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Requirements “before admission to the bar” or for continuous “practice of mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice

an artifice or false statement of


law”, etc. fact or law;

Problem Areas in Legal Ethics (e) To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to
preserve the secrets of his client, and to accept no compensation in
Prohibited acts of an examinee
connection with his client's business except from him or with his knowledge
Rule 138 Sec. 12. Committee of examiners. - Examinations shall be and approval;
conducted by a committee of bar examiners to be appointed by the Supreme
(f) To abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial
Court. This committee shall be composed of a Justice of the Supreme Court,
to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice
who shall act as chairman, and who shall be designated by the court to serve
of the cause with which he is charged;
for one year, and eight members of the bar of the Philippines, who shall hold
office for a period of one year. The names of the members of this committee (g) Not to encourage either the commencement or the continuance of an
shall be published in each volume of the official reports. action or proceeding, or delay any man's cause, from any corrupt motive or
interest;
Rule 138 Sec. 13. Disciplinary measures. - No candidate shall endeavor to
influence any member of the committee, and during examination the (h) Never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause of the
candidates shall not communicate with each other nor shall they give or defenseless or oppressed;
receive any assistance. The candidate who violates this provision, or any
(i) In the defense of a person accused of crime, by all fair and honorable
other provision of this rule, shall be barred from the examination, and the
means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to
same to count as a failure against him, and further disciplinary action,
present every defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may be
including permanent disqualification, may be taken in the discretion of the
deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law.
court.

What is practice of law? Passing the bar exam is not enough

A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing
The Court ruled that the term “practice of law” implies customarily or
the bar examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld
habitually holding oneself out to the public as a lawyer for compensation as a
even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person seeking
source of livelihood or in consideration of his services. The Court further
admission had practiced law without a license.
ruled that holding one’s self out as a lawyer may be shown by acts indicative
of that purpose, such as identifying oneself as attorney, appearing in court in True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the
representation of a client, or associating oneself as a partner of a law office lawyer’s oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally
for the general practice of law. - Atty. Noe-Lacsaman v. Atty. Busmente, A.C. makes one a full-fledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar
No. 7269 [2011] examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only qualification to
become an attorney-at-law. Respondent should know that two essential
What is practice of law?
requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his
Any activity, in and out of court, that requires the application of law, legal lawyer’s oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of
procedure, knowledge, training and experience. Moreover, we ruled that to Attorneys. – Aguirre v. Rana, B. M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003
engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are
Signing of the Lawyer’s Oath is not equivalent to “taking the oath”
characteristics of the profession; to practice law is to give notice or render
any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of Respondent Abad should know that the circumstances which he has
legal knowledge or skill. - Query of Atty. Silverio-Buffe, A.M. No. 08-6-352- narrated do not constitute his admission to the Philippine Bar and the right to
RTC [2009] practice law thereafter. He should know that two essential requisites for
What is practice of law? becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyer's oath to be
administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys. (Rule
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; 138, Secs. 17 and 19, Rules of Court.) - Re: Elmo Abad, A. M. No. 139
it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions [1983]
and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings
Whether or not a lawyer is entitled to exemption from payment of his IBP
on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveyancing.
dues during the time that he was inactive in the practice of law
In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters
Thus, payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the
connected with the law xxx. - Aguirre v. Rana, B. M. No. 1036. June 10,
IBP, of which no one is exempt. This means that the compulsory nature of
2003
payment of dues subsists for as long as one’s membership in the IBP
Who may practice law? remains regardless of the lack of practice of, or the type of practice, the
member is engaged in.
Section 1, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides:
There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from payment of
Who may practice law. – Any person heretofore duly admitted as a member
membership dues. At most, as correctly observed by the IBP, he could have
of the bar, or thereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of
informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his intention to stay abroad
this Rule, and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.
before he left. In such case, his membership in the IBP could have been
Duties of attorneys terminated and his obligation to pay dues could have been discontinued. -
Letter of Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo Jr. B.M. 1370 May 9, 2005
Rule 138 RRC Sec. 20. Duties of attorneys. - It is the duty of an attorney:
Is IBP membership fee a form of tax?
(a) To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support
the Constitution and obey the laws of the Philippines; For the court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not mean
that the Court is attempting to levy a tax.
(b) To observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and
judicial officers; A membership fee in the Bar association is an exaction for regulation, while
tax purpose of a tax is a revenue. If the judiciary has inherent power to
(c) To counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to him regulate the Bar, it follows that as an incident to regulation, it may impose a
to be just, and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable membership fee for that purpose. It would not be possible to put on an
under the law; integrated Bar program without means to defray the expenses. The doctrine
of implied powers necessarily carries with it the power to impose such
(d) To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him,
exaction. - Letter of Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo Jr. B.M. 1370 May 9, 2005
such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never seek to
There is no provision under the CPR which prohibits the unauthorized A grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute a
practice of law criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high
degree. It is a willful, flagrant, or shameless act which shows a moral
CANON 9 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized
indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the community. -
practice of law.
Figueroa v. Barranco, Jr. SBC Case No. 519 1997
While a reading of Canon 9 appears to merely prohibit lawyers from assisting Good moral character v. Rehabilitation
in the unauthorized practice of law, the unauthorized practice of law by the
lawyer himself is subsumed under this provision, because at the heart of When an applicant for admission to the bar has committed first-degree
Canon 9 is the lawyer's duty to prevent the unauthorized practice of law. - murder, a crime that demonstrates an extreme lack of good moral character,
Petition to sign in the Roll of Attorneys, Medado, B.M. No. 2540 [2013] he must make an extraordinary showing of present good moral character to
establish that he or she is qualified to be admitted to the practice of law xxx.
Examples of unauthorized practice of law
To show rehabilitation, [one] must show that he has accepted responsibility
In the cases where we found a party liable for the unauthorized practice of
for his criminal conduct.
law, the party was guilty of some overt act like:
Rehabilitation is a necessary, but not sufficient, ingredient of good moral
1. signing court pleadings on behalf of his client;
character of bar applicant who had been convicted of a serious felony;
2. appearing before court hearings as an attorney; applicant must establish his current good moral character, independent of
and in addition to, evidence of rehabilitation. - In re: James Joseph Hamm
3. manifesting before the court that he will practice law despite being 123 P.3d 652 [2005]
previously denied admission to the bar; or
Rehabilitation is not enough
4. deliberately attempting to practice law and
 Even assuming that [one] has established rehabilitation, showing
5. holding out himself as an attorney through circulars with full knowledge rehabilitation from criminal conduct does not, in itself, establish
that he is not licensed to do so. good moral character.
- Normatan & Pagayokan v. Balajadia, G.R. No. 169517 2006  Rehabilitation is a necessary, but not sufficient, ingredient of good
moral character. An applicant must establish his current good
Pre-law requirements
moral character, independent of and in addition to, evidence of
Rule 138 Sec. 6. Pre-Law. - No applicant for admission to the bar rehabilitation.
examination shall be admitted unless he presents a certificate that he has
 Even assuming that he has established rehabilitation, showing
satisfied the Secretary of Education that, before he began the study of law,
rehabilitation from criminal conduct does not, in itself, establish
he had pursued and satisfactorily completed in an authorized and recognized
good moral character. - In re: James Joseph Hamm 123 P.3d 652
university or college, requiring for admission thereto the completion of a four-
[2005]
year high school course, the course of study prescribed therein for a
bachelor's degree in arts or sciences with any of the following subjects as What is an“upright character”?
major or field of concentration: political science, logic, english, spanish,
history and economics. 'Upright character' is something more than an absence of bad character. It
means that he [an applicant for admission] must have conducted himself as a
Violation of Rule 138 section 6 man of upright character ordinarily would, should, or does. Such character
expresses itself not in negatives nor in following the line of least resistance,
“[b]y utilizing the school records of his cousin and name-sake, Juan M.
but quite often in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and the
Publico when, in actual fact, petitioner had not completed Grade VI of his
resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is wrong. - In re: James Joseph
elementary schooling, much less, First and Second Year High School.”
Hamm 123 P.3d 652 [2005]
For all the foregoing, we find and so hold that respondent falsified his school
Past and Present moral character
records, by making it appear that he had finished or completed Grade VI
elementary and First and Second Year high school, when in truth and in fact We also agree with Hamm that, under the Rule applicable to Hamm's
he had not, thereby violating the provisions of Sections 5 and 6, Rule 127 of application, our concern must be with the applicant's present moral
the Rules of Court, which require completion by a bar examinee or candidate character. In Greenberg, we explained that "it is [the applicant's] moral
of the prescribed courses in elementary, high, pre-law and law school, prior character as of now with which we are concerned." xxx Past misconduct,
to his admission to the practice of law. - In re: Juan Publico,Petition for however, is not irrelevant. Rather, this Court must determine what past bad
Reinstatement in the Roll of Attorneys February 20, 1981 acts reveal about an applicant's current character. - In re: James Joseph
Hamm 123 P.3d 652 [2005]
Is breach of promise to marry gross immorality?
Effect of prior criminal conviction
 Respondent was prevented from taking the lawyer’s oath in 1971
because of the charges of gross immorality made by “Although a prior conviction is not conclusive of a lack of present good moral
complainant. To recapitulate, respondent bore an illegitimate character, ... it adds to his burden of establishing present good character by
child with his sweetheart, Patricia Figueroa, who also claims that requiring convincing proof of his full and complete rehabilitation.”- In re:
he did not fulfill his promise to marry her after he passes the bar James Joseph Hamm 123 P.3d 652 [2005]
examinations.
Is poverty of litigant a justification to engage in illegal practice of law?
 We find that these facts do not constitute gross immorality
warranting the permanent exclusion of respondent from the legal The defense of respondent that "his participation (sic) for defendants' cause
profession. His engaging in premarital sexual relations with was gratuitous as they could not engage the services of counsel by reason of
complainant and promises to marry suggests a doubtful moral poverty and the absence of one in the locality" cannot, even if true, carry the
character on his part but the same does not constitute grossly day for him, - Zeta v. Malinao, A.M. No. P-220, December 20, 1978
immoral conduct. The Court has held that to justify suspension or
Can a lawyer-detainee practice law?
disbarment the act complained of must not only be immoral, but
grossly immoral. - Figueroa v. Barranco, Jr. SBC Case No. 519 As a matter of law, when a person indicted for an offense is arrested, he is
1997 deemed placed under the custody of the law. He is placed in actual restraint
of liberty in jail so that he may be bound to answer for the commission of the
Grossly immoral act
offense. He must be detained in jail during the pendency of the case against
him, unless he is authorized by the court to be released on bail or on
recognizance. Let it be stressed that all prisoners whether under preventive thereof terminates membership in the Philippine bar and, consequently, the
detention or serving final sentence can not practice their profession nor privilege to engage in the practice of law. In other words, the loss of Filipino
engage in any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive, citizenship ipso jure terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines.
while in detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and detention. The practice of law is a privilege denied to foreigners. - Petition for leave to
– PP v. Hon. Maceda and Javellana G.R. No. 89591-96 January 24, resume practice of law,Dacanay B.M. No. 1678 December 17, 2007
2000
Effect of reacquisition of Filipino citizenship
What is the effect of non-payment of IBP dues?
A Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another country and later re-
Rule 139-A, Section 10 which provides that "default in the payment of annual acquires his Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225, remains to be a
dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the member of the Philippine Bar. – Petition to reacquire the privilege to practice
Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground law in the Philippines, Muneses, B.M. 2112 [2012]
for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of
Requirements before one can resume practice of law after reacquiring
Attorneys.“ - Santos, Jr. V. Atty. Llamas A.C No. 4749 [2000]
Filipino citizenship
Misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had paid his IBP dues
Before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can
 By indicating "IBP-Rizal 259060" in his pleadings and thereby resume his law practice, he must first secure from this Court the authority to
misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had paid his do so, conditioned on:
IBP dues to the Rizal Chapter, respondent is guilty of violating the
(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the
Code of Professional Responsibility which provides:
IBP;
 Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
(b) the payment of professional tax;
immoral or deceitful conduct.
(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal
 CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE
education; this is specially significant to refresh the applicant/petitioner’s
INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION, AND
knowledge of Philippine laws and update him of legal developments and
SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.
(d) the retaking of the lawyer’s oath which will not only remind him of his
 CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND
duties and responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also
GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT.
renew his pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. –
 Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor Petition for leave to resume practice of law, Dacanay B.M. No. 1678
consent to the doing of any court; nor shall he mislead or allow the December 17, 2007
court to be misled by any artifice. - Santos, Jr. V. Atty. Llamas A.C
What is the purpose for requiring the retaking of Lawyer’s Oath?
No. 4749 [2000]
The retaking of the lawyer’s oath which will not only remind him of his duties
Is a “senior citizen” lawyer exempted from payment of ITR also exempted
and responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also renew
from payment of IBP dues?
his pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.
While it is true that R.A. No. 7432, §4 grants senior citizens "exemption from
Citizenship requirement in order to practice law in the Philippines
the payment of individual income taxes: provided, that their annual taxable
income does not exceed the poverty level as determined by the National Constitution Art. 12 Section 14. xxx. The practice of all professions in the
Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for that year," the exemption Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens, save in cases prescribed by
does not include payment of membership or association dues. - Santos, Jr. law.
V. Atty. Llamas A.C No. 4749 [2000]
Requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar
Intent is necessary to be guilty of unauthorized practice of law
Section 2, Rule 138 (Attorneys and Admission to Bar) of the Rules of Court:
In several cases, we have ruled that the unauthorized practice of law by
assuming to be an attorney and acting as such without authority constitutes Requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar. – Every applicant
indirect contempt which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. The for admission as a member of the bar must be a citizen of the Philippines, at
liability for the unauthorized practice of law under Section 3(e), Rule 71 of the least twenty-one years of age, of good moral character, and a resident of the
Rules of Court is in the nature of criminal contempt and the acts are Philippines; and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory
punished because they are an affront to the dignity and authority of the court, evidence of good moral character, and that no charges against him, involving
and obstruct the orderly administration of justice. In determining liability for moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the
criminal contempt, well-settled is the rule that intent is a necessary element, Philippines.
and no one can be punished unless the evidence makes it clear that he
Continuing requirements to practice law
intended to commit it. - Normatan & Pagayokan v. Balajadia, G.R. No.
169517 2006 The second requisite for the practice of law ― membership in good standing
― is a continuing requirement. This means continued membership and,
Does giving up Philippine citizenship automatically result into lost of
concomitantly, payment of annual membership dues in the IBP; payment of
membership in the Philippine bar?
the annual professional tax; compliance with the mandatory continuing legal
The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in the education requirement; faithful observance of the rules and ethics of the legal
Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by profession and being continually subject to judicial disciplinary control. -
law. Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for admission to the bar, loss Petition for leave to resume practice of law,Dacanay B.M. No. 1678
thereof terminates membership in the Philippine bar and, consequently, the December 17, 2007
privilege to engage in the practice of law. In other words, the loss of Filipino
Phases of admission to the bar
citizenship ipso jure terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines.
The practice of law is a privilege denied to foreigners. - Petition for leave to Moreover, admission to the bar involves various phases such as furnishing
resume practice of law,Dacanay B.M. No. 1678 December 17, 2007 satisfactory proof of educational, moral and other qualifications; passing the
bar examinations; taking the lawyer’s oath and signing the roll of attorneys
May a lawyer who has lost his Filipino citizenship still practice law in
and receiving from the clerk of court of this Court a certificate of the license
the Philippines?
to practice. - Petition for leave to resume practice of law,Dacanay B.M. No.
The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in the 1678 December 17, 2007
Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by
law. Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for admission to the bar, loss
Can a successful examinee take his oath before any person allowed by law (h) Never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause of the
to administer an oath? defenseless or oppressed;

Rule 138 Sec. 17. Admission and oath of successful applicants. - An (i) In the defense of a person accused of crime, by all fair and honorable
applicant who has passed the required examination, or has been otherwise means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to
found to be entitled to admission to the bar, shall take and subscribe before present every defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may be
the Supreme Court the corresponding oath of office. deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law.

Inasmuch as the oath as lawyer is a prerequisite to the practice of law and What is a lawyer’s proof of authority to practice of law?
may be taken only, before the Supreme Court, by those authorized by the
Rule 138 Sec. 18. Certificate. - The Supreme Court shall thereupon admit the
latter to engage in such practice xxx. – PP v. De Luna, et. al. G.R. Nos. L-
applicant as a member of the bar for all the courts of the Philippines, and
10236-48. January 31, 1958
shall direct an order to be entered to that effect upon its records, and that a
Section 2. Section 41 of the Administrative Code of 1987 is hereby amended certificate of such record be given to him by the clerk of court, which
to read as follows certificate shall be his authority to practice.

Sec. 41. Officers Authorized to Administer Oath. - The following officers have Failure to sign in the Roll of Attorneys
general authority to administer oaths:
Petitioner did not sign in the Roll of Attorneys for 32 years. What he had
President; signed at the entrance of the PICC was probably just an attendance record.

Vice-President; As Medado is not yet a full-fledged lawyer, we cannot suspend him from the
practice of law. However, we see it fit to impose upon him a penalty akin to
Members and Secretaries of both Houses of the Congress;
suspension by allowing him to sign in the Roll of Attorneys one ( 1) year after
Members of the Judiciary; receipt of this Resolution. For his transgression of the prohibition against the
unauthorized practice of law, we likewise see it fit to fine him in the amount of
Secretaries of Departments; P32,000. – Petition to sign in the Roll of Attorneys, Medado, B.M. No. 2540
[2013]
provincial governors and lieutenant-governors;
Certificate of Membership & Certificate of Membership in Good Standing in
city mayors;
IBP
municipal mayors;
Certificate of Membership in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines as well as a
bureau directors; Certificate of Membership in Good Standing with the Quezon City Chapter of
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines do not constitute his admission to the
…authorized to administer oath Philippine Bar and the right to practice law thereafter. - Re: Elmo Abad, A. M.
regional directors; No. 139 [1983]

clerks of courts; Requirements after flunking the bar 3 times

registrars of deeds; Sec. 16. Failing candidates to take review course. - Candidates who have
failed the bar examinations for three times shall be disqualified from taking
other civilian officers in the public service of the government of the another examination unless they show to the satisfaction of the court that
Philippines whose appointments are vested in the President and are subject they have enrolled in and passed regular fourth year review classes as well
to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; as attended a pre-bar review course in a recognized law school.
all other constitutional officers; The professors of the individual review subjects attended by the candidates
under this rule shall certify under oath that the candidates have regularly
and notaries public."
attended classes and passed the subjects under the same conditions as
Duties of Attorneys ordinary students and the ratings obtained by them in the particular subject.

Rule 138 section 20 - It is the duty of an attorney: Authority to appear in behalf of a client

(a) To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support Sec. 21. Authority of attorney to appear. - An attorney is presumed to be
the Constitution and obey the laws of the Philippines; properly authorized to represent any cause in which he appears, and no
written “power of attorney” is required to authorize him to appear in court for
(b) To observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and his client, but the presiding judge may, on motion of either party and on
judicial officers; reasonable grounds therefor being shown, require any attorney who
(c) To counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to him assumes the right to appear in a case to produce or prove the authority
to be just, and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable under which he appears, and to disclose, whenever pertinent to any issue,
under the law; the name of the person who employed him, and may thereupon make such
order as justice requires. An attorney wilfully appearing in court for a person
(d) To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him, without being employed, unless by leave of the court, may be punished for
such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never seek to contempt as an officer of the court who has misbehaved in his official
mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of transactions.
fact or law;
A “Counselor” is not an “Attorney”
(e) To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to
preserve the secrets of his client, and to accept no compensation in The title of "attorney" is reserved to those who, having obtained the
connection with his client's business except from him or with his knowledge necessary degree in the study of law and successfully taken the Bar
and approval; Examinations, have been admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
and remain members thereof in good standing; and it is they only who are
(f) To abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.
to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice
of the cause with which he is charged; His disinclination to use the title of "counselor" does not warrant his use of
the title of attorney. - Alawi v. Alauya, A.M. SDC-97-2-P. February 24,
(g) Not to encourage either the commencement or the continuance of an 1997
action or proceeding, or delay any man's cause, from any corrupt motive or
interest; “Of counsel”
Of counsel is, in the legal profession of the United States, often the title of an Rule 138 (RRC) Sec. 34. By whom litigation conducted. - In the court of a
attorney who has a relationship with a law firm or an organization, but is not justice of the peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the
an associate or a partner. Some firms use titles such as "counsel", "special aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid
counsel", and "senior counsel" for the same concept. of an attorney.

A counsel employed by a party in a case, particularly to assist in the In any other court, a party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid
preparation and management of an action or its presentation on appeal but of an attorney, and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly
who is the counsel of record for a party. May also refer to a retired or semi- authorized member of the bar.
retired member of a law firm, or an outside attorney that only does occasional
Rule 138 section 34 does not apply in cases before the RTC
or special legal work for the law firm.
The Rules are clear. In municipal courts, the litigant may be assisted by a
Requirements after flunking the bar 3 times
friend, agent, or an attorney. However, in cases before the regional trial
Enrollment and completion of pre-bar review course is an additional court, the litigant must be aided by a duly authorized member of the
requirement under Rule 138 of the Rules of Court for those who failed the bar. The rule invoked by the Torcinos applies only to cases filed with the
bar examinations for three (3) or more times. - In re: Purisima, B.M. Nos. 979 regional trial court and not to cases before a municipal court. - Bulacan v.
and 986 [2002] Torcino, G.R. No. L-44388 January 30, 1985

Can an “indefinite suspension” from the practice of law prohibit him from filing But for the protection of the parties and in the interest of justice, the
a citizen or taxpayer suit? requirement for appearances in regional trial courts and higher courts
is more stringent. – Bulacan v. Torcino, G.R. No. L-44388 January 30, 1985
Petitioner Alan F. Paguia (petitioner), as citizen and taxpayer, filed this
original action for the writ of certiorari to invalidate President Gloria Reconciling the 2 rules
Macapagal-Arroyo’s nomination of respondent former Chief Justice Hilario G.
There is really no problem as to the application of Section 34 of Rule 138 and
Davide, Jr. (respondent Davide) as Permanent Representative to the United
Rule 138-A. In the former, the appearance of a non-lawyer, as an agent or
Nations (UN) for violation of Section 23 of Republic Act No. 7157 (RA 7157),
friend of a party litigant, is expressly allowed, while the latter rule provides for
the Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991.
conditions when a law student, not as an agent or a friend of a party litigant,
In their separate Comments, respondent Davide, the Office of the President, may appear before the courts. - Cruz v. Mina GR no. 154207 April 27, 2007
and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (respondents) raise threshold issues
The phrase“In the court of a justice of the peace”means:
against the petition. First, they question petitioner’s standing to bring this suit
because of his indefinite suspension from the practice of law. The phrase “In the court of a justice of the peace” in Bar Matter No. 730 is
subsequently changed to “In the court of a municipality” as it now appears in
An incapacity to bring legal actions peculiar to petitioner also obtains.
Section 34 of Rule 138, thus:
Petitioner’s suspension from the practice of law bars him from performing
“any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal SEC. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. — In the Court of a municipality
procedure, knowledge, training and experience.” Certainly, preparing a a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend
petition raising carefully crafted arguments on equal protection grounds and appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other
employing highly legalistic rules of statutory construction to parse Section 23 court, a party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney
of RA 7157 falls within the proscribed conduct. - Paguia v. Office of the and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized member
President, G.R. No. 176278 [2010] of the bar. - Cruz v. Mina GR no. 154207 April 27, 2007
Law Student Rule
The term "Municipal Trial Courts" as used in these Rules shall include:
RULE 138-A LAW STUDENT PRACTICE RULE SC Circular No. 19, prom.
Dec. 19, 1986 1. Metropolitan Trial Courts,
SECTION 1. Conditions for Student Practice. — A law student who has 2. Municipal Trial Courts in Cities,
successfully completed his 3rd year of the regular four-year prescribed
law curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law school's clinical legal 3. Municipal Trial Courts, and
education program approved by the Supreme Court, may appear without
4. Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.
compensation in any civil, criminal or administrative case before any
trial court, tribunal, board or officer, to present any indigent clients - Cruz v. Mina GR no. 154207 April 27, 2007
accepted by the legal clinic of the law school.
BAR MATTER NO.730 June 13, 1997
…LAW STUDENT PRACTICE RULE
For the guidance of the bench and bar, we hold that a law student
Sec. 2. Appearance. — The appearance of the law student authorized by this appearing before the Regional Trial Court under Rule 138-A should at all
rule, shall be under the direct supervision and control of a member of the times be accompanied by a supervising lawyer.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines duly accredited by the law school. Any
and all pleadings, motions, briefs, memoranda or other papers to be filed, Law student can appear without supervision of a lawyer
must be signed by the supervising attorney for and in behalf of the legal The rule, however, is different if the law student appears before an inferior
clinic. court, where the issues and procedure are relatively simple. In inferior
The phrase "direct supervision and control" requires no less than the courts, a law student may appear in his personal capacity without the
physical presence of the supervising lawyer during the hearing. supervision of a lawyer.

Sec. 3. Privileged communications. — The Rules safeguarding privileged Thus, a law student may appear before an inferior court as an agent or
communications between attorney and client shall apply to similar friend of a party without the supervision of a member of the bar.
communications made to or received by the law student, acting for the legal Caution when one act as his own attorney
clinic.
This provision means that in a litigation, parties may personally do everything
Sec. 4. Standards of conduct and supervision. — The law student shall during its progress -- from its commencement to its termination. When they,
comply with the standards of professional conduct governing members however, act as their own attorneys, they are restricted to the same rules
of the Bar. Failure of an attorney to provide adequate supervision of of evidence and procedure as those qualified to practice law; otherwise,
student practice may be a ground for disciplinary action. ignorance would be unjustifiably rewarded. Individuals have long been
permitted to manage, prosecute and defend their own actions; and when
Rule 138 (RRC) Sec. 34
they do so, they are not considered to be in the practice of law. "One
does not practice law by acting for himself any more than he practices address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall
medicine by rendering first aid to himself.“ – Maderada v. Judge Mediodea, sign his pleading and state his address.
A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459. October 14, 2003
DECIDE.
Appearing as his own attorney is not “practice of law”
Held:
Clearly, in appearing for herself, complainant was not customarily or
habitually holding herself out to the public as a lawyer. Neither was she Under the facts of this case, however, the applicable provision is Section 34,
Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which states:
demanding payment for such services. Hence, she cannot be said to be in
the practice of law. - Maderada v. Judge Mediodea, A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459. SEC. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. In the Court of a municipality a
October 14, 2003 party may conduct his litigation in person with the aid of an agent or friend
appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any
The law allows persons who are not lawyers by profession to litigate
their own case in court. The right of complainant to litigate her case other court, a party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an
attorney and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized
personally cannot be taken away from her. - Maderada v. Judge Mediodea,
member of the bar.
A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459. October 14, 2003
- Bulacan v. Torcino, G.R. No. L-44388 January 30, 1985
UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW
Supervising lawyer should be the one to sign the pleadings
CANON 9 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST
IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW. Rule 7 (RRC) Section 3. Signature and address. — Every pleading must be
signed by the party or counsel representing him, stating in either case his
Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the
address which should not be a post office box.
performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member
of the bar in good standing. Signing amounts to certification of lawyer
Threefold rationale behind the Law Student Practice Rule Rule 7 (RRC) Section 3. xxx The signature of counsel constitutes a certificate
by him that he has read the pleading; that to the best of his knowledge,
1. to ensure that there will be no miscarriage of justice as a result of
information, and belief there is good ground to support it; and that it is
incompetence or inexperience of law students, who, not having as yet
not interposed for delay.
passed the test of professional competence, are presumably not fully
equipped to act a counsels on their own; Effect of unsigned pleadings
2. to provide a mechanism by which the accredited law school clinic may be Rule 7 (RRC) Section 3. An unsigned pleading produces no legal effect.
able to protect itself from any potential vicarious liability arising from However, the court may, in its discretion, allow such deficiency to be
some culpable action by their law students; and remedied if it shall appear that the same was due to mere inadvertence and
not intended for delay. Counsel who deliberately files an unsigned
3. to ensure consistency with the fundamental principle that no person
pleading,xxx, shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
is allowed to practice a particular profession without possessing the
qualifications, particularly a license, as required by law. Can a third year law student appear as private prosecutor in a criminal case
and within the jurisdiction of the inferior court?
Presiding judge has no discretion
The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law student, justifies his
The matter of allowing a law student to appear before the court
appearance as private prosecutor on the bases of Section 34 of Rule
unaccompanied by a supervising lawyer cannot be left to the discretion of
138 of the Rules of Court.
the presiding judge. The rule clearly states that the appearance of the law
student shall be under the direct control and supervision of a member of The petitioner furthermore avers that his appearance was with the prior
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines duly accredited by law schools. The rule conformity of the public prosecutor and a written authority of Mariano
must be strictly construed because public policy demands that legal work Cruz appointing him to be his agent in the prosecution of the said criminal
should be entrusted only to those who possess tested qualifications, are case.
sworn to observe the rules and ethics of the legal profession and subject to
judicial disciplinary control. - BAR MATTER NO. 730 June 13, 1997 The MeTC denied permission for petitioner to appear as private prosecutor
on the ground that Circular No. 19 (1997) governing limited law student
Appearance of a law student in inferior courts does not require supervision of practice in conjunction with Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law
lawyer Student Practice Rule) should take precedence over the ruling of the
Court laid down in Cantimbuhan (1983).
For relatively simple litigation before municipal courts, the Rules still allow a
more educated or capable person in behalf of a litigant who cannot get a Held:
lawyer. - Bulacan v. Torcino, G.R. No. L-44388 January 30, 1985
Petitioner expressly anchored his appearance on Section 34 of Rule 138.
The rule, however, is different if the law student appears before an inferior The court a quo must have been confused by the fact that petitioner referred
court, where the issues and procedure are relatively simple. In inferior to himself as a law student in his entry of appearance. Rule 138-A should
courts, a law student may appear in his personal capacity without the not have been used by the courts a quo in denying permission to act as
supervision of a lawyer. - BAR MATTER NO. 730 June 13, 1997 private prosecutor against petitioner for the simple reason that Rule 138-
A is not the basis for the petitioner’s appearance.
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. - BAR MATTER Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior courts by a
NO. 730 June 13, 1997 non-lawyer is allowed, irrespective of whether or not he is a law student.
As succinctly clarified in Bar Matter No. 730, by virtue of Section 34, Rule
The respondent alleges that the complaint is irregular as it was signed not
138, a law student may appear, as an agent or a friend of a party
by the plaintiff but by one who was not a member of the bar and who
litigant, without the supervision of a lawyer before inferior courts. - Cruz v.
designated himself merely as "Friend counsel for the Plaintiff." The
Mina GR no. 154207 April 27, 2007
appellants argue that the municipal court did not acquire jurisdiction over the
case. Fiscal’s role when there is a private prosecutor
They invoke Section 5, Rule 7 which states that [SEC. 5. Signature and The permission of the fiscal is not necessary for one to enter his
address] [e]very pleading of a party represented by an attorney shall be appearance as private prosecutor. In the first place, the law does not
signed by at least one attorney of record in his individual name, whose impose this condition. What the fiscal can do, if he wants to handle the
case personally is to disallow the private prosecutor's participation, whether
he be a lawyer or not, in the trial of the case. On the other hand, if the fiscal which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a wilfull
desires the active participation of the private prosecutor, he can just manifest disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or wilfully
to the court that the private prosecutor, with its approval, will conduct the appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do. The
prosecution of the case under his supervision and control. – Cantimbuhan v. practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either
Hon. Cruz, Jr., G.R. No. L-51813-14 November 29, 1983 personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.

Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court Rule 2.03 should be read in connection with Rule 1.03 of the CPR

SEC. 4. Who must prosecute criminal actions. — All criminal actions either Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed
commenced by complaint or by information shall be prosecuted under the primarily to solicit legal business.
direction and control of the fiscal.
RULE 1.03. A LAWYER SHALL NOT, FOR ANY CORRUPT MOTIVE OR
xxx xxx xxx INTEREST, ENCOURAGE ANY SUIT OR PROCEEDING OR DELAY ANY
MAN’S CAUSE.
SEC. 15. Intervention of the offended party in criminal action. — Unless the
offended party has waived the civil action or expressly reserved the This rule proscribes “ambulance chasing” (the solicitation of almost any kind
right to institute it separately from the criminal action, and subject to the of legal business by an attorney, personally or through an agent in order to
provisions of section 4 hereof, he may intervene, personally or by attorney, gain employment) as a measure to protect the community from barratry and
in the prosecution of the offense. champerty. - Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4,
2009

Do not “pirate” a client

CANON 8 - A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH COURTESY,


FAIRNESS AND CANDOR TOWARDS HIS PROFESSIONAL
COLLEAGUES, AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST
OPPOSING COUNSEL.

Rule 8.02 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the
Solicitation of legal services professional employment of another lawyer, however, it is the right of any
lawyer, without fear or favor, to give proper advice and assistance to those
Code of Professional Responsibility
seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel.
CANON 2 - A LAWYER SHALL MAKE HIS LEGAL SERVICES AVAILABLE
IN AN EFFICIENT AND CONVENIENT MANNER COMPATIBLE WITH THE
The following elements distinguish the legal profession from a business:
INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE
PROFESSION. 1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument is a by-product,
and in which one may attain the highest eminence without making much
Rule 2.01 - A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the cause of
money;
the defenseless or the oppressed.
2. A relation as an “officer of the court” to the administration of
Rule 2.02 - In such cases, even if the lawyer does not accept a case, he shall
justice involving thorough sincerity, integrity and reliability;
not refuse to render legal advice to the person concerned if only to the extent
necessary to safeguard the latter's rights. 3. A relation to clients in the highest degree of fiduciary;
Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed 4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by candor,
primarily to solicit legal business. fairness, and unwillingness to resort to current business methods of
advertising and encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly with their
Rule 2.04 - A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those customarily
clients. - Atty. Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003
prescribed unless the circumstances so warrant.
General rule
Code of Professional Responsibility
Hence, lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for the purpose of gain,
CANON 3 - A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS LEGAL SERVICES
either personally or through paid agents or brokers. Such actuation
SHALL USE ONLY TRUE, HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE
constitutes malpractice, a ground for disbarment. - Linsangan v. Atty.
INFORMATION OR STATEMENT OF FACTS.
Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent,
“Solicitation or obtaining of professional employment by any means of
misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim
communication." - Geffen v. Moss, 53 Cal.App.3d 215, 125 Cal.Rptr. 687
regarding his qualifications or legal services.
[1975]
Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading or assumed
Solicitation or Ambulance chasing
name shall be used. The continued use of the name of a deceased partner is
permissible provided that the firm indicates in all its communications that said We need not labor the point that solicitation or ambulance chasing, so-
partner is deceased. called, either directly or indirectly through the services of runners or others, is
conduct which is reprehensible and inimicable to the traditions and
Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he shall withdraw from the
best interests of the legal profession. Not only does it provoke derision
firm and his name shall be dropped from the firm name unless the law allows
and disrespect in the eyes of the public, but it is an overreaching of the other
him to practice law currently.
members of the profession who adhere to the standards fixed by canons of
Rule 3.04 - A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of value to ethics and the dictates of good conscience. To permit such conduct to
representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for publicity continue undeterred could only result in unsavory competitions and
to attract legal business. consequences materially detrimental to the dignity and honor of the
legal profession as a whole. - In re Krasner 204 N.E.2d 10 (1965)
Rule 138
Solicitation of a political organization
Sec. 27. Attorneys removed or suspended by Supreme Court on what
grounds. - A member of the bar may be removed or suspended from his Appellant, a practicing lawyer in South Carolina who was also a cooperating
office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other lawyer with a branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), after
gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his advising a gathering of women of their legal rights resulting from their having
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath been sterilized as a condition of receiving public medical assistance,
informed one of the women in a subsequent letter that free legal assistance gain employment) as a measure to protect the community from barratry and
was available from the ACLU. Thereafter, the disciplinary Board of the South champerty. - Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
Carolina Supreme Court charged and determined that appellant, by sending
Champertous contract
such letter, had engaged in soliciting a client in violation of certain
Disciplinary Rules of the State Supreme Court, and issued a private Champerty n. an agreement between the party suing in a lawsuit (plaintiff)
reprimand. and another person, usually an attorney, who agrees to finance and carry
the lawsuit in return for a percentage of the recovery (money won and
Issue: WON the lawyer engaged in unethical solicitation.
paid.) In Common Law this was illegal on the theory that it encouraged
…… lawsuits.

Solicitation of prospective litigants by nonprofit organizations that engage in Contingent fee is valid
litigation as "a form of political expression" and "political association"
Contingent fee contracts are permitted in this jurisdiction because they
constitutes expressive and associational conduct entitled to First Amendment
redound to the benefit of the poor client and the lawyer "especially in cases
protection, as to which government may regulate only "with narrow
where the client has meritorious cause of action, but no means with which to
specificity.”
pay for legal services unless he can, with the sanction of law, make a
The "collective activity undertaken to obtain meaningful access to the courts contract for a contingent fee to be paid out of the proceeds of litigation.
is a fundamental right within the protection of the First Amendment." - In re Oftentimes, the contingent fee arrangement is the only means by which the
Primus, 436 U.S. 412 (1978) poor clients can have their rights vindicated and upheld."

Lawyer visited 2 accident victims As long as the lawyer does not exert undue influence on his client, that no
fraud is committed or imposition applied, or that the compensation is
He approached two young accident victims at a time when they were
clearly not excessive as to amount to extortion, a contract for contingent
especially incapable of making informed judgments or of assessing and fee is valid and enforceable. – Fabillo v. IAC G.R. No. L-68838 March 11,
protecting their own interests. He solicited [the victim] in a hospital room
1991
where she lay in traction, and sought out [the other victim] on the day she
came home from the hospital, knowing from his prior inquiries that she had Acceptance fee
just been released.
An acceptance fee is not a contingent fee, but is an absolute fee
Appellant urged his services upon the young women. He employed a arrangement which entitles a lawyer to get paid for his efforts regardless of
concealed tape recorder, seemingly to insure that he would have evidence of the outcome of the litigation. - Yu v. Bondal, A.C. No. 5534, January 17, 2005
[victim’s] oral assent to the representation. He emphasized that his fee would
Touters - someone who advertises for customers in an especially brazen
come out of the recovery, thereby tempting the young women with what
way.
sounded like a cost-free and therefore irresistible offer.
Common barratry consisting of frequently stirring up suits and quarrels
……
between individuals.
Held: The Bar, acting with state authorization, constitutionally may discipline
Only way to announce legal service
a lawyer for soliciting clients in person, for pecuniary gain, under
circumstances likely to pose dangers that the State has a right to prevent, For this reason, lawyers are only allowed to announce their services by
and thus the application of the Disciplinary Rules in question to appellant publication in reputable law lists or use of simple professional cards. -
does not offend the Constitution. Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
(a) A lawyer's solicitation of business through direct, in-person Nonetheless, the solicitation of legal business is not altogether
communication with the prospective clients has long been viewed as proscribed. However, for solicitation to be proper, it must be compatible
inconsistent with the profession's ideal of the attorney-client relationship and with the dignity of the legal profession. If it is made in a modest and
as posing a significant potential for harm to the prospective client. decorous manner, it would bring no injury to the lawyer and to the bar. -
Atty. Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003
(b) The State does not lose its power to regulate commercial activity deemed
harmful to the public simply because speech is a component of that activity. For this reason, lawyers are only allowed to announce their services by
publication in reputable law lists or use of simple professional cards.
(c) A lawyer's procurement of remunerative employment is only marginally
Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
affected with First Amendment concerns. While entitled to some
constitutional protection, [respondent's] conduct is subject to regulation in Professional calling cards may only contain the following details:
furtherance of important state interests. - Ohralik v. Ohio State Bar Assn.,
436 U.S. 447 (1978) (a) lawyer’s name;

…… (b) name of the law firm with which he is connected;

(d) In addition to its general interest in protecting consumers and regulating (c) address;
commercial transactions, the State bears a special responsibility for
(d) telephone number and
maintaining standards among members of the licensed professions,
especially members of the Bar. Protection of the public from those aspects of (e) special branch of law practiced.
solicitation that involve fraud, undue influence, intimidation, overreaching,
and other forms of "vexatious conduct" is a legitimate and important state - Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
interest. Brief biographical and informative data
(e) Because the State's interest is in averting harm by prohibiting solicitation Such data must not be misleading and may include only the following:
in circumstances where it is likely to occur, the absence of explicit proof or
findings of harm or injury to the person solicited is immaterial. The application 1. a statement of the lawyer’s name and the names of his professional
of the Disciplinary Rules to appellant, who solicited employment for associates;
pecuniary gain under circumstances likely to result in the adverse
2. addresses, telephone numbers, cable addresses;
consequences the State seeks to avert, does not offend the Constitution.
3. branches of law practiced;
Ambulance chasing
4. date and place of birth and admission to the bar;
This rule proscribes “ambulance chasing” (the solicitation of almost any kind
of legal business by an attorney, personally or through an agent in order to
5. schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees and other educational “ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE Specialist 532-4333/521-2667.”
distinctions;
- Atty. Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003
6. public or quasi-public offices;
Thus, the use of simple signs stating the name or names of the lawyers, the
7. posts of honor; office and residence address and fields of practice, as well as advertisement
in legal periodicals bearing the same brief data, are permissible. Even the
8. legal authorships;
use of calling cards is now acceptable. Publication in reputable law lists, in a
9. legal teaching positions; manner consistent with the standards of conduct imposed by the canon, of
brief biographical and informative data is likewise allowable. - Atty. Khan Jr.
10. membership and offices in bar associations and committees thereof, in v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003
legal and scientific societies and legal fraternities;
Calling card of Atty. Tolentino
11. the fact of listings in other reputable law lists;
…..
12. the names and addresses of references; and,
Complainant alleged that respondent, with the help of paralegal Fe Marie
13. with their written consent, the names of clients regularly represented. - Labiano, convinced his clients to transfer legal representation. Respondent
Atty. Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003 promised them financial assistance and expeditious collection on their
claims. To induce them to hire his services, he persistently called them
Acceptable law list publication
and sent them text messages.
The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose;
To support his allegations, complainant presented the sworn affidavit of
it cannot be a mere supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade journal
James Gregorio attesting that Labiano tried to prevail upon him to sever his
or periodical which is published principally for other purposes. For that
lawyer-client relations with complainant and utilize respondent’s services
reason, a lawyer may not properly publish his brief biographical and
instead, in exchange for a loan of P50,000.
informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program.
Nor may a lawyer permit his name to be published in a law list the conduct, …..
management, or contents of which are calculated or likely to deceive or injure
the public or the bar, or to lower dignity or standing of the profession. - Atty. Moreover, by engaging in a money-lending venture with his clients as
Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003 borrowers, respondent violated Rule 16.04:

Acceptable publication Rule 16.04 – A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the
client’s interests are fully protected by the nature of the case or by
The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except,
may contain only a statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a
is connected with, address, telephone number and special branch of law legal matter he is handling for the client. - Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C.
practiced. The publication of a simple announcement of the opening of a No. 6672, September 4, 2009
law firm or of changes in the partnership, associates, firm name or
office address, being for the convenience of the profession, is not …..
objectionable. - Atty. Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299, August 19, The rule is that a lawyer shall not lend money to his client. The only
2003
exception is, when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary
Telephone directory expenses (such as filing fees, stenographer’s fees for transcript of
stenographic notes, cash bond or premium for surety bond, etc.) for a matter
He may likewise have his name listed in a telephone directory but not under that he is handling for the client.
a designation of special branch of law. - Atty. Khan Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo,
A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003 The rule is intended to safeguard the lawyer’s independence of mind so that
the free exercise of his judgment may not be adversely affected. It seeks to
Whether or not the firm of Velasquez, Rodriguez, Respicio, Ramos, Nidea, ensure his undivided attention to the case he is handling as well as his entire
and Prado may call itself “A law Firm Of St. Thomas More and Associate devotion and fidelity to the client’s cause. - Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C.
Members” No. 6672, September 4, 2009
We agree with the OBC. Rule 3.02 is clear. No name not belonging to any Lending money to client
of the partners or associates may be used in the firm name for any
purpose. In one case, we have ruled that the use of the firm name of a If the lawyer lends money to the client in connection with the client’s case,
foreign law firm is unethical because that firm is not authorized to the lawyer in effect acquires an interest in the subject matter of the case or
practice law in this jurisdiction. In this case, “The Law Firm of St. Thomas an additional stake in its outcome. Either of these circumstances may lead
More and Associate Members” is not a law firm in this jurisdiction or even in the lawyer to consider his own recovery rather than that of his client, or to
any other jurisdiction. A “St. Thomas More and Associates” or STMA is in accept a settlement which may take care of his interest in the verdict to
fact the socio-political ministry or the couples for Christ, a Christian family- the prejudice of the client in violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to the
renewal community. - PP v. Gonzalez, Jr., G.R. No. 139542 June 10, 2003 client’s cause. - Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4,
2009
…..
Uninformative fact
To appellate to the name of the lawyers “The Law Firm of St. Thomas More
and Associate Members” indeed appears misleading. It implies that St. Somewhat more troubling is appellant's listing, in large capital letters, that he
Thomas More is a Law Firm when in fact it is not it would also convey to was a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.
the public the impression that the lawyers are members of the law firm which The emphasis of this relatively uninformative fact is at least bad taste. - In re:
does not exist. To the public, it would seem that the purpose or intention of R.M.J. 455 U.S. 191 [1982]
adding “The Law Firm of St. Thomas More and Associates Members” is to
Including a government lawyer in a business card
bask in the name of a Saint, although that may not really, be the purpose or
intention of the lawyers. The appellation only tends to confuse the public Thus, while he may not be actually and directly employed with the firm, the
and in a way demean both the saints and the legal profession whose fact that his name appears on the calling card as a partner in the
members must depend on their own name and record and merit and not on Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig & Celera Law Offices give the
the name/glory of other persons living or dead. – PP v. Gonzalez, Jr., G.R. impression that he is connected therein and may constitute an act of
No. 139542 June 10, 2003 solicitation and private practice which is declared unlawful under Republic
Act No. 6713. - Samonte v. Atty. Gatdula A.M. No. P-99-1292 [1999]
Philippine Daily Inquirer, which reads:
A verified complaint, sought to enjoin Juan G. Collas, Jr. and nine other Good and efficient service to a client as well as to the community has a way
lawyers from practicing law under the name of Baker & McKenzie, a law firm of publicizing itself and catching public attention. That publicity is a normal
organized in Illinois by-product of effective service which is right and proper. A good and
reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to generate it and to magnify
We hold that Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law
his success. He easily sees the difference between a normal by-product of
in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules of Court). As admitted by the
able service and the unwholesome result of propaganda. - Ulep vs. Legal
respondents in their memorandum, Baker & McKenzie is a professional
Clinic 223 SCRA 378
partnership organized in 1949 in Chicago, Illinois with members and
associates in 30 cities around the world. Respondents, aside from being Prohibited advertisement or solicitation In re: Tagorda, 53 Phil. 37 (1929)
members of the Philippine bar, practicing under the firm name of Guerrero &
But solicitation of business by circulars or advertisements, or by personal
Torres, are members or associates of Baker & Mckenzie. - Dacanay v. Baker
communications or interview not warranted by personal relations, is
& McKenzie, et. al. Adm. Case No. 2131 [1985]
unprofessional.
…..
It is equally unprofessional to procure business by indirection through
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, respondents' use of the firm name touters of any kind, whether allied real estate firms or trust companies
Baker & McKenzie constitutes a representation that being associated with advertising to secure the drawing of deeds or wills or offering retainers in
the firm they could "render legal services of the highest quality to exchange for executorships or trusteeships to be influenced by the lawyer.
multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and
Indirect advertisement for business by furnishing or inspiring
investment“. This is unethical because Baker & McKenzie is not authorized to
newspaper comments concerning the manner of their conduct, the
practice law here. - Dacanay v. Baker & McKenzie, et. al. Adm. Case No.
magnitude of the interest involved, the importance of the lawyer's position,
2131 [1985]
and all other like self-laudation, defy the traditions and lower the tone of our
Director of Religious Affairs v. Bayot, A.C. No. L-1117, March 20, 1944 high calling, and are intolerable.

Sunday Tribune of June 13, 1943, which reads as follows: Best mode of advertisement

Marriage license promptly secured thru our assistance & the annoyance of The most worthy and effective advertisement possible, even for a young
delay or publicity avoided if desired, and marriage arranged to wishes of lawyer, and especially with his brother lawyers, is the establishment of a
parties. Consultation on any matter free for the poor. Everything confidential. well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust.
This cannot be forced, but must be the outcome of character and conduct.
Legal assistance service
- In re: Tagorda, 53 Phil. 37 (1929)
12 Escolta, Manila, Room, 105
Law firm with a foreign lawyer as partner
Tel. 2-41-60.
In the year 1904 he made an arrangement with the defendant Ney, a
Admonition to a young lawyer practicing attorney, to carry on business together, sending out a circular
signed "Ney & Bosque," stating that they had established an office for the
"The most worth and effective advertisement possible, even for a young general practice of law in all the courts of the Islands and that Bosque
lawyer, . . . is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional would devote himself especially to consultation and office work relating
capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome to Spanish law. The paper was headed "Law Office - Ney & Bosque. Juan
of character and conduct.“ - Director of Religious Affairs v. Bayot, A.C. No. L- G. Bosque, juris consulto español - C.W. Ney, abogado americano."
1117, March 20, 1944
Since that time the defendant Bosque has not personally appeared in the
Unacceptable advertisement courts, and with one exception, occuring through an inadvertance, papers
from the office were signed not with the firm name alone nor with any
LUIS B. TAGORDA
designation of the firm as attorneys, but with the words "Ney & Bosque -
Attorney C.W. Ney, abogado.“ - U.S. vs. Ney and Bosque, 8 Phil. 146 (1907)

Notary Public Moreover the firm circular in setting forth the establishment of an office for
the general practice of law in all the courts of the Islands, amounted to an
CANDIDATE FOR THIRD MEMBER assertion of his right and purpose, not effectively qualified by the addition
Province of Isabela that he would devote himself to consultation and office work relating to
Spanish law.
(NOTE. — As notary public, he can execute for you a deed of sale for the
purchase of land as required by the cadastral office; can renew lost Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent,
documents of your animals; can make your application and final requisites for misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or
your homestead; and can execute any kind of affidavit. As a lawyer, he can claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.
help you collect your loans although long overdue, as well as any complaint Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading or assumed
for or against you. Come or write to him in his town, Echague, Isabela. He name shall be used. Xxx.
offers free consultation, and is willing to help and serve the poor.)

Volunteer [legal] advice is malpractice

It is unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer advice to bring a lawsuit, except


in rare cases where ties of blood, relationship or trust make it his duty
to do so. Stirring up strife and litigation is not only unprofessional, but it is
indictable at common law. - Canons of Professionals Ethics adopted by the
American Bar Association in 1908 and by the Philippine Bar Association in
1917. Canons 27 and 28 of the Code of Ethics - In re: Tagorda, 53 Phil. 37
(1929)

Your best advertisement as a lawyer

We repeat, the canon of the profession tell us that 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.
Attorney’s fees and Compensation for legal services Rule 20.4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility advises lawyers to avoid
controversies with clients concerning their compensation and to resort to
CANON 20 - A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY FAIR AND
judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud. Suits to collect
REASONABLE FEES.
fees should be avoided and should be filed only when circumstances
Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in force lawyers to resort to it. - Pineda v. Atty. De Jesus, et. al. G.R. No.
determining his fees: 155224 August 23, 2006

(a) the time spent and the extent of the service rendered or required; Rule 138

(b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved; Sec. 24. Compensation of attorneys; agreement as to fees. - An attorney
shall be entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a
(c) The importance of the subject matter; reasonable compensation for his services, with a view:
(d) The skill demanded; 1) to the importance of the subject matter of the controversy,
(e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of 2) the extent of the services rendered, and
the proffered case;
3) the professional standing of the attorney.
Cont…
No court shall be bound by the opinion of attorneys as expert witnesses
(f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of as to the proper compensation, but may disregard such testimony and
the IBP chapter to which he belongs; base its conclusion on its own professional knowledge. A written contract
for services shall control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by
(g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to
the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable.
the client from the service;
Section 25, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court:
(h) The contingency or certainty of compensation;

(i) The character of the employment, whether occasional or established;


and SEC. 25. Unlawful retention of client’s funds; contempt — When an attorney
unjustly retains in his hands money of his client after it has been
(j) The professional standing of the lawyer.
demanded he may be punished for contempt as an officer of the Court who
Cont… has misbehaved in his official transactions; but proceedings under this
section shall not be a bar to a criminal prosecution.
Rule 20.02 - A lawyer shall, in case of referral, with the consent of the
client, be entitled to a division of fees in proportion to the work performed Rule on division of legal fees
and responsibility assumed.
Rule 9.02 - A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal
Rule 20.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the full knowledge and consent of services with persons not licensed to practice law, except:
the client, accept any fee, reward, costs, commission, interest, rebate or
(a) Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a partner or associate that,
forwarding allowance or other compensation whatsoever related to his
upon the latter's death, money shall be paid over a reasonable period of time
professional employment from anyone other than the client.
to his estate or to persons specified in the agreement; or
Rule 20.04 - A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning his
(b) Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a
compensation and shall resort to judicial action only to prevent imposition,
deceased lawyer; or
injustice or fraud.
(c) Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer employees in a retirement
Bases for just compensation
plan even if the plan is based in whole or in part, on a profit sharing
With his capital consisting of his brains and with his skill acquired at agreement.
tremendous cost not only in money but in expenditure of time and
CANON 16 - A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND
energy, he is entitled to the protection of any judicial tribunal against any
PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME INTO HIS
attempt on the part of his client to escape payment of his just
PROFESSION.
compensation.– Masmud v. NLRC, G.R. No. 183385, February 13, 2009
Rule 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or
“Fee” v. “Lien”
received for or from the client.
They are two different matters.
Rule 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart
It is axiomatic, of course, that [lawyer] must show that he is or will become from his own and those of others kept by him.
entitled to a fee before he is entitled to a lien. - The Industry Network System,
Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when
Inc. v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc. 54 F.3d 150 (1995)
due or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over the funds and may
Professional fee is subject to court’s regulatory power apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and
disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also
Upon taking his attorney’s oath as an officer of the court, a lawyer
have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has
submits himself to the authority of the courts to regulate his right to secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court.
charge professional fees. –Rayos v. Atty. Hernandez, G.R. No. 169079,
February 12, 2007 Cont…

Reasons why lawyer’s compensation is subject to the supervision of Rule 16.04 - A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the
the court client's interest are fully protected by the nature of the case or by
independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except,
It follows that a lawyer’s compensation for professional services rendered is when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a
subject to the supervision of the court, not just to guarantee that the fees he legal matter he is handling for the client.
charges and receives remain reasonable and commensurate with the
services rendered, but also to maintain the dignity and integrity of the legal This rule is intended to prevent the lawyer from taking advantage of his
profession to which he belongs. – Rayos v. Atty. Hernandez, G.R. No. influence over the client. – Junio v. Atty. Grupo, A.C. No. 5020, December
169079, February 12, 2007 18, 2001

Collection suit should be the last resort


Non-payment of loan is a violation of PCR not misappropriation or does not adversely affect the rights of the lawyer. - Aro v. The Hon.
embezzlement Nañawa, G.R. No. L-24163 [1969]

Respondent’s liability is thus not for misappropriation or embezzlement but Quantum meruit
for violation of Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
The principle of quantum meruit (as much as he deserves) may be a basis
forbids lawyers from borrowing money from their clients unless the
latter’s interests are protected by the nature of the case or by for determining the reasonable amount of attorney’s fees.
independent advice. In this case, respondent’s liability is compounded by Quantum meruit is a device to prevent undue enrichment based on the
the fact that not only did he not give any security for the payment of the equitable postulate that it is unjust for a person to retain benefit without
amount loaned to him but that he has also refused to pay the said paying for it. It is applicable even if there was a formal written contract for
amount. His claim that he could not pay the loan “because circumstances . attorney’s fees as long as the agreed fee was found by the court to be
. . did not allow it” and that, because of the passage of time, “he somehow unconscionable. - Atty. Orocio v. Angulan et. al., G.R. No. 179892-93,
forgot about his obligation” only underscores his blatant disregard of his January 30, 2009
obligation which reflects on his honesty and candor.
2 purposes of application Quantum meruit
Whether or not an attorney who was engaged on a contingent fee basis
may, in order to collect his fees, prosecute an appeal despite his The recovery of attorney’s fees on this basis is permitted, as in this case,
client's refusal to appeal the decision of the trial court. where there is no express agreement for the payment of attorney’s fees.
Basically, it is a legal mechanism which prevents an unscrupulous client
A practicing attorney, entered into a written agreement with the private from running away with the fruits of the legal services of counsel
respondent to appear as her counsel in a petition for probate of the without paying for it. In the same vein, it avoids unjust enrichment on
holographic will. Under the will, a piece of real property at Sales Street, the part of the lawyer himself. - Pineda v. Atty. De Jesus, et. al. G.R. No.
Quiapo, Manila, was bequeathed to private respondent. It was agreed that 155224 August 23, 2006
the attorney’s contigent fee would be thirty-five per cent (35%) of the property
that private respondent may receive upon the probate of the will. When is Quantum meruit authorized

The payment of his fees is contingent and dependent upon the (1) there is no express contract for payment of attorney's fees agreed upon
successful probate of the holographic will. Since the petition for probate between the lawyer and the client;
was dismissed by the lower court, the contingency did not occur. Attorney
(2) when although there is a formal contract for attorney's fees, the fees
Leviste is not entitled to his fee. - Leviste v. CA, G.R. No. L-29184 [1989]
stipulated are found unconscionable or unreasonable by the court; and
Is the right of a client to enter into a compromise agreement without the
(3) when the contract for attorney's fee's is void due to purely formal defects
consent of his lawyer defeated by a contrary written contract ?
of execution;
It appears from the record that on July 31, 1921, the respondents by means
(4) when the counsel, for justifiable cause, was not able to finish the case to
of a written contract, retained the petitioner to represent them as their lawyer.
its conclusion;
The contract fixed the petitioner's fee at P200 in advance with an additional
contigent fee of P1,300. It was also provided in the contract that respondent (5) when lawyer and client disregard the contract for attorney's fees, -
should not compromise the claim against the defendant in the case without Rilloza, et. al. v. Eastern Telecommunications Phils., Inc., G.R. No. 104600
express consent of his lawyer. [1999]

Through the sole effort of respondents the case was dismissed without Factors for application of quantum meruit
notice to their counsel.
In fixing a reasonable compensation for the services rendered by a lawyer on
Right of a client to compromise suit the basis of quantum meruit, factors such as the time spent, and extent of
services rendered; novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;
The client has also an undoubted right to compromise a suit without the
importance of the subject matter; skill demanded; probability of losing other
intervention of his lawyer.
employment as a result of acceptance of the proferred case; customary
Though there is a valid agreement for the payment to the attorney of a large charges for similar services; amount involved in the controversy and the
proportion of the sum recovered in case of success this does not give the benefits resulting to the client; certainty of compensation; character of
attorney such an interest in the cause of action that it prevents plaintiff employment; and professional standing of the lawyer, may be considered.
from compromising the suit. – Rustia v. The Judge of First Instance of (Atty. Orocio v. Angulan et. al., G.R. No. 179892-93, January 30, 2009)
Batangas, G.R. No. L-19695 November 17, 1922
The court shall fix the amount
We have recently held that a client has always the right to settle his cause
In fixing a reasonable compensation for the services rendered by a lawyer on
of action and stop litigation at any stage of the proceeding, subject,
the basis of quantum meruit, the elements to be considered are generally
however, to the right of the attorney to receive compensation for services
rendered. - Aro v. The Hon. Nañawa, G.R. No. L-24163 [1969] (1) the importance of the subject matter in controversy,

Applies only in civil cases (2) the extent of services rendered, and

Rule 1.04 - A lawyer shall encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a (3) the professional standing of the lawyer.
controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement.
A determination of these factors would indispensably require nothing less
Limitation of client’s right to compromise suit than a full-blown trial where private respondents can adduce evidence to
establish the right to lawful attorney's fees and for petitioner to oppose or
While We here reaffirm the rule that "the client has an undoubted right to
refute the same. The trial court has the principal task of fixing the amount
compromise a suit without the intervention of his lawyer", We hold that when
of attorney's fees. Hence, the necessity of a hearing is beyond cavil. -
such compromise is entered into in fraud of the lawyer, with intent to
Rilloza, et. al. v. Eastern Telecommunications Phils., Inc., G.R. No. 104600
deprive him of the fees justly due him, the compromise must be subject to
[1999]
the said fees, and that when it is evident that the said fraud is committed in
confabulation with the adverse party who had knowledge of the lawyer's Champertous contract
contingent interest or such interest appears of record and who would benefit
under such compromise, the better practice is to settle the matter of the "1. On all commission or attorney’s fees that we shall receive from our clients
attorney's fees in the same proceeding, after hearing all the affected by virtue of the collection that we shall be able to effect on their accounts, we
parties and without prejudice to the finality of the compromise in so far as it shall divide fifty-fifty. Likewise you are entitled to commission, 50/50 from
domestic, inheritance and commercial from our said clients or in any criminal
cases where they are involved.”
We hold that the said agreement is void because it was tantamount to We have noted in the beginning that the services here were rendered in a
malpractice which is "the practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose case of an administrative nature. But that does not alter the application of
of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers" Sec. 27, Rule the proper rule:
138, Rules of Court). Malpractice ordinarily refers to any malfeasance or
Professional services, to prepare and advocate just claims for compensation,
dereliction of duty committed by a lawyer. Section 27 gives a special and
are as legitimate as services rendered in court in arguing a cause to
technical meaning to the term "malpractice" (Act No. 2828, amending sec. 21
convince a court or jury that the claim presented or the defense set up
of Act No. 190). – Tan Tek Beng v. David, A.C. No. 1261. December 29,
against a claim presented by the other party ought to be allowed or rejected.
1983
Parties in such cases require advocates; and the legal profession must
Agreement to pay all expenses of proceedings have a right to accept such employment and to receive compensation
for their services. – De Guzman v. Visayan Rapid Transport Co. Inc. G.R.
An agreement whereby an attorney agrees to pay expenses of
No. 46396 September 30, 1939
proceedings to enforce the client's rights is champertous [JBP Holding
Corp. v. U.S. 166 F. Supp. 324 (1958)]. Such agreements are against public Written contract is not required to prove lawyer-client relationship
policy especially where, as in this case, the attorney has agreed to carry on
The absence of a written contract will not preclude the finding that there was
the action at his own expense in consideration of some bargain to have part
a professional relationship which merits attorney's fees for professional
of the thing in dispute [See Sampliner v. Motion Pictures Patents Co., et al.,
services rendered. Documentary formalism is not an essential element in the
255 F. 242 (1918)]. The execution of these contracts violates the fiduciary
relationship between the lawyer and his client, for which the former must employment of an attorney; the contract may be express or implied. To
establish the relation, it is sufficient that the advice and assistance of an
incur administrative sanctions. - Atty. Orocio v. Angulan et. al., G.R. No.
attorney is sought and received in any matter pertinent to his
179892-93, January 30, 2009
profession. An acceptance of the relation is implied on the part of the
Funding litigation attorney from his acting on behalf of his client in pursuance of a request from
the latter. - Dee vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 77439, August 24, 1989
“[A]s long as litigation and access to the courts remain expensive, then
anyone who has a right that stands in need of vindication should be able to Options to enforce right to professional fees
obtain funding from anyone willing to offer it and on whatever terms it is
A lawyer may enforce his right to his fees by filing the necessary petition as
offered.”
an incident of the main action in which his services were rendered or in an
- Neuberger, From Barretry, Maintenance and Champerty to Litigation independent suit against his client. The former is preferable to avoid
Funding, Speech at Gray’s Inn, May 8, 2013. multiplicity of suits. - Pineda v. Atty. De Jesus, et. al. G.R. No. 155224
August 23, 2006
Pay the law firm not the handling lawyer
Only reason to file suit
When a client employs the services of a law firm, he does not employ the
services of the lawyer who is assigned to personally handle the case. Rather, Rule 20.4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility advises lawyers to avoid
he employs the entire law firm. In the event that the counsel appearing for controversies with clients concerning their compensation and to resort to
the client resigns, the firm is bound to provide a replacement. judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud. Suits to
collect fees should be avoided and should be filed only when
- Rilloza, et. al. v. Eastern Telecommunications Phils., Inc., G.R. No.
circumstances force lawyers to resort to it. - Pineda v. Atty. De Jesus, et.
104600 [1999]
al. G.R. No. 155224 August 23, 2006
There must be a favorable judgment
Two commonly accepted concepts of attorney’s fees
A charging lien to be enforceable as security for the payment of attorney's
In its ordinary concept, an attorney’s fee is the reasonable compensation
fees requires as a condition sine qua non a judgment for money and
paid to a lawyer by his client for the legal services he has rendered to the
execution in pursuance of such judgment secured in the main action by the
latter. The basis of this compensation is the fact of his employment by and
attorney in favor of his client. A charging lien presupposes that the
his agreement with the client.
attorney has secured a favorable money judgment for his client. - Rilloza,
et. al. v. Eastern Telecommunications Phils., Inc., G.R. No. 104600 [1999] In its extraordinary concept, an attorney’s fee is an indemnity for damages
ordered by the court to be paid by the losing party in a litigation. The basis of
The following are the circumstances to be considered in determining
this is any of the cases provided by law where such award can be made,
the compensation of an attorney
such as those authorized in Article 2208, Civil Code, and is payable not to
1. the amount and character of the services rendered; the lawyer but to the client, unless they have agreed that the award shall
pertain to the lawyer as additional compensation or as part thereof. - Traders
2. the labor, time, and trouble involved; Royal Bank Employees Union-Independent v. NLRC G.R. No. 120592.
March 14, 1997
3. the nature and importance of the litigation or business in which the
services were rendered; the responsibility imposed; Award of (extraordinary) attorney’s fee is discretionary
4. the amount of money or the value of the property affected by the The power of this Court to reduce or even delete the award of attorneys’
controversy, or involved in the employment, fees cannot be denied. Lawyers are officers of the Court and they
participate in the fundamental function of administering justice. When they
5. the skill and experience called for in the performance of the services;
took their oath, they submitted themselves to the authority of the Court and
6. the professional character and social standing of the attorney; subjected their professional fees to judicial control. – Pineda v. Atty. De
Jesus, et. al. G.R. No. 155224 August 23, 2006
7. the results secured; and
Contingent fee agreement does not violate Article 1491(5) of the NCC
8. whether or not the fee is absolute or contingent, it being a recognized rule
that an attorney may properly charge a much a larger fee when it is to be The contract of services did not violate said provision of law. Article 1491 of
contingent that when it is not. the Civil Code, specifically paragraph 5 thereof, prohibits lawyers from
acquiring by purchase even at a public or judicial auction, properties and
9. The financial ability of the defendant may also be considered not to rights which are the objects of litigation in which they may take part by virtue
enhance the amount above a reasonable compensation, but to determine of their profession. The said prohibition, however, applies only if the sale or
whether or not he is able to pay a fair and just compensation for the services assignment of the property takes place during the pendency of the
rendered, or as incident in ascertaining the importance and gravity of the litigation involving the client's property.
interests involved in the litigation.

Forum does not qualify payment of compensation


Hence, a contract between a lawyer and his client stipulating a contingent (a) Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a partner or associate that,
fee is not covered by said prohibition under Article 1491 (5) of the Civil upon the latter's death, money shall be paid over a reasonable period of time
Code because the payment of said fee is not made during the pendency of to his estate or to persons specified in the agreement; or
the litigation but only after judgment has been rendered in the case handled
(b) Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a
by the lawyer. In fact, under the 1988 Code of Professional Responsibility, a
deceased lawyer; or
lawyer may have a lien over funds and property of his client and may apply
so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and (c) Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer employees in a retirement
disbursements. - Fabillo and Tana v. IAC G.R. No. L-68838 [1991] plan even if the plan is based in whole or in part, on a profit sharing
agreement.
Effect of withdrawal as counsel
Quality of legal service should not vary if rendered for free
The attorney who withdraws with good cause is entitled to fees, but the
attorney who withdraws without good cause is not entitled to fees. It is true that he is a court-appointed counsel. But we do say that as such
counsel de oficio, he has as high a duty to the accused as one employed
If an attorney is found to have violated the ethical rules, a court may find that
and paid by defendant himself. Because, as in the case of the latter, he
any claim to fees from the matter is invalid.
must exercise his best efforts and professional ability in behalf of the person
Accordingly, an attorney contemplating withdrawal must consider whether it assigned to his care. His is to render effective assistance. The accused
would be with or without cause to determine if the client is required to pay defendant expects of him due diligence, not mere perfunctory representation.
fees because an attorney's lien will always be invalid when the client is not We do not accept the paradox that responsibility is less where the
required to pay fees. defended party is poor. - In Re: Atty. Adriano, G.R. No. L-26868 [1969]

Whether or not an attorney who stopped providing legal services could Rule 14.04 - A lawyer who accepts the cause of a person unable to pay his
recover based on a contingent fee contract "prior to full consideration of the professional fees shall observe the same standard of conduct governing
contingency“. his relations with paying clients.

The court held that, "under the circumstances of this case an attorney may Case law
not recover on the contract but must seek recovery of fees on the theory of
Mr. Culpepper sent Mr. Cole a letter in which he confirmed that he would
quantum meruit." That holding does not establish that any attorney who
accept the representation on a contingent fee basis of one-third "of
withdraws from a contingent fee representation may always recover fees in
whatever additional property or money we can get for you.
quantum meruit. Rather, it establishes that the measure of recovery
should be quantum meruit, as opposed to some portion of the contingent After negotiation between Mr. Culpepper and counsel for the estate of Mr.
contract. The court concluded, "if Ross is entitled to attorney fees, the Cole's mother, Mr. Cole was offered property worth $21,600.03 over and
measure of those fees is not the contingent fee agreed upon but the above what he would have received under the terms of the decedent's will.
reasonable value of the services rendered.“ - Ross v. Scannell, 97 Wash. 2d Mr. Culpepper thought the compromise was reasonable and recommended
598, 647 P.2d 1004 (1982) to Mr. Cole that he accept the offer. However, Mr. Cole refused to settle
his claim for that amount, believing he was entitled to a larger share of
Is the lawyer entitled to a professional fee in a contingent fee
his mother's succession as a forced heir. When Mr. Culpepper refused to
arrangement if the client terminates the relationship with or without
file suit in the matter, Mr. Cole terminated his representation.
cause?
Pursuant to the parties' agreement, Mr. Culpepper is entitled to one-third "of
When a client agrees to pay an attorney under a contingency fee agreement
whatever additional property or money" he obtained on behalf of Mr. Cole. It
and terminates the attorney before occurrence of the contingency, the
is undisputed that Mr. Cole recovered no additional property or money
attorney may recover based on quantum meruit. In contrast to withdrawal,
this rule applies whether the client terminates the relationship with or as a result of the litigation against his mother's estate. Because Mr. Cole
obtained no recovery, it follows that Mr. Culpepper is not entitled to any
without cause."
contingent fee.
However, there are two exceptions to this rule. First, if an attorney violates
the RPCs, then compensation is not available. Second, if the attorney Nonetheless, Mr. Culpepper urges us to find that his contingency should
attach to the settlement offer he obtained on behalf of his client, even though
substantially performs the duties owed to the client, then the attorney may
his client refused to accept that offer. According to Mr. Culpepper, he did the
recover the full contingency, not just quantum meruit. The substantial
work for which Mr. Cole retained him, and he is therefore entitled to one-
performance exception only applies in the rare case where full performance
third of the amount offered in settlement, notwithstanding Mr. Cole's rejection
is delinquent by "minor and relatively unimportant deviations."'
of the settlement offer.
Mere demand for delivery of the litigated property is not unethical
Decision
In the instant case, there was no actual acquisition of the property in litigation
To allow Mr. Culpepper to recover a contingent fee under these
since the respondent only made a written demand for its delivery which the
circumstances would penalize Mr. Cole for exercising his right to reject
complainant refused to comply. Mere demand for delivery of the litigated
the settlement. We find no statutory or jurisprudential support for such a
property does not cause the transfer of ownership, hence, not a
proposition. Indeed, this court has rejected any interpretation of the Rules of
prohibited transaction within the contemplation of Article 1491. - Ramos v.
Professional Conduct which would place restrictions on the client's
Atty. Ngaseo, A.C. No. 6210 [2004]
fundamental right to control the case.
Commission/referral fees prohibited
In summary, we find that Mr. Culpepper did not obtain any recovery on behalf
By openly admitting he divided the Php70,000.00 to other individuals as of Mr. Cole. In the absence of a recovery, it follows that Mr. Culpepper
commission/referral fees respondent violated Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the cannot collect a contingent fee for his services. - Culpepper v. Cole 929
Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not So.2d 1224 [2006]
divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed
Acceptance fee is not necessary to establish lawyer-client relationship
to practice law. - Lijauco v. Atty. Terrado, A.C. No. 6317 [2006]
A lawyer-client relationship was established from the very first moment
CANON 9 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST
complainant asked respondent for legal advice regarding the former’s
IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.
business. To constitute professional employment, it is not essential that the
Rule 9.02 - A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal client employed the attorney professionally on any previous occasion. It is
services with persons not licensed to practice law, except: not necessary that any retainer be paid, promised, or charged; neither is
it material that the attorney consulted did not afterward handle the case
for which his service had been sought. - Burbe v. Atty. Magulta AC No. 99- Respondent's withdrawal was made on the ground that "there no longer
634. June 10, 2002 exist[ed] the xxx confidence" between them and that there had been "serious
diffferences between them relating to the manner of private prosecution.“ -
“Money down first” policy is unethical
Orcino v. Atty. Gaspar, A.C. No. 3773. September 24, 1997
The impropriety lies in the fact that she suggested that complainant borrow
Court approval required before counsel can withdraw
money from Domingo Natavio for the payment thereof. This act impresses
upon the Court that respondent would do nothing to the cause of Assuming, nevertheless, that respondent was justified in terminating his
complainant’s mother-in-law unless payment of the acceptance fee is services, he, however, cannot just do so and leave complainant in the cold
made. Her duty to render legal services to her client with competence and unprotected. The lawyer has no right to presume that his petition for
diligence should not depend on the payment of acceptance fee. – Ceniza withdrawal will be granted by the court. Until his withdrawal shall have been
v. Atty. Rubia, A.C. No. 6166, October 2, 2009 approved, the lawyer remains counsel of record who is expected by his client
as well as by the court to do what the interests of his client require. He must
I, do solemnly swear that xxx I will delay no man for money xxx.
still appear on the date of hearing for the attorney-client relation does not
Establishment of lawyer-client relationship not influenced by personal terminate formally until there is a withdrawal of record. – Orcino v. Atty.
affiliation Gaspar, A.C. No. 3773. September 24, 1997

Respondent takes further refuge in the intimate and close relationship What is a contingency contract
existing between himself and the complainant’s family on the basis of
The client and his lawyer may enter into a written contract whereby the latter
which his legal services were purely gratuitous or “simply an act of a friend
would be paid attorney’s fees only if the suit or litigation ends favorably
for a friend” with “no consideration involved.” Unfortunately, his efforts to
to the client. This is called a contingency fee contract. The amount of
redeem the foreclosed property, as already stated, did not produce the
attorney’s fees in this contract may be on a percentage basis, and a much
desired result because the mortgagee “would not budge anymore” and higher compensation is allowed in consideration of the risk that the lawyer
“would not accept the sum offered.”
may get nothing if the suit fails.
Thus, the respondent concluded that there was, strictly speaking, no
In the case at bar, the non-EPIRA separated members and petitioner
attorney-client [relationship] existing between them. Rather, right from the
voluntarily entered into a contingency fee contract whereby petitioner did not
start[,] everything was sort of personal, he added. xxx This contention has no
receive any acceptance fee or appearance/meeting fee. - Atty. Orocio v.
merit. - Junio v. Atty. Grupo, A.C. No. 5020. December 18, 2001
Angulan et. al., G.R. No. 179892-93 [2009]
Right to a lien versus duty to account
Why contingency fee is allowed
Lawyers who convert the funds entrusted to them are in gross violation of
Contingent fee contracts are permitted in this jurisdiction because they
professional ethics and are guilty of betrayal of public confidence in the legal
redound to the benefit of the poor client and the lawyer “especially in cases
profession. It may be true that they have a lien upon the client’s funds,
where the client has meritorious cause of action, but no means with which
documents and other papers that have lawfully come into their possession;
to pay for legal services unless he can, with the sanction of law, make a
that they may retain them until their lawful fees and disbursements have
contract for a contingent fee to be paid out of the proceeds of litigation.
been paid; and that they may apply such funds to the satisfaction of such
Oftentimes, the contingent fee arrangement is the only means by which the
fees and disbursements. However, these considerations do not relieve
poor clients can have their rights vindicated and upheld.”- Atty. Orocio v.
them of their duty to promptly account for the moneys they received.
Angulan et. al., G.R. No. 179892-93 [2009]
Their failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct. In any event, they
must still exert all effort to protect their client’s interest within the bounds of Contingent fee arrangement must be written
law. – Burbe v. Atty. Magulta AC No. 99-634. June 10, 2002
It bears to stress that a contingent fee arrangement is valid in this jurisdiction
Duty of accounting and is generally recognized as valid and binding but must be laid down in
an express contract. – Felicisima Mendoza vda. De Robosa v. Atty.
When a lawyer receives money from a client for a particular purpose
Mendoza & Atty. Navarro, Jr., A.C. no. 6056, September 09, 2015
involving the client-attorney relationship, he is bound to render an
accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for that particular Limitations of a contingency agreement
purpose. If the lawyer does not use the money for the intended purpose, he
However, in cases where contingent fees are sanctioned by law, the same
must immediately return the money to his client. - Navarro & Presbitero, A.C.
should be reasonable under all the circumstances of the case, and
No. 9872, January 28, 2014
should always be subject to the supervision of a court, as to its
Change of attorney reasonableness, such that under Canon 20 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, a lawyer is tasked to charge only fair and reasonable fees. -
Section 26 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:
Atty. Orocio v. Angulan et. al., G.R. No. 179892-93 [2009]
"Sec. 26. Change of attorneys -- An attorney may retire at any time from any
Contingent fee to a witness
action or special proceeding, by the written consent of his client filed in court.
He may also retire at any time from an action or special proceeding, without Witnesses should always testify truthfully and should be free from any
the consent of his client, should the court, on notice to the client and financial inducements that might tempt them to do otherwise. A lawyer
attorney, and on hearing, determine that he ought to be allowed to retire. In should not pay or agree to pay a non-expert witness an amount in
case of substitution, the name of the attorney newly employed shall be excess of reimbursement for expenses and financial loss incident to
entered on the docket of the court in place of the former one, and written being a witness;  however, a lawyer may pay or agree to pay an expert
notice of the change shall be given to the adverse party. witness a reasonable fee for services as an expert. But in no event
should a lawyer pay or agree to pay a contingent fee to any witness. –
Withdrawal of counsel
Swafford v. Harris, 967 S.W.2d 319 (1998)
A lawyer may retire at any time from any action or special proceeding with
A champertous contract
the written consent of his client filed in court and copy thereof served upon
the adverse party. Should the client refuse to give his consent, the lawyer We the [Fortunados] agree on the 50% contingent fee, provided, you
must file an application with the court. The court, on notice to the client and [respondent Ramon Gonzales] defray all expenses, for the suit, including
adverse party, shall determine whether he ought to be allowed to retire. The court fees.
application for withdrawal must be based on a good cause. - Orcino v.
Alfaro T. Fortunado [signed]
Atty. Gaspar, A.C. No. 3773. September 24, 1997
Editha T. Fortunado [signed]
Grounds for withdrawal Nestor T. Fortunado [signed]
CONFORME Attorney’s fees are unconscionable if they affront one’s sense of justice,
decency or reasonableness, or if they are so disproportionate to the value of
Ramon A. Gonzales [signed]
the services rendered. In such a case, courts are empowered to reduce the
Champerty and Doctrine of Maintenance attorney’s fee or fix a reasonable amount thereof taking into consideration
the surrounding circumstances and the established parameters. - Atty.
Champerty, along with maintenance (of which champerty is an aggravated Orocio v. Angulan et. al., G.R. No. 179892-93 [2009]
form), is a common law doctrine that traces its origin to the medieval period.
Lawyer’s compensation for professional services rendered is subject to
The doctrine of maintenance was directed "against wanton and in officious the supervision of the court
intermeddling in the disputes of others in which the intermeddler has no
interest whatever, and where the assistance rendered is without justification Under Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a written contract for
or excuse." services shall control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by the
court to be unconscionable or unreasonable.
Champerty, on the other hand, is characterized by "the receipt of a share of
the proceeds of the litigation by the intermeddler." Some common law court . It follows that a lawyer’s compensation for professional services rendered
decisions, however, add a second factor in determining champertous is subject to the supervision of the court, not just to guarantee that the fees
contracts, namely, that the lawyer must also, "at his own expense maintain, he charges and receives remain reasonable and commensurate with the
and take all the risks of, the litigation.“ - Conjugal Partnership of the Spouses services rendered, but also to maintain the dignity and integrity of the
Vicente Cadavedo v. Atty. Lacaya, G.R. No. 173188, January 15, 2014 legal profession to which he belongs. Upon taking his attorney’s oath as
an officer of the court, a lawyer submits himself to the authority of the
Avoiding Champertous contracts courts to regulate his right to charge professional fees. - Atty. Orocio v.
Angulan et. al., G.R. No. 179892-93 [2009]
The rule of the profession that forbids a lawyer from contracting with his
client for part of the thing in litigation in exchange for conducting the case at CPR – retaining and charging lien
the lawyer’s expense is designed to prevent the lawyer from acquiring an
interest between him and his client. Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when
due or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over the funds and may
To permit these arrangements is to enable the lawyer to "acquire additional apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and
stake in the outcome of the action which might lead him to consider his own disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also
recovery rather than that of his client or to accept a settlement which might have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has
take care of his interest in the verdict to the sacrifice of that of his client in secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court.
violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to his client’s cause. - Conjugal
Partnership of the Spouses Vicente Cadavedo v. Atty. Lacaya, G.R. No. General, Retaining or Possessory lien
173188, January 15, 2014
Rule 138 Sec. 37. Attorney's liens. — An attorney shall have a lien upon the
Advancing the expenses without reimbursement funds, documents and papers of his client, which have lawfully come into
his possession and may retain the same until his lawful fees and
Although a lawyer may in good faith, advance the expenses of litigation, the disbursements have been paid, and may apply such funds to the
same should be subject to reimbursement. The agreement between satisfaction thereof. xxx
respondent and the Fortunados, however, does not provide for
reimbursement to respondent of litigation expenses paid by him. An General Retainer Fee
agreement whereby an attorney agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to
A retaining fee is a preliminary fee paid to ensure and secure a lawyer's
enforce the client's rights is champertous xxx. Such agreements are against
future services, to remunerate him for being deprived, by being retained by
public policy especially where, as in this case, the attorney has agreed to
one party, of the opportunity of rendering services to the other party and of
carry on the action at his own expense in consideration of some bargain to
receiving pay from him.
have part of the thing in dispute xxx. The execution of these contracts
violates the fiduciary relationship between the lawyer and his client, for which In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the retaining fee is neither
the former must incur administrative sanctions. made nor received in consideration of the services contemplated; it is apart
from what the client has agreed to pay for the services which he has retained
- Bautista v. Atty. Gonzales, A.M. No. 1625 February 12, 1990
him to perform. - Research and Services Realty, Inc. v. CA and Fonacier, Jr.,
Written v. Oral Agreements G.R. No. 124074. January 27, 1997

An agreement between the lawyer and his client, providing for the former’s Features of a Retaining fee agreement
compensation, is subject to the ordinary rules governing contracts in general.
Two basic principles come into play:
As the rules stand, controversies involving written and oral agreements
on attorney’s fees shall be resolved in favor of the former. - Conjugal The first is as stated earlier, viz., that the retaining fee is neither made nor
Partnership of the Spouses Vicente Cadavedo v. Atty. Lacaya, G.R. No. received in consideration of the services contemplated unless the
173188, January 15, 2014 contract itself so provides.

Written contract of legal fees is ordinarily controlling The second is that, unless expressly stipulated, rendition of professional
services by a lawyer is for a fee or compensation and is not gratuitous. This
A stipulation on a lawyer’s compensation in a written contract for
is implicit from the opening clause of Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of
professional services ordinarily controls the amount of fees that the
Court, which states that "[a]n attorney shall be entitled to have and recover
contracting lawyer may be allowed, unless the court finds such stipulated
from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services . . .,"
amount to be unreasonable or unconscionable. If the stipulated amount
and by virtue of the innominate contract of facio ut des (I do and you give), as
for attorney’s fees is excessive, the contract may be disregarded even if
enunciated by this Court… - Research and Services Realty, Inc. v. CA and
the client expressed their conformity thereto. Attorney’s fees are
Fonacier, Jr., G.R. No. 124074. January 27, 1997
unconscionable if they affront one’s sense of justice, decency or
reasonableness, or if they are so disproportionate to the value of the services Exception to the rule of not withholding property of client
rendered. In such a case, courts are empowered to reduce the attorney’s fee
Except only for the retaining lien exception under Rule 16.03, Canon 16 of
or fix a reasonable amount thereof taking into consideration the surrounding
the Code, the lawyer should not withhold the property of his client. Segovia-
circumstances and the established parameters. - Atty. Orocio v. Angulan et.
Ribaya v. Atty. Lawsin, A.C. No. 7965, November 13, 2013
al., G.R. No. 179892-93 [2009]
Special, particular, or Charging lien
When is an attorney’s fees unconscionable?
Rule 138 Section 37. xxx He shall also have a lien to the same extent upon The retaining lien's primary use is to compel a client to pay through
all judgments for the payment of money, and executions issued in embarrassment or worry.
pursuance of such judgments, which he has secured in a litigation of his
Attorney lien is the exception to the rule prohibiting an attorney from attaining
client, from and after the time when he shall have caused a statement of his
a proprietary interest in the cause of action.
claim of such lien to be entered upon the records of the court rendering such
judgment, or issuing such execution, and shall have caused written notice Lastly, it is irrelevant whether the papers were retained in connection with the
thereof to be delivered to his client and to the adverse party; and he shall fees in dispute. (?)
have the same right and power over such judgments and executions as his
client would have to enforce his lien and secure the payment of his just fees Retaining lien not applicable to adverse party’s property
and disbursements."
The situation would be different where title to the properties is the very
Retaining lien to Charging lien subject in dispute in the case and the court adjudges the client's adversary to
be rightfully entitled thereto. In such a case, the titles to the property could
If the funds recovered for the client come into the lawyer's possession, the not be said to be properties of the client, over which the attorney may claim a
lawyer may detain the amount claimed as a fee. This use has some retaining lien. The attorney may enforce his lien only over properties of his
similarity to a retaining lien, except that the lawyer may keep only proceeds client and not against those of his client's adversary. And the adversary's
of the matter in which the fee is claimed, and only the amount so claimed. right as prevailing party to enforce the judgment for the property adjudged to
him should not depend on or be prejudiced by the client's ability or refusal to
Suppose, however, the certificates of title belonging to a client, come to
the possession of his lawyer, but subsequently, by virtue of a pay the attorney. - Ampil v. Hon. Juliano-Agrava, et. al., G.R. No. L-27394
July 31, 1970
compromise agreement judicially approved, the properties covered by
these are conveyed to other persons, is the retaining lien lost? Effect of withdrawal as counsel
It is not. The position of the lawyer in such a situation is similar to that of a The attorney who withdraws with good cause is entitled to fees, but the
creditor who holds an attachment lien over the properties, and the client- attorney who withdraws without good cause is not entitled to fees.
debtor must discharge the lien before he can dispose the properties of a
third person free of such lien. - Ampil v. Agrava G.R. No. 27394, July 31, If an attorney is found to have violated the ethical rules, a court may find that
1970. any claim to fees from the matter is invalid.

What if the title to the property is the very subject of the litigation? Accordingly, an attorney contemplating withdrawal must consider whether it
would be with or without cause to determine if the client is required to pay
A different rule obtains if the title to the property is the very subject in, dispute fees because an attorney's lien will always be invalid when the client is not
in the case, and the court determines that the client's adversary is rightfully required to pay fees.
entitled to it. In this latter case, the title to the property could not be said to be
the properties of the client, over which the lawyer may claim a retaining lien. - The documents and money must be in the possession of the attorney
Carmelo V. Sison citing Vda. de Caifia v. Victoriano, 105 Phil. 194 (1959)
A side question also arose because of the lawyer's claim that he "is from time
Court can order the surrender of documents to time also in possession of the 17 titles belonging to the estate.“ The rule is
that the retaining lien is dependent on possession and does not attach to
"if it be entirely indispensable for the court to gain possession of the anything not in the attorney's hands. It exists only so long as the attorney
documents that have come to the attorney and are held by him in the course retains possession of the subject matter and expires when the possession
of his employment as counsel, it can require the surrender thereof by ends. - Carmelo V. Sison citing Vda. de Caifia v. Victoriano, 105 Phil. 194
requiring the client or claimant to first file proper and adequate security for (1959)
the lawyers' compensation." – Ampil v. Hon. Juliano-Agrava, et. al., G.R. No.
L-27394 July 31, 1970

Public documents not subject to retaining lien

The privilege of a retaining lien granted to an attorney does not cover papers
and documents which are public in character and which have been
introduced as exhibits. Such papers and documents are properly subject to
the Court’s custody. In the case at bar, the intransigence of the petitioner in
his persistence to continue in possession of the papers and documents in
question based on his erroneous belief as to the extent of the privilege of a
retaining lien, must not be accorded the imprimatur of the approval of this
Tribunal. If such were not the law, the resulting injury to a fair and efficient
administration of justice might well prove to be incalculable. – Villanueva, Jr.
v. Hon. Judge Querubin, et. al., G.R. No. L-26137. September 23, 1968

Features of an attorney's general, retaining or possessory lien

Retaining lien of an attorney is only a passive right and cannot be actively


enforced.

It amounts to a mere right to retain the documents and papers as against the
client, until the attorney is fully paid, the exception being that funds of the
client in the attorney's possession may be applied to the satisfaction of his
fees.

The attorney's retaining lien is a general lien for the balance of the account
between the attorney and his client, and applies to the documents and funds
of the client which may come into the attorney's possession in the course of
his employment.

The attorney's retaining lien attaches to the client's documents and funds in
the attorney's possession regardless of the outcome, favorable or adverse, of
any cases he may have handled for his client. - Ampil v. Hon. Juliano-
Agrava, et. al., G.R. No. L-27394 July 31, 1970
The lawyer and the “[Law] Firm” Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case
and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for
Choice of a Firm name
information.
Rule 3.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states that “in the
Lawyer who has had “significant personal contacts”
choice of a firm name, no false, misleading or assumed name shall be used.”
A departing lawyer who has had “significant personal contacts” with the
No name not belonging to any of the partners or associates may be used in
client, should inform the client that the lawyer is leaving the firm.
the firm name for any purpose. - PP v. Gonzalez, Jr., G.R. No. 139542 June
10, 2003 Note: this does not mean that an associate who met a client once or twice
and has prepared discovery requests has had “significant personal contacts”
Negligence of clerks in a law firm
– the standard is that if the client were asked “which lawyer(s) at the firm
Time and again the Court has admonished law firms to adopt a system of represents you?” the lawyers mentioned would be those that have
distributing pleadings and notices, whereby lawyers working therein receive had“significant personal contacts.”
promptly notices and pleadings intended for them, so that they will always be
Ethical obligations of departing lawyers
informed of the status of their cases.
In addition to the ethical obligations departing lawyers have, they also must
Their Court has also often repeated that the negligence of clerks which
avoid interfering with the contracts the firm has with existing clients.
adversely affect the cases handled by lawyers, is binding upon the latter. -
B.R. Sebastian Enterprises, Inc. v. CA, G.R. No. L-41862 [1992] However, the caution to avoid stealing clients must be balanced against the
departing lawyer’s ethical obligation to notify clients that an attorney is
Law firm represents the client
departing.
Respondent judge should not have accommodated so many Motions for
How to tell clients
Postponement filed by the then ailing Atty. Rosendo Castillo Sr. because a
law firm (Castillo & Castillo), to which the latter belonged, was really The preferred method of advising firm clients about the impending departure
representing the defendants, there certainly were other competent lawyers of an attorney is a joint letter from the firm and departing lawyer to all clients
who could have handled the matter. – Sps. Reaport v. Judge Mariano, A.M. with whom the lawyer had significant personal contacts.
No. MTJ-00-1253. July 11, 2001
A letter should advise the clients
Main and branch office constitute one personality
When the lawyer is leaving
Petitioner's counsel was and is the firm of Ledesma, Saludo and Associates
The client has the option of going with the lawyer, staying with the firm, or
(and not any particular member or associate of that firm) which firm happens
getting a new firm
to have a main office in Makati and a branch office in Cebu City. The Court
notes that both the main and branch offices operate under one and the same How any advance fee deposit will be treated
name, Saludo Ledesma and Associates. Having represented itself to the
public as comprising a single firm, LSA should not be allowed at this point to A place for the client to sign and return the letter, with instructions on where
pretend that its main office and its branch office in effect constitute separate their file should go.
law firms with separate and distinct personalities and responsibilities. Ouano
Separate letters may be sent by the lawyer (or the firm) to clients with whom
Arrastre Service Inc. v. Judge Aleonor, G.R. No. 97664 October 10, 1991
the departing lawyer had substantial personal contact as long as:
Death of a handling lawyer of the firm
1) the letters do not disparage the firm or the lawyer; and
Hence, the death of the latter did not extinguish the lawyer-client relationship
2) the letters do not involve improper solicitation
between said firm and petitioner. - B.R. Sebastian Enterprises, Inc. v. CA,
G.R. No. L-41862 [1992] Trust Account Monies

Duties of Firms and Lawyers When Someone Leaves Clients that have given the firm an advance fee or advance cost deposit take
the money with them (less earned fees and costs), if they go with the
A. Ethical Obligation to Communicate to Certain
departing lawyer. While simple in theory, application sometimes can be
clients problematic.

B. Trust Account Monies The“old” firm should write a check, consistent with the written instructions of
the client, to either the client or to the trust account for the departed lawyer’s
C. Fee Divisions In General new firm.
D. Files Fee Divisions In General
E. Phones In contingent fee cases where some or much of the work was performed at
the existing firm, but the case is going with the departing lawyer, the firm and
Partners and Associates Leaving Must Abide By Fiduciary Duties to Firm
lawyer must agree how the contingent fee will be apportioned among them,
Ethical Obligation to Communicate to Certain Clients based upon their respective contributions to the case (i.e., quantum meruit)
or based upon terms in the partnership agreement.
1) lawyers have a duty to tell “their” clients that they are leaving.
But can a departing lawyer keep all of a contingent fee case that came into
2) clients are not chattels – the firm and departing lawyer cannot decide
the old firm but ultimately settled when the lawyer was at a new firm?
which clients can stay and which can go – the clients decide.
Probably not, according to several cases.
Rule of confidentiality in a law firm
A lawyer may be entitled to only his partnership portion of the fees earned on
Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of the firm to
a case, even if he performed most of the work after the dissolution of the
partners or associates thereof unless prohibited by the client.
firm.
Duty to notify a client
Nevertheless, some courts will find that when a lawyer leaves a firm and
“The departing lawyer and responsible members of the law firm who remain takes a case with him, he may be entitled to the quantum meruit value of the
have an ethical obligation to assure that prompt notice is given to clients on work he performed.
whose active matters she currently is working.”
Client’s interests not be prejudiced when the attorney/client relationship is
terminated

Do not hold client files hostage, even if the client that is leaving with the
lawyer owes the current firm money.

Model Rule 1.16(d) requires that the client’s interests not be prejudiced when
the attorney/client relationship is terminated. Have the client or a runner from
the departed lawyer’s new firm sign for the file, if it is going to the new firm.

Also, it is appropriate to request in a litigation matter that the departed lawyer


file a substitution of counsel or at least notification of address change with
the court, to assure that the old firm is still not listed as counsel of record.

Client’s file = paper and electronic documents

When a client asks for their file, you must give them both the paper and the
electronic documents – including emails.

And remember that the client file is client property, so you cannot charge the
client for the cost of downloading everything to disks….

Phones

It is ethically inappropriate to have the receptionist tell callers who are looking
for a lawyer who recently left the firm “we don’t know where he is.” That
game is not professional and not acceptable.

Assure that all staff are instructed to provide the departed lawyer’s phone
number and mailing address.

Also, assign a partner to answer any client inquiries.

Moreover, mail should be forwarded to the departed lawyer.

Partners and Associates Leaving Must Abide By Fiduciary Duties to


Firm

It is worth noting again that lawyers who are leaving a firm have certain
fiduciary duties to the firm to not interfere with the contracts that the firm has
with existing clients, to not use firm resources to set up their new firm, and to
not attempt to steal away associates and staff while the lawyers are still
working for the firm. - Lynda C. Shely

A lawyer whose spouse is associated with a firm representing an opposing


party

[T]he lawyer should advise the client of all circumstances that might cause
one to question the undivided loyalty of the law firm and let the client make
the decision as to its employment. If the client prefers not to employ a law
firm containing a lawyer whose spouse is associated with a firm representing
an opposing party, that decision should be respected.

WON the firm of “Velasquez, Rodriguez, Respicio, Ramos, Nidea, and


Prado”may call itself “A law Firm Of St. Thomas More and Associate
Members”.

It implies that St. Thomas More is a Law Firm when in fact it is not it would
also convey to the public the impression that the lawyers are members of the
law firm which does not exist. To the public, it would seem that the purpose
or intention of adding “The Law Firm of St. Thomas More and Associates
Members” is to bask in the name of a Saint, although that may not really, be
the purpose or intention of the lawyers. The appellation only tends to confuse
the public and in a way demean both the saints and the legal profession
whose members must depend on their own name and record and merit and
not on the name/glory of other persons living or dead. - PP v. Gonzalez, Jr.,
G.R. No. 139542 June 10, 2003

Duties When Switching Firms

Duties of Lawyers Interviewing With Other Firms

Screening an “Infected” Lateral Hire

Death of a Lawyer
Confidentiality between lawyers and clients undertake the defense of the opposing party in the same case, without
the consent of his first client.
CANON 15 - A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all
his dealings and transactions with his clients Why lawyer-client relationships requires confidentiality

Rule 15.02. - A lawyer shall be bound by the rule on privilege Considerations favoring confidentially in lawyer-client relationships are
communication in respect of matters disclosed to him by a prospective many and serve several constitutional and policy concerns. In the
client. constitutional sphere, the privilege gives flesh to one of the most
sacrosanct rights available to the accused, the right to counsel. If a client
Rule 130 Sec. 24.Disqualification by reason of privileged
were made to choose between legal representation without effective
communication. — The following persons cannot testify as to matters
communication and disclosure and legal representation with all his secrets
learned in confidence:
revealed then he might be compelled, in some instances, to either opt to
(b)An attorney cannot, without the consent of his client, be examined as to stay away from the judicial system or to lose the right to counsel. If the
any communication made by the client to him, or his advice given thereon in price of disclosure is too high, or if it amounts to self incrimination, then the
the course of, or with a view to, professional employment, nor can an flow of information would be curtailed thereby rendering the right practically
attorney's secretary, stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the consent nugatory. The threat this represents against another sacrosanct individual
of the client and his employer, concerning any fact the knowledge of which right, the right to be presumed innocent is at once self-evident. - Regala
has been acquired in such capacity; et. al. v. Sandiganbayan, G. R. No. 105938 [1996]

Canon 21 – A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client Extent of Confidentiality Rule
even after the
The confidentiality rule, for example, applies not only to matters
attorney-client relation is terminated
communicated in confidence by the client but also to all information relating
Rule 21.01 - A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or secrets of his client to the representation, whatever its source. A lawyer may not disclose such
except; information except as authorized or required by the Rules of Professional
Conduct or other law.
(a) When authorized by the client after acquainting him of the
consequences of the disclosure; Lawyer’s duty to keep the confidentiality

(b) When required by law; An effective lawyer-client relationship is largely dependent upon the
degree of confidence which exists between lawyer and client which in
(c) When necessary to collect his fees or to defend himself, his employees turn requires a situation which encourages a dynamic and fruitful exchange
or associates or by judicial action. and flow of information. It necessarily follows that in order to attain effective
representation, the lawyer must invoke the privilege not as a matter of
Rule 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his client, use
option but as a matter of duty and professional responsibility. - Regala
information acquired in the course of employment, nor shall he use the same
et. al. v. Sandiganbayan, G. R. No. 105938 [1996]
to his own advantage or that of a third person, unless the client with full
knowledge of the circumstances consents thereto. General Rule on client’s identity
Rule 21.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the written consent of his client, As a matter of public policy, a client's identity should not be shrouded in
give information from his files to an outside agency seeking such information mystery. Under this premise, the general rule in our jurisdiction as well as in
for auditing, statistical, bookkeeping, accounting, data processing, or any the United States is that a lawyer may not invoke the privilege and refuse
similar purpose. to divulge the name or identity of this client. - Regala et. al. v.
Sandiganbayan, G. R. No. 105938 [1996]
Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of the firm to
partners or associates thereof unless prohibited by the client. Reasons advanced for the general rule
Rule 21.05 - A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may be required to First, the court has a right to know that the client whose privileged
prevent those whose services are utilized by him, from disclosing or using information is sought to be protected is flesh and blood.
confidences or secrets of the clients.
Second, the privilege begins to exist only after the attorney-client
Rule 21.06 - A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet conversation about a client's relationship has been established. The attorney-client privilege does not
affairs even with members of his family. attach until there is a client.
Rule 21.07 - A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been consulted about a Third, the privilege generally pertains to the subject matter of the
particular case except to avoid possible conflict of interest. relationship.
Rule 138 of the Rules of Court Finally, due process considerations require that the opposing party should,
as a general rule, know his adversary. "A party suing or sued is entitled
Sec. 20. It is the duty of an attorney: (e) to maintain inviolate the
to know who his opponent is." He cannot be obliged to grope in the dark
confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of his
against unknown forces.
client, and to accept no compensation in connection with his client's
business except from him or with his knowledge and approval. Exceptions
Canon 17. A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be 1) Client identity is privileged where a strong probability exists that revealing
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. the client's name would implicate that client in the very activity for which he
sought the lawyer's advice.
Revised Penal Code
2) Where disclosure would open the client to civil liability; his identity is
Art. 209. Betrayal of trust by an attorney or solicitor. — Revelation of secrets.
privileged.
— In addition to the proper administrative action, xxx shall be imposed
upon any attorney-at-law or solicitor ( procurador judicial) who, by any 3) Where the government's lawyers have no case against an attorney's client
malicious breach of professional duty or of inexcusable negligence or unless, by revealing the client's name, the said name would furnish the only
ignorance, shall prejudice his client, or reveal any of the secrets of the latter link that would form the chain of testimony necessary to convict an individual
learned by him in his professional capacity. of a crime, the client's name is privileged. - Regala et. al. v. Sandiganbayan,
G. R. No. 105938 [1996]
The same penalty shall be imposed upon an attorney-at-law or solicitor
(procurador judicial) who, having undertaken the defense of a client or Summarizing these exceptions, information relating to the identity of a client
having received confidential information from said client in a case, shall may fall within the ambit of the privilege when the client's name itself
has an independent significance, such that disclosure would then Starting point of duty of confidentiality
reveal client confidences. - Regala et. al. v. Sandiganbayan, G. R. No.
The moment complainant approached the then receptive respondent to seek
105938 [1996]
legal advice, a veritable lawyer-client relationship evolved between the
Communication to commit crime or fraud not privileged two. Such relationship imposes upon the lawyer certain restrictions
circumscribed by the ethics of the profession. Among the burdens of the
"The reason of the principle which holds such communications not to be relationship is that which enjoins the lawyer, respondent in this instance, to
privileged is that it is not within the professional character of a lawyer to
keep inviolate confidential information acquired or revealed during
give advice upon such subjects, and that it is no part of the profession of
legal consultations. - Hadjula v. Atty. Madianda, A.C. No. 6711 [2007]
an attorney or counselor at law to be advising persons as to how they
may commit crimes or frauds, or how they may escape the This duty of confidentiality also extends to prospective clients even though an
consequences of contemplated crimes and frauds. attorney-client relationship is never established.

The relation of attorney and client cannot exist for the purpose of counsel in Not a defense to justify breaching the duty of confidentiality
concocting crimes.
1. Lawyer not inclined to handle the client's case after consultation.
The protection which the law affords to communications between attorney
2. no formal professional engagement follows the consultation.
and client has reference to those which are legitimately and properly within
the scope of a lawful employment, and does not extend to 3. no contract whatsoever was executed by the parties to
communications made in contemplation of a crime, or perpetration of a memorialize the relationship.
fraud. -Dissenting opinion, Regala et. al. v. Sandiganbayan, G. R. No.
105938 [1996] - Hadjula v. Atty. Madianda, A.C. No. 6711 [2007]

It does not extend to those made in contemplation of a crime or perpetration The essential factors to establish the existence of the attorney-client
of a fraud. If the unlawful purpose is avowed, as in this case, the privilege communication
complainant’s alleged intention to bribe government officials in relation to his
(1) Where legal advice of any kind is sought
case, the communication is not covered by the privilege as the client does
not consult the lawyer professionally. It is not within the profession of a (2) from a professional legal adviser in his capacity as such,
lawyer to advise a client as to how he may commit a crime as a lawyer
is not a gun for hire. Thus, the attorney-client privilege does not attach, (3) the communications relating to that purpose,
there being no professional employment in the strict sense. - Genato v. Atty. (4) made in confidence
Silapan, A.C. No. 4078. July 14, 2003
(5) by the client,
Cause of client defense is not absolute
(6) are at his instance permanently protected
Whatever the contours of the line between traditional lawyering and criminal
conduct, they must inevitably be drawn case-by-case. We refuse to accept (7) from disclosure by himself or by the legal advisor,
the notion that lawyers may do anything, including violating the law, to
(8) except the protection be waived.
zealously advocate their clients' interests and then avoid criminal prosecution
by claiming that they were "just doing their job." - United States v. Cueto - Hadjula v. Atty. Madianda, A.C. No. 6711 [2007]
(7th Cir. 1998) 151 F.3d 620, 634
Characteristics of the Attorney-Client Privilege
Permanent nature of duty to keep confidentiality
1. A-C privilege where legal advice is professionally sought from an
The duty to maintain inviolate the client’s confidences and secrets is attorney.
not temporary but permanent. It is in effect perpetual for "it outlasts the
lawyer’s employment" (Canon 37, Code of Professional Responsibility) which 2. The client must intend the above communication to be
means even after the relationship has been terminated, the duty to preserve confidential.
the client’s confidences and secrets remains effective. 3. A-C privilege embraces all forms of communication and action.
This obligation to preserve the confidences and secrets of a client arises at 4. As a general rule, A-C privilege also extends to the attorney’s
the inception of their relationship. The protection given to the client is secretary, stenographer, clerk or agent with reference to any fact required in
perpetual and does not cease with the termination of the litigation, nor such capacity.
is it affected by the party’s ceasing to employ the attorney and retaining
another, or by any other change of relation between them. It even survives 5. The above duty is perpetual and is absolutely privileged from
the death of the client. – Genato v. Atty. Silapan, A.C. No. 4078. July 14, disclosure.
2003
Attorney-Client Privilege cannot be invoked
Secrets or confidential communications must be obtained in a lawyer-
1. There is consent or waiver or client.
client relationship
2. Such is required by law.
The alleged "secrets" of complainant were not specified by him in his
affidavit-complaint. Whatever facts alleged by respondent against 3. Such is made to protect the lawyer’s rights (i.e. to collect his fees
complainant were not obtained by respondent in his professional or associates or by judicial action).
capacity but as a redemptioner of a property originally owned by his
deceased son and therefore, when respondent filed the complaint for estafa 4. When such communication are made in contemplation of a crime
against herein complainant, which necessarily involved alleging facts that or the perpetuation of a fraud.
would constitute estafa, respondent was not, in any way, violating Canon 21. The principle of client-lawyer confidentiality is given effect by related
xxx To hold otherwise would be precluding any lawyer from instituting a case bodies of law
against anyone to protect his personal or proprietary interests. – Uy v. Atty.
Gonzales, A.C. No. 5280, March 30, 2004 1. the attorney-client privilege,

It must be stressed, however, that the privilege against disclosure of 2. the work product doctrine and
confidential communications or information is limited only to
3. the rule of confidentiality established in professional ethics.
communications which are legitimately and properly within the scope
of a lawful employment of a lawyer. - Genato v. Atty. Silapan, A.C. No.
4078. July 14, 2003
The attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine apply in judicial and A lawyer faced with a subpoena for information about a client must resist
other proceedings in which a lawyer may be called as a witness or the subpoena if the lawyer's testimony or the document production would
otherwise required to produce evidence concerning a client. violate either the attorney-client privilege or the ethical duty of
confidentiality and the client does not consent to the disclosure. - In re
The rule of client-lawyer confidentiality applies in situations other than those
Grand Jury Witness, 695 F2d 359 (CA 9 1982); In re Grand Jury Subpoena
where evidence is sought from the lawyer through compulsion of law.
(U.S.), 831 F2d 225 (CA 11 1987
Confidentiality does not extend to partners and associates
A lawyer who receives a subpoena to testify about a client may file a motion
Lawyers in a firm may, in the course of the firm's practice, disclose to each to quash asserting the attorney-client privilege, along with any other possible
other information relating to a client of the firm, unless the client has grounds for refusing to comply.
instructed that particular information be confined to specified lawyers.
A subpoena duces tecum issued to a lawyer that makes no attempt
Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of the firm to whatsoever to confine its scope to relevant, non-privileged matters is
partners or associates thereof unless prohibited by the client. unenforceable and must be quashed. - U.S. v. Horn, 976 F2d 1314 (CA9
1992)
Protection from third party
Representing a fugitive
This prohibition also applies to disclosures by a lawyer that do not in
themselves reveal protected information but could reasonably lead to the Assuming the client is indeed properly characterized as a fugitive, defense
discovery of such information by a third person. counsel must take into account the boundaries of permissible advocacy. It
bears noting that any physical act intended to harbor or conceal a fugitive
Disclosure of the Client's Identity and Whereabouts so as to prevent his discovery or arrest arguably could constitute a separate
criminal violation.
The general rule is that a client's identity and whereabouts are not covered
by the attorney-client privilege, as opposed to the ethical duty of A lawyer “is free to continue to give legal advice to [a fugitive] client and to
confidentiality. represent him before the authorities, as long as [the lawyer] does nothing to
aid the client to escape trial.
However, exceptions have been made if disclosure would implicate the client
in the criminal activity for which legal advice was sought or "if the net effect of Client is under conditions of bail
the disclosure would be to reveal the nature of a client communication." -
Charles McCormick, McCormick on Evidence § 90 (5th ed. 1999) “Where a client is under conditions of bail and defies a lawful court order
to appear, his 'whereabouts' are not unqualifiedly protected by the
Lawyer must testify about identity of client who paid with counterfeit $100 bill. attorney-client privilege, and the attorney may be compelled to disclose
information of the client's whereabouts." - Commonwealth v. Maguigan,511
Client's name not considered confidential unless "intertwined" with
A2d 1327 (Pa SupCt 1986)
confidential information or last link tying client to crime. - Alexiou v. United
States), 39 F.3d 973 (9th Cir. 1994 Lawyer who learned from client's wife that client had left with suitcase for
"parts unknown" had firm factual basis for believing client jumped bond and
Client identity is privileged in exceptional cases when disclosure would
did not intend to appear for trial, thus had duty to advise court to avoid
provide "last link" in chain of evidence leading to conclusion that client
assisting in criminal act. - U.S. v. DelCarpio-Cotrina,733 FSupp 95 (DC
committed crime, and would reveal confidential communication between
SFla 1990)
lawyer and client;
An attorney representing an individual who has violated the terms of bail
Client who accused divorce lawyer of improper sexual advances may not
and fled the jurisdiction arguably has an even greater obligation as an
obtain client list in discovery. - Brett v. Berkowitz, 706 A.2d 509 (Del. 1998)
officer of the court to seek the prompt return of the client in compliance with
Lawyer for client sought in hit-and-run accident may withhold client's a judicial release order.
identity when disclosure would implicate client in criminal activity for which
An attorney “may not assist the [fugitive] client in any way that the lawyer
legal advice sought. - Dietz v. Doe, 935 P.2d 611 (Wash. 1997)
knows will further an illegal or fraudulent purpose.”- Association of the
Certain instances where a court order is not involved, courts have held Bar of the City of New York Formal Opinion 1999-02
the client's whereabouts protected
Where an attorney believes, but does not know, conduct to be illegal or
Lawyer may not be compelled to disclose address fraudulent, the attorney may act on behalf of the fugitive client, but “only after
assuring him or herself that there is reasonable support for an argument that
of defendant father in child custody proceeding when he specifically the client’s intended use of the fruits of the representation will not
requested that lawyer not reveal the home address and telephone number of further a criminal scheme or act. - Association of the Bar of the City of
the father and the name and address of the school the children were New York Formal Opinion 1999-02
attending; information that the client requests be kept confidential is
protected unless protection permits a fraud or crime or clearly frustrates the “Conflict of interest”of Corporate Lawyers
administration of justice. - Brennan v. Brennan, 422 A2d 510 (Pa SuperCt
CPR provisions
1980)
Rule 15.03. - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by
Domestic relations case where confidentiality of address was necessary for
written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.
client safety. - Waldman v. Waldman,358 NE2d 521 (1976)
Canon 21. A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client
As a rule a lawyer should challenge an order to disclose information
even after the attorney-client relationship is terminated.
about client
Corporate counsel and possibility of COI
In sum, the attorney-client privilege ordinarily will not cover the information
sought by a subpoena directed to a lawyer. Yet even when faced with a Members of the Board of Directors
subpoena seeking fee information or a client's identity, the lawyer should
generally assert the attorney-client privilege and obtain a court ruling Employees of the corporation
rather than make his own determination whether the information is privileged.
General public
The existence of exceptions to the general rule holding that fee and client
identity are not privileged, as well as the lawyer's ethical duty to oppose Counsel’s private interest
disclosure of information learned during a client's representation, make
Duty of attorney to a corporate client
it advisable to follow this course of action.
“[a]n attorney for a corporate client owes his duty [of loyalty] to the Further, whenever any amendment or adoption of new by-laws is made,
corporate entity rather than a particular officer, director, or shareholder.” - copies of the amendments or the new by-laws are filed with the Securities
ABC Trans Natl Transport, Inc. v. Aeronautics Forwarders, Inc, 413 NE.2d and Exchange Commission (SEC) and attached to the original articles of
1299, 1310 1980 incorporation and by-laws. The documents are public records and could
not be considered confidential.
“[a] corporate attorney represents the corporation, not the individual
directors or officers.” - Heim v. Signcraft Screenprint Inc, No 01C50014, 2001 We agree with the IBP that in the course of complainant’s consultations,
WL 1018228 2001 respondent obtained the information about the need to amend the
corporate by-laws to allow board members outside the Philippines to
“[t]he attorney for a corporation, even a closely held one, does not have a
participate in board meetings through teleconferencing. Respondent
specific fiduciary duty toward the individual shareholders.” - Kopka v.
himself admitted this in his Answer.
Kamensky and Rubenstein, 821 NE.2d 719, 727 (2004)
It is settled that the mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a
He should resolve all doubts against the propriety of the representation. –
presumption of confidentiality. The client must intend the communication to
Cannon v. U.S. Acoustics Corp. 398 F.Supp. 209 (1975)
be confidential. Since the proposed amendments must be approved by
Palm v. Atty. Iledan, Jr. A.C. No. 8242 [2009] at least a majority of the stockholders, and copies of the amended by-
laws must be filed with the SEC, the information could not have been
Complainant is the President of Comtech, a corporation engaged in the intended to be confidential. Thus, the disclosure made by respondent
business of computer software development. during the stockholders’ meeting could not be considered a violation of
his client’s secrets and confidence within the contemplation of Canon 21
From February 2003 to November 2003, respondent served as Comtech’s
of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
retained corporate counsel for the amount of P6,000 per month as retainer
fee. We find no conflict of interest when respondent represented Soledad in a
case filed by Comtech. The case where respondent represents Soledad is
From September to October 2003, complainant personally met with
an Estafa case filed by Comtech against its former officer. There was
respondent to review corporate matters, including potential amendments
nothing in the records that would show that respondent used against
to the corporate by-laws.
Comtech any confidential information acquired while he was still
In a meeting held on 1 October 2003, respondent suggested that Comtech Comtech’s retained counsel.
amend its corporate by-laws to allow participation during board
Further, respondent made the representation after the termination of his
meetings, through teleconference, of members of the Board of Directors
retainer agreement with Comtech. A lawyer’s immutable duty to a former
who were outside the Philippines.
client does not cover transactions that occurred beyond the lawyer’s
Comtech decided to terminate its retainer agreement with respondent employment with the client.
effective November 2003.
The intent of the law is to impose upon the lawyer the duty to protect the
On 24 March 2004, Comtech’s new counsel sent a demand letter to Soledad client’s interests only on matters that he previously handled for the
[a former officer and director of Comtech, who resigned and who was former client and not for matters that arose after the lawyer-client
suspected of releasing unauthorized disbursements of corporate funds] to relationship has terminated.
return or account for the amount of P90,466.10 representing her
Santos Ventura Hocorma Foundation, Inc. v. Atty. Funk, A.C. No. 9094
unauthorized disbursements when she was the Corporate Treasurer of
August 15, 2012
Comtech.
It alleged that Atty. Funk used to work as corporate secretary, counsel, chief
On 22 April 2004, Comtech received Soledad’s reply, signed by
executive officer, and trustee of the Santos Ventura Hocorma foundation
respondent.
from 1983 to 1985. He also served as its counsel in several criminal and civil
In July 2004, due to Soledad’s failure to comply with Comtech's written cases.
demands, Comtech filed a complaint for Estafa against Soledad before the
Hocorma Foundation further alleged that on November 25, 2006 Atty. Funk
Makati Prosecutor’s Office. In the proceedings before the City Prosecution
filed an action for quieting of title and damages against Hocorma
Office of Makati, respondent appeared as Soledad’s counsel.
Foundation on behalf of Mabalacat Institute, Inc. (Mabalacat Institute). Atty.
In his Answer, respondent alleged that in January 2002, Soledad consulted Funk did so, according to the foundation, using information that he
him on process and procedure in acquiring property. acquired while serving as its counsel xxx.

In April 2002, Soledad again consulted him about the legal requirements of Here, it is undeniable that Atty. Funk was formerly the legal counsel of
putting up a domestic corporation. In February 2003, Soledad engaged his Hocorma Foundation. Years after terminating his relationship with the
services as consultant for Comtech. foundation, he filed a complaint against it on behalf of another client, the
Mabalacat Institute, without the foundation's written consent.
Respondent alleged that from February to October 2003, neither Soledad nor
Palm consulted him on confidential or privileged matter concerning the Here, the evidence shows that Hocorma Foundation availed itself of the
operations of the corporation. Respondent further alleged that he had no legal services of Atty. Funk in connection with, among others, the transfer
access to any record of Comtech. of one of the properties subject of the several suits that the lawyer
subsequently filed against the foundation. Indeed, Atty. Funk collected
Respondent admitted that during the months of September and October attorney's fees from the foundation for such services.
2003, complainant met with him regarding the procedure in amending
the corporate by-laws to allow board members outside the Philippines to An attorney may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as
participate in board meetings. counsel for a person whose interest conflicts with that of his present or
former client. This rule is so absolute that good faith and honest
Respondent alleged that there was no conflict of interest when he intention on the erring lawyer's part does not make it inoperative.
represented Soledad in the case for Estafa filed by Comtech. He alleged
that Soledad was already a client before he became a consultant for The reason for this is that a lawyer acquires knowledge of his former
Comtech. He alleged that the criminal case was not related to or client's doings, whether documented or not, that he would ordinarily not
connected with the limited procedural queries he handled with Comtech. have acquired were it not for the trust and confidence that his client
placed on him in the light of their relationship.
In addition, although the information about the necessity to amend the
corporate by-laws may have been given to respondent, it could not be It would simply be impossible for the lawyer to identify and erase such
considered a confidential information. entrusted ledge with faultless precision or lock the same into an iron box
when suing the former client on behalf of a new one.
Hornilla v. Atty. Salunat A.C. No. 5804, July 1, 2003 the legal services of the respondent not only for the corporate affairs of
AIB but also for her personal case.
They alleged that respondent is a member of the ASSA Law and Associates,
which was the retained counsel of the Philippine Public School Teachers Particularly, the Spouses Santiago and Florita Torroba filed by her on 29
Association (PPSTA). Respondent’s brother, Aurelio S. Salunat, was a December 2000 before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Parañaque
member of the PPSTA Board which approved respondent’s engagement as City.
retained counsel of PPSTA.
About six months after she resigned as AIB president, or on 14 June 2001,
Complainants, who are members of the PPSTA, filed an intra-corporate the respondent filed on behalf of AIB a complaint for replevin and damages
case against its members of the Board of Directors for the terms 1992- against her before the MeTC of Quezon City for the purpose of recovering
1995 and 1995-1997 before the Securities and Exchange Commission. from her the car of AIB assigned to her as a service vehicle. This he did
which was docketed as SEC Case No. 05-97-5657, and a complaint before without withdrawing as counsel of record in the ejectment case, which
the Office of the Ombudsman, docketed as OMB Case No. 0-97-0695, for was then still pending.
unlawful spending and the undervalued sale of real property of the PPSTA.
We do not sustain respondent’s theory that since the ejectment case and the
Respondent entered his appearance as counsel for the PPSTA Board replevin case are unrelated cases fraught with different issues, parties, and
members in the said cases. subject matters, the prohibition is inapplicable. His representation of
opposing clients in both cases, though unrelated, obviously constitutes
Complainants contend that respondent was guilty of conflict of interest
conflict of interest or, at the least, invites suspicion of double-dealing.
because he was engaged by the PPSTA, of which complainants were
members, and was being paid out of its corporate funds where complainants While the respondent may assert that the complainant expressly consented
have contributed. Despite being told by PPSTA members of the said conflict to his continued representation in the ejectment case, the respondent failed
of interest, respondent refused to withdraw his appearance in the said to show that he fully disclosed the facts to both his clients and he failed
cases. to present any written consent of the complainant and AIB as required
under Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Respondent admits that the ASSA Law Firm, of which he is the Managing
Partner, was the retained counsel of PPSTA. Yet, he appeared as Neither can we accept respondent’s plea that he was duty-bound to handle
counsel of record for the respondent Board of Directors in the said case. all the cases referred to him by AIB, including the personal cases of its
Clearly, respondent was guilty of conflict of interest when he officers which had no connection to its corporate affairs. That the
represented the parties against whom his other client, the PPSTA, filed representation of conflicting interest is in good faith and with honest
suit. intention on the part of the lawyer does not make the prohibition
inoperative.
What is a “derivative suit”?
Extent or degree of prohibition on representing COI
Where corporate directors have committed a breach of trust either by their
frauds, ultra vires acts, or negligence, and the corporation is unable or It must be noted that the proscription against representation of conflicting
unwilling to institute suit to remedy the wrong, a stockholder may sue on interests finds application where the conflicting interests arise with respect to
behalf of himself and other stockholders and for the benefit of the the same general matter however slight the adverse interest may be.
corporation, to bring about a redress of the wrong done directly to the
It applies even if the conflict pertains to the lawyer’s private activity or
corporation and indirectly to the stockholders.
in the performance of a function in a non-professional capacity.
This is what is known as a derivative suit, and settled is the doctrine that
Business transactions between an attorney and his client are disfavored
in a derivative suit, the corporation is the real party in interest while the
and discouraged by the policy of the law.
stockholder filing suit for the corporation’s behalf is only nominal party. The
corporation should be included as a party in the suit. De Guzman v. Atty. L. De Dios, A.C. No. 4943 January 26, 2001
A lawyer engaged as counsel for a corporation cannot represent members In 1995, complainant engaged the services of respondent as counsel in order
of the same corporation’s board of directors in a derivative suit brought to form a corporation.
against them. To do so would be tantamount to representing conflicting
interests, which is prohibited by the Code of Professional Responsibility. On January 10, 1996, with the assistance of Atty. De Dios, complainant
registered Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc. (SBHI) with the Securities and Exchange
The interest of the corporate client is paramount and should not be Commission.
influenced by any interest of the individual corporate officials.
On December 15, 1997, the corporation required complainant to pay her
Corporation cannot “consent” to a representation of a lawyer with COI unpaid subscribed shares of stock amounting to two million two hundred and
thirty five thousand pesos (P2,235,000.00) or 22,350 shares, on or before
The cases and ethics opinions differ on whether there must be separate
December 30, 1997.
representation from the outset or merely from the time the corporation seeks
to take an active role. Furthermore, this restriction on dual representation Complainant soon learned that her shares had been acquired by Ramon del
should not be waivable by consent in the usual way; the corporation Rosario, one of the incorporators of SBHI. The sale ousted complainant from
should be presumptively incapable of giving valid consent. the corporation completely. While respondent rose to be president of the
corporation, complainant lost all her life's savings invested therein.
Outside counsel must thus be retained to represent one of the defendants.

Rule 15.03. - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by Complainant alleged that she relied on the advice of Atty. de Dios and
believed that as the majority stockholder, Atty. de Dios would help her with
written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.
the management of the corporation.
Quiambao v. Atty. Nestor Bamba A. C. No. 6708 August 25, 2005
Complainant pointed out that respondent appeared as her counsel and
Complainant Felicitas S. Quiambao charges respondent Atty. Nestor A. signed pleadings in a case where complainant was one of the parties.
Bamba with violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility for Respondent, however, explained that she only appeared because the
representing conflicting interests when the latter filed a case against property involved belonged to SBHI.
her while he was at that time representing her in another case, and for
Respondent alleged that complainant misunderstood the role of
committing other acts of disloyalty and double-dealing.
respondent as legal counsel of Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc. Respondent
The complainant was the president and managing director of Allied manifested that her appearance as counsel for complainant Diana de
Investigation Bureau, Inc. (AIB), a family-owned corporation engaged in Guzman was to protect the rights and interest of SBHI since the latter
providing security and investigation services. She avers that she procured was the real owner of the land in controversy.
Respondent claims that there was no attorney-client relationship between her Special considerations, both for and against disqualification of former
and complainant. The claim has no merit. It was complainant who retained government attorney
respondent to form a corporation. She appeared as counsel in behalf of
If service with the government will tend to sterilize an attorney in too large an
complainant.
area of law for too long a time, or will prevent him from engaging in practice
The present situation shows a clear case of conflict of interest of the of the very specialty for which the government sought his service — and if
respondent. that sterilization will spread to the firm with which he becomes associated —
the sacrifices of entering government service will be too great for most
Limitations/restrictions
men to make. As for those men willing to make these sacrifices, not only will
of government lawyers in the practice of law
they and their firms suffer a restricted practice thereafter, but clients will
Canon 6 – These canons shall apply to lawyers in government services find it difficult to obtain counsel, particularly in those specialties and
in the discharge of their tasks. suits dealing with the government. - US v.Russell White BROTHERS, Jr.,
G. Thomas Nebel, and Thomas White Brothers 856 F.Supp. 370 (1992)
Rule 6.01 - The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is
not to convict but to see that justice is done. The suppression of facts or the Favors disqualification of former government lawyers
concealment of witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the
On the other hand, policy considerations underlying DR 9-101(B) which
accused is highly reprehensible and is cause for disciplinary action.
militate toward disqualification include [t]he treachery of switching sides; the
Rule 6.02 - A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public safeguarding of confidential governmental information from future use
position to promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter against the government; the need to discourage government lawyers from
to interfere with his public duties. handling particular assignments in such a way as to encourage their own
future employment in regard to those particular matters after leaving
Rule 6.03 - A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept government service; and the professional benefit derived from avoiding the
engagement or employment in connection with any matter in which he had appearance of evil.- US v.Russell White BROTHERS, Jr., G. Thomas Nebel,
intervened while in said service. and Thomas White Brothers 856 F.Supp. 370 (1992)
Rule 15.06. - A lawyer shall not state or imply that he is able to influence Definition of “substantial responsibility”
any public official, tribunal or legislative body.
With these competing policies in mind, the Court turns to the requirements of
Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he shall withdraw from Canon 9 which prohibit a former government attorney from accepting private
the firm and his name shall be dropped from the firm name unless the law employment in a matter in which he had "substantial responsibility" while
allows him to practice law currently. working for the government. According to the American Bar Association, a
"substantial responsibility" is "a responsibility requiring the official to
RRC Rule 138 Sec. 35. Certain attorneys not to practice. - No judge or other
become personally involved to an important, material degree, in the
official or employee of the superior courts or of the Office of the Solicitor
investigative or deliberative processes regarding the transactions or facts in
General, shall engage in private practice as a member of the bar or give
question." - US v.Russell White BROTHERS, Jr., G. Thomas Nebel, and
professional advice to clients.
Thomas White Brothers 856 F.Supp. 370 (1992)
Correct Interpretation
Application of C.P.R. on a government lawyer
The term "intervene" which we previously interpreted to include an act of a
The Code of Professional Responsibility does not cease to apply to a
person who has the power to influence the proceedings.
lawyer simply because he has joined the government service. In fact, by
Otherwise stated, to fall within the ambit of Rule 6.03 of the Code of the express provision of Canon 6 thereof, the rules governing the conduct
Professional Responsibility, the respondent must have accepted of lawyers“shall apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge of
engagement or employment in a matter which, by virtue of his public their official tasks.” Thus, where a lawyer’s misconduct as a government
office, he had previously exercised power to influence the outcome of official is of such nature as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or to
the proceedings. - Olazo v. Justice Tinga, A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC [2010] show moral delinquency, then he may be disciplined as a member of the
bar on such grounds.
General Rule
Although the general rule is that a lawyer who holds a government office
Thus, lawyers in government service cannot handle private cases for they may not be disciplined as a member of the bar for infractions he
are expected to devote themselves full-time to the work of their respective committed as a government official, he may, however, be disciplined as a
offices. - Ramos v. Atty. Jose R. Imbang, A.C. no. 6788 [2007] lawyer if his misconduct constitutes a violation of his oath a member of
Admonition to government lawyers the legal profession. - Ali v. Atty. Bubong, A.C. No. 4018 [2005]

A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public position to Now, a lawyer who holds a government position may not be disciplined as a
promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with member of the bar for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a
his public duties. government official. However, if the misconduct also constitutes a violation of
the Code of Professional Responsibility or the lawyer's oath or is of such
The above provision prohibits a lawyer from using his or her public position character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or shows moral
to: (1) promote private interests; (2) advance private interests; or (3) allow delinquency on his part, such individual may be disciplined as a member of
private interest to interfere with his or her public duties. the bar for such misconduct. - Pimentel, Jr. v. Attys. Llorente and Salayon,
A.C. no. 4680 [2000]
We previously held that the restriction extends to all government lawyers who
use their public offices to promote their private interests. - Olazo v. Justice We begin with the veritable fact that lawyers in government service in the
Tinga, A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC [2010] discharge of their official task have more restrictions than lawyers in
private practice. Want of moral integrity is to be more severely
“Revolving door” law practice
condemned in a lawyer who holds a responsible public office.
“[T]he process by which lawyers and others temporarily enter government
Otherwise said, a lawyer in government service is a keeper of the public faith
service from private life and then leave it for large fees in private practice,
and is burdened with high degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher
where they can exploit information, contacts, and influence garnered in
than his brethren in private practice.
government service.“ - PCCG v. Sandiganbayan and Tan, G.R. Nos.
151809-12 [April 12, 2005] It bears stressing also that government lawyers who are public servants owe
fidelity to the public service, a public trust. As such, government lawyers
These concerns were classified as adverse-interest conflicts" and
should be more sensitive to their professional obligations as their
"congruent-interest conflicts.
disreputable conduct is more likely to be magnified in the public eye - lawyer and demanding payment for such services. x x x.”- Maderada v.
Huyssen v. Atty. Gutierrez, A.C. No. 6707 [2006] Judge Mediodea, A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459. October 14, 2003

Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees RA 6713 Various ways a government lawyer leaves government service
Rule X
1. retirement
Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. - In addition to acts and
2. resignation
omissions of public officials and employees now prescribed in the
Constitution and existing laws, the following shall constitute prohibited acts 3. expiration of the term of office
and transactions of any public official and employee and are hereby declared
to be unlawful: 4. dismissal

(b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto. - Public officials 5. abandonment
and employees during their incumbency shall not:
Pro se litigant
(2) Engage in the private practice of their profession unless authorized by the
The raison d’etre for allowing litigants to represent themselves in court will
Constitution or law, provided, that such practice will not conflict or tend to
not apply when a person is already appearing for another party. Obviously,
conflict with their official functions;
because she was already defending the rights of another person when she
These prohibitions shall continue to apply for a period of one (1) year after appeared for her co-plaintiff, it cannot be argued that complainant was
resignation, retirement, or separation from public office, except in the case merely protecting her rights. That their rights may be interrelated will not give
of subparagraph (b) (2) above, but the professional concerned cannot complainant authority to appear in court. The undeniable fact remains that
practice his profession in connection with any matter before the office she and her co-plaintiff are two distinct individuals. The former may be
he used to be with, in which case the one-year prohibition shall likewise impairing the efficiency of public service once she appears for the latter
apply. without permission from this Court. - Maderada v. Judge Mediodea, A.M. No.
MTJ-02-1459. October 14, 2003
IRR of RA 6713 Rule X
Under the Rules of Court, parties to a case in a first-level court may --
Grounds for Administrative Disciplinary Action without having to resign from their posts -- conduct their own litigation in
person as well as appear for and on their own behalf as plaintiffs or
Section 1. In addition to the grounds for administrative disciplinary action
defendants.
prescribed under existing laws, the acts and omissions of any official or
employee, whether or not he holds office or employment in a casual, The law allows persons who are not lawyers by profession to litigate their
temporary, hold-over, permanent or regular capacity, declared unlawful or own case in court. The right of complainant to litigate her case personally
prohibited by the Code, shall constitute the grounds for administrative cannot be taken away from her. Her being an employee of the judiciary
disciplinary action, and without prejudice to criminal and civil liabilities does not remove from her the right to proceedings in propria persona
provided herein, such as: or to self-representation. To be sure, the lawful exercise of a right
cannot make one administratively liable. xxx However, it was also clearly
(c) Engaging in the private practice of his profession unless authorized by
established that complainant had appeared on behalf of her co-plaintiff in
the, Constitution, law or regulation, provided that such practice will not
the case below, for which act the former cannot be completely exonerated.
conflict or tend to conflict with his official functions;
Representing oneself is different from appearing on behalf of someone
These acts shall continue to be prohibited for a period of one (1) year after else.- Maderada v. Judge Mediodea, A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459. October 14,
resignation, retirement, or separation from public office, except in the case of 2003
paragraph (c) above, but the professional concerned cannot practice his
Two theories on the disqualification of former government lawyers in
profession in connection with any matter before the office he used to be with,
representing a client
within one year after such resignation, retirement, or separation,
provided that any violation hereof shall be a ground for administrative “Adverse-interest conflict”
disciplinary action upon re-entry to the government service.
“Congruent-interest representation conflicts."
Correct Interpretation
"Adverse-interest conflicts"
“[s]uch practice" - refer to practice "authorized by the Constitution or law" or
the exception to the prohibition against the practice of profession. "Adverse-interest conflicts" exist where the matter in which the former
government lawyer represents a client in private practice is substantially
The term "law" was intended by the legislature to include "a memorandum or related to a matter that the lawyer dealt with while employed by the
a circular or an administrative order issued pursuant to the authority of law.“ government and the interests of the current and former are adverse.”-
PCCG v. Sandiganbayan and Tan, G.R. Nos. 151809-12 [April 12, 2005]
- Query of Atty. Silverio-Buffe, A.M. No. 08-6-352-RTC [2009]
Adverse-interest conflict
Purpose of the Law
In the “adverse-interest conflict” a former government lawyer is enjoined
Thus, it may be well to say that the prohibition was intended to avoid any
from representing a client in private practice when the matter is substantially
impropriety or the appearance of impropriety which may occur in any
related to a matter that the lawyer dealt with while employed by the
transaction between the retired government employee and his former
government and if the interests of the current and former clients are adverse.
colleagues, subordinates or superiors brought about by familiarity, moral
ascendancy or undue influence, as the case may be. It must be observed that the “adverse-interest conflict” applies to all lawyers
in that they are generally disqualified from accepting employment in a
Private practice of law
subsequent representation if the interests of the former client and the present
Private practice has been defined by this Court as follows: client are adverse and the matters involved are the same or
substantially related.
“x x x. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in
frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other Congruent-interest conflict
words, it is frequent habitual exercise. Practice of law to fall within the
prohibition of statute [referring to the prohibition for judges and other In “congruent-interest conflict”, the disqualification does not really involve a
conflict at all, because it prohibits the lawyer from representing a private
officials or employees of the superior courts or of the Office of the Solicitor
practice client even if the interests of the former government client and the
General from engaging in private practice] has been interpreted as
new client are entirely parallel. The “congruent-interest representation
customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public, as a
conflict”, unlike the “adverse-interest conflict”, is unique to former 2.the practice will not conflict, or tend to conflict, with his or her official
government lawyers. functions.

Grounds for Disqualification arising from COI By way of exception, they can practice their profession if the Constitution or
the law allows them, but no conflict of interest must exist between their
The fatal taint which would require disqualification arises in two types of
current duties and the practice of their profession.
cases:
Interpretation
(1) where an attorney's conflict of interests in violation of [Canons]
undermines the court's confidence in the vigor of the attorney's The Section 7 prohibitions continue to apply for a period of one year after the
representation of his client, or more commonly public official or employee’s resignation, retirement, or separation from public
office, except for the private practice of profession under subsection (b)(2),
(2) where the attorney is at least potentially in a position to use privileged
which can already be undertaken even within the one-year prohibition
information concerning the other side through prior representation xxx
period. As an exception to this exception, the one-year prohibited period
thus giving his present client an unfair advantage. - US v.Russell White
applies with respect to any matter before the office the public officer or
BROTHERS, Jr., G. Thomas Nebel, and Thomas White Brothers 856
employee used to work with.
F.Supp. 370 (1992)
Section 5, Canon 3 of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel
PAO to provide free legal assistance
Outside employment may be allowed by the head of office provided it
The PAO was created for the purpose of providing free legal assistance to
complies with all of the following requirements:
indigent litigants.[27] Section 14(3), Chapter 5, Title III, Book V of the
Revised Administrative Code provides: (a) The outside employment is not with a person or entity that practices
law before the courts or conducts business with the Judiciary;
Sec. 14. xxx
(b) The outside employment can be performed outside of normal working
The PAO shall be the principal law office of the Government in extending free hours and is not incompatible with the performance of the court personnel’s
legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative
duties and responsibilities;
and other quasi-judicial cases.
(c) That outside employment does not require the practice of law;
PAO lawyer should not accept any remuneration for his services Provided, however, that court personnel may render services as professor,
As a PAO lawyer, respondent should not have accepted attorney's fees from lecturer, or resource person in law schools, review or continuing
the complainant as this was inconsistent with the office's mission. education centers or similar institutions;
Respondent violated the prohibition against accepting legal fees other than
(d) The outside employment does not require or induce the court personnel
his salary.
to disclose confidential information acquired while performing officials duties;
Acceptance of money by a government lawyer
(e) The outside employment shall not be with the legislative or executive
Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client branch of government, unless specifically authorized by the Supreme Court.
relationship. Respondent's admission that he accepted money from the
No lawyer in the Judiciary can practice law
complainant and the receipt confirmed the presence of an attorney-client
relationship between him and the complainant. Moreover, the receipt showed No chance exists for lawyers in the Judiciary to practice their profession, as
that he accepted the complainant's case while he was still a government they are in fact expressly prohibited by Section 5, Canon 3 of the Code of
lawyer. Respondent clearly violated the prohibition on private practice of Conduct for Court Personnel from doing so.
profession. - Ramos v. Atty. Jose R. Imbang, A.C. no. 6788 [2007]
Clerk of Court status after separation from government
Query
A clerk of court can already engage in the practice of law immediately after
Why may an incumbent engage in private practice under (b)(2), assuming her separation from the service and without any period limitation that applies
the same does not conflict or tend to conflict with his official duties, but a to other prohibitions under Section 7 of R.A. No. 6713.
non-incumbent like myself cannot, as is apparently prohibited by the last
The clerk of court’s limitation is that she cannot practice her profession
paragraph of Sec. 7?
within one year before the office where he or she used to work with. In a
Why is the former allowed, who is still occupying the very public position that comparison between a resigned, retired or separated official or employee, on
he is liable to exploit, but a non-incumbent like myself – who is no longer in a the one hand, and an incumbent official or employee, on the other, the
position of possible abuse/exploitation – cannot?" former has the advantage because the limitation is only with respect to the
office he or she used to work with and only for a period of one year.
Atty. Buffe alleged that Section 7(b)(2) of R.A. No. 6713 gives preferential
treatment to an incumbent public employee, who may engage in the private The incumbent cannot practice at all, save only where specifically allowed by
practice of his profession so long as this practice does not conflict or the Constitution and the law and only in areas where no conflict of interests
tend to conflict with his official functions. exists.

In contrast, a public official or employee who has retired, resigned, or has Inclusion of name in a business card is “private practice of law”
been separated from government service like her, is prohibited from
engaging in private practice on any matter before the office where she "Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and Celera"
used to work, for a period of one (1) year from the date of her separation with office at Rm. 220 Mariwasa Bldg., 717 Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon
from government employment. City
The interpretation that Section 7 (b) (2) generally prohibits incumbent While respondent denied having assumed any position in said office, the fact
public officials and employees from engaging in the practice of law, which remains that his name is included therein which may therefore tend to show
is declared therein a prohibited and unlawful act, accords with the that he has dealings with said office. Thus, while he may not be actually and
constitutional policy on accountability of public officers stated in Article XI of directly employed with the firm, the fact that his name appears on the calling
the Constitution … card as a partner in the Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig & Celera Law
Offices give the impression that he is connected therein and may
Exception
constitute an act of solicitation and private practice which is declared
As an exception, a public official or employee can engage in the practice of unlawful under Republic Act No. 6713. - Samonte v. Atty. Gatdula, A.M. No.
his or her profession under the following conditions: P-99-1292 [1999]

1. the private practice is authorized by the Constitution or by the law; and


Section 7 sub-par. (b)(2) of Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as
"Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees"
which declares it unlawful for a public official or employee to, among
others:

"(2) Engage in the private practice of their profession unless authorized


by the Constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict or tend
to conflict with official functions."

Preparation of a legal document [Assurance] after separation from


government service

The complainant, too, failed to sufficiently establish that the respondent was
engaged in the practice of law. At face value, the legal service rendered by
the respondent was limited only in the preparation of a single
document.

We specifically described private practice of law as one that contemplates a


succession of acts of the same nature habitually or customarily holding
one’s self to the public as a lawyer.

In any event, even granting that respondent’s act fell within the definition of
practice of law, the available pieces of evidence are insufficient to show that
the legal representation was made before the Committee on Awards, or
that the Assurance was intended to be presented before it.-Olazo v.
Justice Tinga, A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC [2010]
PALE: introduction Rule 2.02 - In such cases, even if the lawyer does not accept a case, he shall
not refuse to render legal advice to the person concerned if only to the extent
Lawyer
necessary to safeguard the latter's rights.
Most maligned profession in almost all societies.
Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed
Feared or respected? primarily to solicit legal business.

Lawyer’s Oath Rule 2.04 - A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those customarily
prescribed unless the circumstances so warrant.
I, do solemnly swear that I will ________________to the Republic of the
Philippines, I will support the Constitution and CANON 3 - A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS LEGAL SERVICES
_________________________ as well as the legal orders of the duly SHALL USE ONLY TRUE, HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE
constituted authorities therein; INFORMATION OR STATEMENT OF FACTS.

I will do no ____________, nor _______________ to the doing of any in Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent,
court; misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim
regarding his qualifications or legal services.
I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any __________________ or
______________ suit, or give aid nor consent to the same; Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading or assumed
name shall be used. The continued use of the name of a deceased partner is
I will delay _______________ for ____________ or ___________, and will permissible provided that the firm indicates in all its communications that said
conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and partner is deceased.
_______________, with all _______________ as well to the courts as to my
clients; Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he shall withdraw from
the firm and his name shall be dropped from the firm name unless the law
and I impose upon myself these __________________ obligations without allows him to practice law currently.
any mental reservation or ________________________.
Rule 3.04 - A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of value to
So help me God. representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity
to attract legal business.
Lawyer’s Oath
CANON 4 - A LAWYER SHALL PARTICIPATE IN THE DEVELOPMENT
I, do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM BY INITIATING OR SUPPORTING EFFORTS IN
Philippines, I will support the Constitution and obey the laws as well as the
LAW REFORM AND IN THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATION
legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein;
OF JUSTICE.
I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court;
CANON 5 - A LAWYER SHALL KEEP ABREAST OF LEGAL
I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or DEVELOPMENTS, PARTICIPATE IN CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
unlawful suit, or give aid nor consent to the same; PROGRAMS, SUPPORT EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE HIGH STANDARDS IN
LAW SCHOOLS AS WELL AS IN THE PRACTICAL TRAINING OF LAW
I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct myself as a lawyer STUDENTS AND ASSIST IN DISSEMINATING THE LAW AND
according to the best of my knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity JURISPRUDENCE.
as well to the courts as to my clients;
CANON 6 - THESE CANONS SHALL APPLY TO LAWYERS IN
and I impose upon myself these voluntary obligations without any mental GOVERNMENT SERVICES IN THE DISCHARGE OF THEIR TASKS.
reservation or purpose of evasion.
Rule 6.01 - The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not
So help me God. to convict but to see that justice is done. The suppression of facts or the
concealment of witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the
CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY (Promulgated June 21, accused is highly reprehensible and is cause for disciplinary action.
1988) Rule 6.02 - A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public
CHAPTER I. THE LAWYER AND SOCIETY position to promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter to
interfere with his public duties.
CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY
THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW OF AND Rule 6.03 - A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept
LEGAL PROCESSES. engagement or employment in connection with any matter in which he had
intervened while in said service.
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct. CHAPTER II. THE LAWYER AND THE LEGAL PROFESSION

Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY
of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE
ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.
Rule 1.03 - A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest,
encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any man's cause. Rule 7.01 - A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly making a false
statement or suppressing a material fact in connection with his application
Rule 1.04 - A lawyer shall encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a for admission to the bar.
controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement.
Rule 7.02 - A lawyer shall not support the application for admission to the
CANON 2 - A LAWYER SHALL MAKE HIS LEGAL SERVICES bar of any person known by him to be unqualified in respect to character,
AVAILABLE IN AN EFFICIENT AND CONVENIENT MANNER education, or other relevant attribute.
COMPATIBLE WITH THE INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY AND
EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROFESSION. Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects
on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he whether in public or private life,
Rule 2.01 - A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the cause of behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
the defenseless or the oppressed.
CANON 8 - A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH COURTESY,
FAIRNESS AND CANDOR TOWARDS HIS PROFESSIONAL
COLLEAGUES, AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST Rule 12.03 - A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file
OPPOSING COUNSEL. pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the
same or offering an explanation for his failure to do so.
Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, or otherwise
improper use language which is abusive, offensive Rule 12.04 - A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the execution of
a judgment or misuse Court processes.
Rule 8.02 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the
professional employment of another lawyer, however, it is the right of any Rule 12.05 - A lawyer shall refrain from talking to his witness during a break
lawyer, without fear or favor, to give proper advice and assistance to those or recess in the trial, while the witness is still under examination.
seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel.
Rule 12.06 - A lawyer shall not knowingly assist a witness to misrepresent
CANON 9 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, himself or to impersonate another.
ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.
Rule 12.07 - A lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat or harass a witness nor
Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the needlessly inconvenience him.
performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member
Rule 12.08 - A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of his client, except:
of the bar in good standing.
(a) on formal matters, such as the mailing, authentication or custody of an
Rule 9.02 - A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal
instrument, and the like; or
services with persons not licensed to practice law, except:
(b) on substantial matters, in cases where his testimony is essential to the
(a) Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a partner or associate that,
ends of justice, in which event he must, during his testimony, entrust the trial
upon the latter's death, money shall be paid over a reasonable period of time
of the case to another counsel.
to his estate or to persons specified in the agreement; or
Rule 12.08 - A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of his client, except:
(b) Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a
deceased lawyer; or (a) on formal matters, such as the mailing, authentication or custody of an
instrument, and the like; or
(c) Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer employees in a retirement
plan even if the plan is based in whole or in part, on a profit sharing (b) on substantial matters, in cases where his testimony is essential to the
agreement. ends of justice, in which event he must, during his testimony, entrust the trial
of the case to another counsel.
CHAPTER III. THE LAWYER AND THE COURTS
CANON 13 - A LAWYER SHALL RELY UPON THE MERITS OF HIS
CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH
CAUSE AND REFRAIN FROM ANY IMPROPRIETY WHICH TENDS TO
TO THE COURT.
INFLUENCE, OR GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF INFLUENCING THE
Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of COURT.
any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any
Rule 13.01 - A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or hospitality
artifice.
to, nor seek opportunity for cultivating familiarity with Judges.
Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the
Rule 13.02 - A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media
contents of a paper, the language or the argument of opposing counsel, or
regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a
the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as law a provision already
party.
rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact that which
has not been proved. Rule 13.03 - A lawyer shall not brook or invite interference by another branch
or agency of the government in the normal course of judicial proceedings.
Rule 10.03 - A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not
misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. CHAPTER IV. THE LAWYER AND THE CLIENT
CANON 11 - A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE CANON 14 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT REFUSE HIS SERVICES TO THE
RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND NEEDY.
SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS.
Rule 14.01 - A lawyer shall not decline to represent a person solely on
Rule 11.01 - A lawyer shall appear in court properly attired. account of the latter's race, sex. creed or status of life, or because of his own
opinion regarding the guilt of said person.
Rule 11.02 - A lawyer shall punctually appear at court hearings.
Rule 14.02 - A lawyer shall not decline, except for serious and sufficient
Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing
cause, an appointment as counsel de officio or as amicus curiae, or a
language or behavior before the Courts.
request from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any of its chapters for
Rule 11.04 - A lawyer shall not attribute to a Judge motives not supported by rendition of free legal aid.
the record or have no materiality to the case.
Rule 14.03 - A lawyer may not refuse to accept representation of an
Rule 11.05 - A lawyer shall submit grievances against a Judge to the proper indigent client if:
authorities only.
(a) he is not in a position to carry out the work effectively or competently;
CANON 12 - A LAWYER SHALL EXERT EVERY EFFORT AND
CONSIDER IT HIS DUTY TO ASSIST IN THE SPEEDY AND EFFICIENT (b) he labors under a conflict of interest between him and the prospective
client or between a present client and the prospective client.
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
Rule 14.04 - A lawyer who accepts the cause of a person unable to pay his
Rule 12.01 - A lawyer shall not appear for trial unless he has adequately
professional fees shall observe the same standard of conduct governing his
prepared himself on the law and the facts of his case, the evidence he will
relations with paying clients.
adduce and the order of its preference. He should also be ready with the
original documents for comparison with the copies. CANON 14 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT REFUSE HIS SERVICES TO THE
NEEDY.
Rule 12.02 - A lawyer shall not file multiple actions arising from the same
cause. Rule 14.03 - A lawyer may not refuse to accept representation of an
indigent client if:

(a) he is not in a position to carry out the work effectively or competently;


(b) he labors under a conflict of interest between him and the prospective CANON 19 - A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS CLIENT WITH ZEAL
client or between a present client and the prospective client. WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW.

CANON 15 - A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the
LOYALTY IN ALL HIS DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS WITH HIS lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate in presenting
CLIENTS. or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper
advantage in any case or proceeding.
Rule 15.01. - A lawyer, in conferring with a prospective client, shall ascertain
as soon as practicable whether the matter would involve a conflict with Rule 19.02 - A lawyer who has received information that his client has, in the
another client or his own interest, and if so, shall forthwith inform the course of the representation, perpetrated a fraud upon a person or tribunal,
prospective client. shall promptly call upon the client to rectify the same, and failing which he
shall terminate the relationship with such client in accordance with the Rules
Rule 15.02.- A lawyer shall be bound by the rule on privilege communication
of Court.
in respect of matters disclosed to him by a prospective client.
Rule 19.03 - A lawyer shall not allow his client to dictate the procedure in
Rule 15.03. - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by
handling the case.
written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.
CANON 20 - A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY FAIR AND
Rule 15.04. - A lawyer may, with the written consent of all concerned, act as
REASONABLE FEES.
mediator, conciliator or arbitrator in settling disputes.
Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in determining
Rule 15.05. - A lawyer when advising his client, shall give a candid and
his fees:
honest opinion on the merits and probable results of the client's case, neither
overstating nor understating the prospects of the case. (a) the time spent and the extent of the service rendered or required;

Rule 15.06. - A lawyer shall not state or imply that he is able to influence any (b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;
public official, tribunal or legislative body.
(c) The importance of the subject matter;
Rule 15.07. - A lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws
(d) The skill demanded;
and the principles of fairness.
(e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of
Rule 15.08. - A lawyer who is engaged in another profession or occupation
the proffered case;
concurrently with the practice of law shall make clear to his client whether he
is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity. (f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees
of the IBP chapter to which he belongs;
CANON 16 - A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND
PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME INTO HIS (g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the
PROFESSION. client from the service;
Rule 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or (h) The contingency or certainty of compensation;
received for or from the client.
(i) The character of the employment, whether occasional or established; and
Rule 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart
from his own and those of others kept by him. (j) The professional standing of the lawyer.

Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when Rule 20.02 - A lawyer shall, in case of referral, with the consent of the
due or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over the funds and may client, be entitled to a division of fees in proportion to the work performed
apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and and responsibility assumed.
disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also
Rule 20.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the full knowledge and consent of
have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has
the client, accept any fee, reward, costs, commission, interest, rebate or
secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court.
forwarding allowance or other compensation whatsoever related to his
Rule 16.04 - A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the professional employment from anyone other than the client.
client's interest are fully protected by the nature of the case or by
Rule 20.04 - A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning
independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except,
his compensation and shall resort to judicial action only to prevent
when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a
imposition, injustice or fraud.
legal matter he is handling for the client.
CANON 20 - A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY FAIR AND
CANON 17 - A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS
REASONABLE FEES.
CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND
CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM. Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in determining
his fees:
CANON 18 - A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH
COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. xxxxx

Rules 18.01 - A lawyer shall not undertake a legal service which he knows or (f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of
should know that he is not qualified to render. However, he may render such fees of the IBP chapter to which he belongs;
service if, with the consent of his client, he can obtain as collaborating
counsel a lawyer who is competent on the matter. xxxxx

CANON 21 - A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE CONFIDENCE AND


Rule 18.02 - A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate
preparation. SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN AFTER THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT
RELATION IS TERMINATED.
Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and
Rule 21.01 - A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or secrets of his
his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
client except;
Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case
and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for (a) When authorized by the client after acquainting him of the consequences
information. of the disclosure;

(b) When required by law;


(c) When necessary to collect his fees or to defend himself, his employees or The Legislative Department
associates or by judicial action.
SECTION 14. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may
Rule 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his client, use personally appear as counsel before any court of justice or before the
information acquired in the course of employment, nor shall he use the same Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies.
to his own advantage or that of a third person, unless the client with full
xxx
knowledge of the circumstances consents thereto.
A.M. No. 03-05-01-SC Adopting the New Code of Judicial Conduct for
Rule 21.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the written consent of his client,
the Philippine Judiciary Promulgated this 27th day of April 2004
give information from his files to an outside agency seeking such information
for auditing, statistical, bookkeeping, accounting, data processing, or any WHEREAS, at the Round Table Meeting of Chief Justices held at the Peace
similar purpose. Palace, The Hague, on 25-26 November 2002, at which the Philippine
Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of the firm to Supreme Court was represented by the Chief Justice and Associate Justice
Reynato S. Puno, the Bangalore Draft of the Code of Judicial Conduct
partners or associates thereof unless prohibited by the client.
adopted by the Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity was
Rule 21.05 - A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may be required to deliberated upon and approved after incorporating therein several
prevent those whose services are utilized by him, from disclosing or using amendments;
confidences or secrets of the clients.
WHEREAS, the Bangalore Draft, as amended, is intended to be the
Rule 21.06 - A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet conversation about a client's Universal Declaration of Judicial Standards applicable in all judiciaries;
affairs even with members of his family.
WHEREAS, the Bangalore Draft is founded upon a universal recognition that
Rule 21.07 - A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been consulted about a a competent, independent and impartial judiciary is essential if the
particular case except to avoid possible conflict of interest. courts are to fulfill their role in upholding constitutionalism and the rule of
law; that public confidence in the judicial system and in the moral authority
Privileged communication refers to any communication made by the client
and integrity of the judiciary is of utmost importance in a modern democratic
to a lawyer, or his advice given thereon in the course of, or with a view to,
society; and that it is essential that judges, individually and collectively,
professional employment.
respect and honor judicial office as a public trust and strive to enhance and
"Confidence" refers to information protected by the attorney-client privilege maintain confidence in the judicial system;
under applicable law, and
WHEREAS, the adoption of the universal declaration of standards for ethical
“Secret" refers to other information gained in the professional relationship conduct of judges embodied in the Bangalore Draft as revised at the Round
that the client has requested be held inviolate or the disclosure of which Table Conference of Chief Justices at The Hague is imperative not only to
would be embarrassing or would be likely to be detrimental to the client. update and correlate the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Canons of
Judicial Ethics adopted for the Philippines, but also to stress the Philippines’
CANON 22 - A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS SERVICES ONLY FOR solidarity with the universal clamor for a universal code of judicial ethics.
GOOD CAUSE AND UPON NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE
CIRCUMSTANCES. NOW, THEREFORE, the Court hereby adopts this New Code of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary:
Rule 22.01 - A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of the following
case: This Code, which shall hereafter be referred to as the New Code of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, supersedes the Canons of Judicial
(a) When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of conduct in Ethics and the Code of Judicial Conduct heretofore applied in the Philippines
connection with the matter he is handling; to the extent that the provisions or concepts therein are embodied in this
Code: Provided, however, that in case of deficiency or absence of specific
(b) When the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of
provisions in this New Code, the Canons of Judicial Ethics and the Code of
these canons and rules;
Judicial Conduct shall be applicable in a suppletory character.
(c) When his inability to work with co-counsel will not promote the best
This New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary shall take
interest of the client;
effect on the first day of June 2004, following its publication not later than
(d) When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer renders it difficult 15 May 2004 in two newspapers of large circulation in the Philippines to
for him to carry out the employment effectively; ensure its widest publicity.

(e) When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the services or Who can be a judge?
fails to comply with the retainer agreement;
Section 7.
(f) When the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office; and
(1) No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court or any
(g) Other similar cases. lower collegiate court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. A
Member of the Supreme Court must be at least forty years of age, and must
Rule 22.02 - A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to a have been for fifteen years or more a judge of a lower court or engaged in
retainer lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to which the
the practice of law in the Philippines.
client is entitled, and shall cooperative with his successor in the orderly
transfer of the matter, including all information necessary for the proper (2) The Congress shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of lower courts,
handling of the matter. but no person may be appointed judge thereof unless he is a citizen of the
Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar.
CANON 22 - A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS SERVICES ONLY FOR
GOOD CAUSE AND UPON NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE (3) A Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence,
CIRCUMSTANCES. integrity, probity, and independence.

Rule 22.01 - A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of the following - ARTICLE VIII Judicial Department [Constitution]
case:
CANON 1. INDEPENDENCE
xxxxx
Judicial independence is a prerequisite to the Rule of Law and a fundamental
(f) When the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office; guarantee of fair trial. A judge shall therefore, uphold and exemplify judicial
independence in both its individual and institutional aspects.
ARTICLE VI
Section 1. Judges shall exercise the judicial function independently on the (a) The judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal
basis of their assessment of the facts and in accordance with a conscientious knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings;
understanding of the law, free of any extraneous influence, inducement,
(b) The judge previously served as a lawyer or was a material witness in the
pressure, threat or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any
matter in controversy;
reason.
(c) The judge, or a member of his or her family, has an economic interest in
Section 2. In performing judicial duties, judges shall be independent from
the outcome of the matter in controversy;
judicial colleagues in respect of decisions which the judge is obliged to make
independently. (d) The judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, trustee, or lawyer
in the case or matter in controversy, or a former associate of the judge
Section 3. Judges shall refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome
served as counsel during their association, or the judge or lawyer was a
of litigation or dispute pending before another court or administrative agency.
material witness therein;
Section 4. Judges shall not allow family, social or other relationships to
(e) The judge's ruling in a lower court is the subject of review;
influence judicial conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial office shall not
be used or lent to advance the public interests of others, nor convey or (f) The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the
permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to 6th civil degree or to counsel within the 4th civil degree; or
influence the judge.
(g) The judge knows that his or her spouse or child has a financial interest,
Section 5. Judges shall not only be free from inappropriate connections with, as heir, legatee, creditor, fiduciary, or otherwise, in the subject matter in
and influence by, the executive and legislative branches of government, but controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be
must also appear to be free therefrom to a reasonable observer. substantially affected by the outcome of the proceedings.
Section 6. Judges shall be independent in relation to society in general and Section 6. A judge disqualified as stated above may, instead of withdrawing
in relation to the particular parties to a dispute which he or she has to from the proceeding, disclose on the records the basis of disqualification. If
abdicate. based on such disclosure, the parties and lawyers independently of a judge's
participation, all agree in writing that the reason for the inhibition is immaterial
Section 7. Judges shall encourage and uphold safeguards for the discharge
or unsubstantial, the judge may then participate in the proceeding. The
of judicial duties in order to maintain and enhance the institutional and
agreement, signed by all parties and lawyers, shall be incorporated in the
operational independence of the judiciary.
record of the proceedings.
Section 8. Judges shall exhibit and promote high standards of judicial
CANON 4. PROPRIETY
conduct in order to reinforce public confidence in the judiciary which is
fundamental to the maintenance of judicial independence. Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of
all the activities of a judge.
CANON 2. INTEGRITY
Section 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety
Integrity is essential not only to the proper discharge of the judicial office but
in all of their activities.
also to the personal demeanor of judges.
Section 2. As a subject of constant public scrutiny, judges must accept
Section 1. Judges shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach,
personal restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary
but that it is perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable observer.
citizen and should do so freely and willingly. In particular, judges shall
Section 2. The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the people's conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial
faith in the integrity of the judiciary. Justice must not only merely be done but office.
must also be seen and done.
Section 3. Judges shall, in their personal relations with individual members of
Section 3. Judges should take or initiate appropriate disciplinary measures the legal profession who practice regularly in their court, avoid situations
against lawyers or court personnel for unprofessional conduct of which the which might reasonably give rise to the suspicion or appearance of favoritism
judge may have become aware. or partiality.

CANON 3. IMPARTIALITY Section 4. Judges shall not participate in the determination of a case in which
any member of their family represents a litigant or is associated in any
Impartiality is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office. It applies
manner with the case.
not only to the decision itself but also to the process by which the decision is
made. Section 5. Judges shall not allow the use of their residence by a member of
the legal profession to receive clients of the latter or of other members of the
Section 1. Judges shall perform their judicial duties without favor, bias, or
legal profession.
prejudice.
Section 6. Judges, like any other citizen, are entitled to freedom of
Section 2. Judges shall ensure that his or her conduct, both in and out of
expression, belief, association and assembly, but in exercising such rights,
court, maintains and enhances the confidence of the public, the legal
they shall always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the
profession and litigants in the impartiality of the judge and of the judiciary.
dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the
Section 3. Judges shall, so far as is reasonable, so conduct themselves as to judiciary.
minimize the occasions on which it will be necessary for them to be
Section 7. Judges shall inform themselves about their personal fiduciary
disqualified from hearing or deciding cases.
financial interests and shall make reasonable efforts to be informed about the
Section 4. Judges shall not knowingly, while a proceeding is before, or could financial interests of members of their family.
come before them, make any comment that might reasonably be expected to
Section 8. Judges shall not use or lend the prestige of the judicial office to
affect the outcome of such proceeding or impair the manifest fairness of the
advance their private interests, or those of a member of their family or of
process. Nor shall judges make any comment in public or otherwise that
anyone else, nor shall they convey or permit others to covey the impression
might affect the fair trial of any person or issue.
that anyone is in a special position improperly to influence them in the
Section 5. Judges shall disqualify themselves from participating in any performance of judicial duties.
proceedings in which they are unable to decide the matter impartially or in
Section 9. Confidential information acquired by judges in their judicial
which it may appear to a reasonable observer that they are unable to decide
capacity shall not be used or disclosed by, for any other purpose related to
the matter impartially. such proceedings include, but are not limited to,
their judicial duties.
instances where
Section 10. Subject to the proper performance of judicial duties, judges may
(a) Write, lecture, teach, and participate in activities concerning the law, the Section 4. Judges shall keep themselves informed about the relevant
legal system, the administration of justice or related matters; developments of international law, including international conventions and
other instruments establishing human rights norms.
(b) Appear at a public hearing before an official body concerned with matters
relating to the law, the legal system, the administration of justice or related Section 5. Judges shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of
matters; reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly, and with reasonable promptness.

(c) Engage in other activities if such activities do not detract from the dignity Section 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings
of the judicial office or otherwise interfere with the performance of judicial before the court and be patient, dignified, and courteous in relation to
duties. litigants, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an
official capacity. Judges shall require similar conduct of legal representatives,
Section 11. Judges shall not practice law whilst the holder of judicial office.
court staff and others subject to their influence, direction and control.
Section 12. Judges may form or join associations of judges or participate in
Section 7. Judges shall not engage in conduct incompatible with the diligent
other organizations representing the interests of judges.
discharge of judicial duties.
Section 13. Judges and members of their families shall neither ask for, or
DEFINITIONS
accept, any gift, bequest, loan or favor in relation to anything done or to be
done or omitted to be done by him or her in connection with the performance In this Code, unless the context otherwise permits or requires, the following
of judicial duties. meanings shall be attributed to the words used:

Section 14. Judges shall not knowingly permit court staff of others subject to Court staff” includes the personal staff of the judge including law clerks.
their influence, direction or authority, to ask for, or accept any gift, bequest,
Judge” means any person exercising judicial power, however designated.
loan or favor in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done
in connection with their duties of functions. Judge’s family” includes a judge’s spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law,
daughter-in-law, and any other relative by consanguinity or affinity within the
Section 15. Subject to law and to any legal requirements of public disclosure,
sixth civil degree, or person who is a companion or employee of the judge
judges may receive a token gift, award, or benefit as appropriate to the
and who lives in the judge’s household.
occasion on which it is made provided that such gift, award of benefit might
not reasonably be perceived as intended to influence the judge in the
performance of judicial duties or otherwise give rise to an appearance of
partiality.

CANON 5. EQUALITY

Ensuring equality of treatment to all before the courts is essential to the due
performance of the judicial office.

Section 1. Judges shall be aware of, and understand, diversity in society and
differences arising from various sources, including but not limited to race,
color, sex, religion, national origin, caste, disability, age, marital status,
sexual orientation, social and economic status and other like causes.

Section 2. Judges shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or


conduct, manifest bias or prejudice towards any person or group on
irrelevant grounds.

Section 3. Judges shall carry out judicial duties with appropriate


consideration for all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court
staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground,
immaterial to the proper performance of such duties.

Section 4. Judges shall not knowingly permit court staff or others subject to
his or her influence, direction or control to differentiate between persons
concerned, in a matter before the judge, on any irrelevant ground.

Section 5. Judges shall require lawyers in proceedings before the court to


refrain from manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on
irrelevant grounds, except such as are legally relevant to an issue in
proceedings and may be the subject of legitimate advocacy.

CANON 6. COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE

Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of


judicial office.

Section 1. The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all other
activities.

Section 2. Judges shall devote their professional activity to judicial duties,


which include not only the performance of judicial functions and
responsibilities in court and the making of decisions, but also other tasks
relevant to the judicial office or the court's operations.

Section 3. Judges shall take reasonable steps to maintain and enhance their
knowledge, skills, and personal qualities necessary for the proper
performance of judicial duties, taking advantage for this purpose of the
training and other facilities which should be made available, under judicial
control, to judges.