsel means advice and assistance given by one person

to another in regard to a legal matter, proposed line of conduct, claim or contention. As a matter of fact lawyers
are also legal counsels.

Legal profession – a branch of the administration of justice whose main purpose is to aid in the doing of justice
according to law between state and the individual and between a man and a man.

Legal Ethics
It is a branch of moral science which treats of the duties which an attorney owes to the court, to his client, to his
colleagues in the profession and to the public as embodied in the Constitution, Rules of Court, the Code of
Professional Responsibility, Canons of Professional Ethics, jurisprudence, moral, law, and special laws

Counselor is an attorney; lawyer; member of the legal profession who gives legal advice and handles the legal
affairs of client, including if necessary appearing on his or her behalf in civil, criminal or administrative action and

Lawyers counsel the client in deciding how his problem can be sorted out under the laws.
Legal counseling is the process by which a lawyer communicates advice to a client.

Counsel de oficio
An attorney appointed by the court to defend an indigent defendant in a criminal action.

Counsel de parte
A private counsel of a party secured by him, without intervention from the government.

Importance of Legal Counseling

To help the person talk about, explore and understand his or her thoughts and feelings and
Work out that what he or she might do before taking action.

What is considered PRACTICE OF LAW

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure,
knowledge, training and experience.

It is not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the
preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the
preparation of legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to
clients and all actions taken for them in matters connected with the law.

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct
of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and
special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and
courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in
matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an
appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy
and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship
have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work
done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions.

In relation ULEP case…

ISSUE: Whether or not, the advertised services offered by the Legal Clinic, Inc., constitutes practice of law?

HELD: The advertisement of the respondent is covered in the term practice of law as defined in the case of
Cayetano vs. Monsod. There is a restricted concept and limited acceptance of paralegal services in the Philippines.
It is allowed that some persons not duly licensed to practice law are or have been permitted with a limited
representation in behalf of another or to render legal services, but such allowable services are limited in scope and
extent by the law, rules or regulations granting permission therefore. Canon 3 of 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. Canon 3.01 adds that he is not supposed to use or permit the use
of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding
his qualifications or legal services. Nor shall he pay or give something of value to representatives of the mass
media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business (Canon 3.04).

Admission to the Practice of Law

After successfully completing the requisite number of course units towards the awarding of a law degree, a
candidate can file an application to take the bar examinations, provided he or she is a citizen of the Philippines, at
least twenty-one years of age, of good moral character, and a resident of the Philippines.

Four-fold duty of a lawyer

1. Public/Society – He must not undertake any action which violates his responsibility to the society as a whole, he
must be an example in the community for his uprightness as a member of the society. The lawyer must be ready to
render legal aid, foster legal reforms, be a guardian of due process, and aware of his special role in the solution of
special problems and be always ready to lend assistance in the study and solution of social problems (Canon 1-6,

2. Bar/Legal Profession – Observe candor, fairness, courtesy and truthfulness in his conduct towards other
lawyers, avoid encroachment in the business of other lawyers and uphold the honor of the profession. (Canon 7-9,

3. Courts – A lawyer must maintain towards the court a respectful attitude, defend against unjust criticisms,
uphold the court’s authority and dignity, obey court orders and processes, assists in the administration of justice
(Canon 10-13, CPR).

4. Clients – The lawyer owes entire devotion to the interest of his client, warm and zeal in the maintenance of the
defense of his rights and exertion of utmost learning ability to the end that nothing be taken or withheld from his
client except in accordance with law. He owes a duty of competent and zealous representation to the client, and
should preserve his client’s secrets, preserve his funds and property and avoid conflicts of interest (Canon 14- 22,

Legal Profession – a privilege and a right

Membership in the legal profession is a privilege granted by the state only to those deserving individuals. It is in
the nature of a franchise conferred only for merit which must be earned by hard study, learning and good conduct.
(In Re: Sycip, 92 SCRA 1) The ancient and learned profession of law exacts from its members the highest standard
of morality. (Barrientos vs. Daarol, 218 SCRA 30) Good moral character is a condition which precedes admission to
the Bar and is not dispensed with upon admission thereto. It is a continuing qualification which all lawyers must
possess. (People vs. Tuanda, 181 SCRA 682) The members are in fact, enjoined to aid in guarding the Bar against
the admission of candidates unfit, unqualified or deficient in either moral character or education. (In Re: Puno, 19
SCRA 439) The law as a profession precedes from the basic premise that membership in the Bar is a privilege
burdened with conditions and carries with it the responsibility to live up to its exacting standards and honored
traditions. (Ledesma vs. Climaco, 57 SCRA 473)
Nature of the practice of law
The practice of law is not a natural, property or constitutional right but a mere privilege. It is not a right granted to
anyone who demands it but a privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of sound judicial discretion. It is
a privilege accorded only to those who measure up to certain rigid standards of mental and moral fitness.
NOTE: It becomes a property right if there is a contract for Attorney’s Fees

Disbarment Suspension

Two Primary Objects of Disbarment and Suspension

1. To compel the attorney to deal fairly and honestly with his clients
2. To remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties
and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney.

Common Grounds for Suspension or Disbarment

1. Deceit
2. Malpractice or other gross misconduct in office
3. Grossly immoral conduct
4. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude
5. Violation of Oath of Office
6. Willful disobedience of any lawful order of any superior court
7. Corrupt or willful appearance as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so

Moral Turpitude - “includes everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals”. It
involves an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owed his fellowmen, or to
society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and woman, or
conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. Barrios v. Martinez, 442 SCRA 324 (2004)

Essential criteria in determining whether a person is engaged in the practice of law

1. Compensation – implies that one must have presented himself to be in active practice and that his professional
services are available to the public for compensation, as a source of livelihood or in consideration of his said

2. Application of law, legal principle, practice or procedure which calls for legal knowledge, training and experience;

3. Habituality – implies customary or habitually holding oneself out to the public as a lawyer. Practice of law is
more than an isolated appearance for it consists in frequent or customary action; and

4. Attorney-Client relationship - engaging in the practice of law presupposes the existence of a lawyer-client
relationship. Ten (10) years of practice of law includes work as a litigator, in-house counsel, giving of legal advice,
teaching of law, and even foreign assignment which requires the knowledge and application of the laws.

Q: Ronnie, a paralegal in a law firm, helped Beth in a property dispute in which she was involved by giving her
legal advice and preparing a complaint that she eventually filed in court under her own signature. When the
lawyer for the defendant learned of it, he told Ronnie to desist from practicing law. But he disputed this,
claiming that he had not practiced law since he did not receive compensation from Beth for his help. Is Ronnie
correct? (2011 Bar)
A: NO. The receipt of compensation is not the sole determinant of legal practice. Giving of advice or rendering any
kind of service that involves legal knowledge is also considered as practice of law. As such, Ronnie should desist
from giving legal advice since the same is considered a practice of law for which he is not qualified.

Q: Medado passed the bar exams in 1979 and took the Attorney’s Oath at PICC. He was scheduled to sign in the
Roll of Attorneys but he failed to do so on his scheduled date, allegedly because he had misplaced the Notice to
Sign the Roll of Attorneys given by the Office of the Bar Confidant when he went home to his province for a
vacation. Several years later, Medado found the Notice and then realized that what he signed at the PICC was
merely an attendance record. In 2012, Medado filed the instant Petition, praying that he be allowed to sign in
the Roll of Attorneys.

a. Should his petition be allowed?

b. Did he engage in unauthorized practice of law?

a. YES. At the outset, not allowing Medado to sign the Roll of Attorneys would be akin to imposing upon him the
ultimate penalty of disbarment, a penalty that is reserved for the most serious ethical transgressions of members
of the Bar. Medado demonstrated good faith and good moral character when he finally filed the instant Petition to
Sign in the Roll of Attorneys. It was not a third party who called the Court’s attention to petitioner’s omission;
rather, it was Medado himself who acknowledged his own lapse, albeit after the passage of more than 30 years.

b. YES. Medado may have at first operated under an honest mistake of fact when he thought that what he had
signed at the PICC entrance before the oath-taking was already the Roll of Attorneys. However, the moment he
realized that what he had signed was merely an attendance record, he could no longer claim an honest mistake of
fact as a valid justification. In spite of this knowledge, he chose to continue practicing law without taking the
necessary steps to complete all the requirements for admission to the Bar, he willfully engaged in the
unauthorized practice of law (In Re: Petition to sign in the Roll of Attorneys Michael Medado, B.M. No. 2540,
September 24, 2013).


1. a Citizen of the Philippines;

2. At least 21 years of age;

3. Of Good moral character;

4. a Resident of the Philippines;

5. Must produce before the SC satisfactory Evidence of good moral character;

6. No charges against him, involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines
(Sec. 2, Rule 138, RRC)

7. Must have complied with the Academic requirements;

8. Must Pass the bar examinations;

9. Take the lawyer’s Oath; and

10. Sign the Roll of Attorneys.

NOTE: Being allowed to take the bar examinations, and consequently passing the bar, does not necessarily entail
being allowed to take the lawyer’s oath of office.

Admission to Philippine Bar

Passing the Bar examination is not sufficient for admission of a person to the Philippine Bar. He still has to take the
oath of office and sign the Roll of Attorney’s as prerequisites to admission.

Q: Argosino passed the bar examinations held in 1993. The Court, however, deferred his oath-taking due to his
previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide. The criminal case, which resulted in
Argosino’s conviction, arose from the death of a neophyte during fraternity initiation rites. Various certifications
showed that he is a devout Catholic with a genuine concern for civic duties and public service. Also, it has been
proven that Mr. Argosino has exerted all efforts to atone for the death of Raul. Should Argosino be allowed to
take his lawyer's oath?

A: YES. The practice of law is a privilege granted only to those who possess the strict intellectual and moral
qualifications required of lawyers who are instruments in the effective and efficient administration of justice. The
SC recognizes that Mr. Argosino is not inherently of bad moral fiber given the various certifications that he is a
devout Catholic with a genuine concern for civic duties and public service and that it has been proved that he has
exerted all efforts to atone for the death of Raul and the court gave him the benefit of the doubt, taking judicial
notice of the general tendency of youth to be rash, temerarious and uncalculating (Re: Petition of Al Argosino to
Take the Lawyer’s Oath, B.M. No. 712, March 19, 1997).

Good moral character is a continuing requirement

The nature of the office of an attorney requires that a lawyer shall be a person of good moral character. Since this
qualification is a condition precedent to a license to enter upon the practice of law, the maintenance thereof is
equally essential during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the privilege (Grande v. Atty. De Silva,
A.C. No. 4838, July 29, 2003).

Practice of law by the clerk of court

GR: The practice of law by a clerk of court is not allowed, except isolated practice.

1. Written permission which must be approved by the Supreme Court; and

2. Approved leave of absence with justifiable reasons.

Q: Alex filed before the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance as private prosecutor in a criminal case for Grave
Threats where his father was the complainant.
Describing himself as a third year law student, he justified his appearance as private prosecutor on the basis of
Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. However, the MeTC denied his request on the ground that Circular
No. 19 governing limited law student practice in conjunction with Rule 138-A should take precedence over the
ruling of the Court that a non-lawyer may appear before the inferior courts as an agent or friend of a party
litigant. Was the denial of the court proper?

A: NO. In a Resolution dated June 10, 1997 in Bar Matter No. 730, the Court En Banc clarified: “The rule, however,
is different if the law student appears before an inferior court, where the issues and procedure are relatively
simple. In inferior courts, a law student may appear in his personal capacity without the supervision of a lawyer.”
As provided for in Section 34, Rule 138, “a law student may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of
a party without the supervision of a member of the bar.”
Petitioner expressly anchored his appearance on Section 34 of Rule 138. The court must have been confused by
the fact that petitioner referred to himself as a law student in his entry of appearance. Rule 138-A should not have
been used by the courts a quo in denying permission to act as private prosecutor against petitioner for the simple
reason that Rule 138-A is not the basis for petitioner’s appearance (Cruz v. Mina, et al, G.R. No. 154207, April 27,

Q: Ferdinand Cruz sought permission to enter his appearance for and on his behalf before the RTC as the
plaintiff in a Civil Case for Abatement of Nuisance. Cruz, a fourth year law student, anchors his claim on Section
34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court that a non-lawyer may appear before any court and conduct his litigation
personally. Judge Mijares denied the motion with finality. In the same Order, the trial court held that for the
failure of Cruz to submit the promised document and jurisprudence and for his failure to satisfy the
requirements or conditions under Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, his appearance was denied. Did the court act
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it denied the appearance of Cruz
as party litigant?

A: YES. The law recognizes the right of an individual to represent himself in any case to which he is a party. The
Rules state that a party may conduct his litigation personally or with the aid of an attorney, and that his
appearance must either be personal or by a duly authorized member of the Bar. The individual litigant may
personally do everything in the course of proceedings from commencement to the termination of the litigation.
Cruz as plaintiff, at his own instance, can personally conduct the litigation of his case. He would then be acting not
as a counsel or lawyer, but as a party exercising his right to represent himself.
The trial court must have been misled by the fact that Cruz is a law student and must, therefore, be subject to the
conditions of the Law Student Practice Rule. It erred in applying Rule 138-A, when the basis of Cruz's claim is
Section 34 of Rule 138. The former rule provides for conditions when a law student may appear in courts, while the
latter rule allows the appearance of a non- lawyer as a party representing himself (Cruz v. Mijares, et al., G.R. No.
154464, September 11, 2008).

Q: KWD, a GOCC, hired respondent, Atty. I, as private legal counsel for one (1) year effective with the consent of
the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the Commission on Audit (COA). The controversy
erupted when two (2) different groups, herein referred to as the Dela Peña board and Yaphockun board, laid
claim as the legitimate Board of Directors of KWD. Dela Peña board appointed respondents Atty. N, V and M as
private collaborating counsels for all cases of KWD and its Board of Directors, under the direct supervision and
control of Atty. I. Meanwhile, the OGCC had approved the retainership contract of Atty. C as new legal counsel
of KWD and stated that the retainership contract of Atty. I had expired. The termination of Atty. I’s contract was
said to be justified by the fact that the Local Water Utilities Administration had confirmed the Yaphockun board
as the new Board of Directors of KWD and that said board had terminated Atty. I’s services and requested to
hire another counsel. Complainants then filed a disbarment complaint against counsels V and M alleging that

A: YES. Attys. N, V and M had no valid authority to appear as collaborating counsels of KWD. Nothing in the records
shows that Atty. N was engaged by KWD as collaborating counsel. There is no proof that the OGCC and COA
approved their engagement as legal counsel or collaborating counsel. In the case of Atty. I, he also appeared as
counsel of KWD without authority, after his authority as its counsel had expired.
Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a member of the Bar may be disbarred or suspended from his
office as attorney by the Supreme Court for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case
without authority to do so. Disbarment, however, is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction, and, as such,
the power to disbar must always be exercised with great caution, and should be imposed only for the most
imperative reasons and in clear cases of misconduct affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an
officer of the court and member of the Bar. Accordingly, disbarment should not be decreed where any punishment
less severe such as a reprimand, suspension or fine, would accomplish the end desired. (Vargas v. Atty. Ignes, Atty.
Mann, Atty. Viajar and Atty. Nadua, A.C. No. 8096, July 5, 2010)

Q: Atty. Sagucio was the former Personnel Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat Industries Inc. until his
appointment as Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Tuguegarao. Taggat Industries was sequestered by the PCGG
and thus ceased its operations. As Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, he was assigned to conduct the preliminary
investigation over a criminal case filed against Taggat Industries. He recommended the filing of 651 Informations
for violation of the Labor Code. He was then charged for violating Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and for defying the prohibition against private practice of law while working as government
prosecutor. Is Atty. Sagucio guilty of engaging in private practice of law while working as an Assistant Provincial

A: YES. “Private practice of law” contemplates a succession of acts of the same nature habitually or customarily
holding one’s self to the public as a lawyer. Atty. Sagucio admitted that he rendered his legal services to
complainant while working as a government prosecutor. Even the receipts he signed stated that the payments by
Taggat were for "Retainer’s fee.” Thus, as correctly pointed out by complainant, Atty. Sagucio clearly violated the
prohibition in RA 6713.

Atty. Sagucio’s violation of RA 6713 also constitutes a violation of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which mandates that “[a]
lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.” His admission that he received from
Taggat fees for legal services while serving as a government prosecutor is an unlawful conduct, which constitutes a
violation of Rule 1.01 (Lim- Santiago v. Sagucio, A.C. No. 6705, March 31, 2006).

Practice of profession in the Philippines

GR: The practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens.

XPN: In cases provided by law. [1987 Constitution, Art. XII, Sec. 14(2)]

Regulation of profession or occupation

The power to regulate the exercise of a profession or pursuit of an occupation cannot be exercised by the State or
its agents in an arbitrary, despotic or oppressive manner. (Board of Med. v. Yasuyuki Ota, GR No. 166097, July 14,

NOTE: Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for admission to the bar, loss thereof terminates membership in
the Philippine bar and, consequently, the privilege to engage in the practice of law. The practice of law is a
privilege denied to foreigners.

XPN: when Filipino citizenship is lost by reason of naturalization as a citizen of another country but subsequently
reacquired pursuant to RA 9225.

Reason: all Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their
Philippine citizenship under the conditions of RA 9225. Thus, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another
country is deemed never to have lost his Filipino citizenship if he reacquires it in accordance with RA 9225.
Although he is also deemed never to have terminated his membership in the Philippine bar, no automatic right to
resume law practice accrues. (Petition for leave to resume practice of law, Dacanay, B.M. No. 1678, Dec. 17, 2007)

Scope of the rule-making power of the SC

1. The protection and enforcement of constitutional rights
2. Pleadings, practice and procedure in all courts
3. Admission to the practice of law
4. The Integrated Bar
5. Legal assistance to the underprivileged

Limitations on its rule making power

1. It should provide a simplified and inexpensive
procedure for the speedy disposition of cases.
2. It should be uniform for all courts of the same grade.
3. It should not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.