You are on page 1of 5


Canon 22. A lawyer shall withdraw his services only for good cause and
upon notice appropriate in the circumstances.
Termination of Attorney-Client Relation
(1) Withdrawal of lawyer under Rule 22.01
(2) Death of the lawyer
(3) Disbarment or suspension of the lawyer from the practice of law
(4) Declaration of presumptive death of lawyer
(5) Conviction of a crime and imprisonment of lawyer
(6) Discharge or dismissal of the lawyer by the client
(7) Appointment or election of a lawyer to a government position which
prohibits private practice of law
(8) Death of client
(9) Intervening incapacity or incompetence of the client during pendency of
(10) Full termination of the case

General Rule: The client has the right to terminate at any time with or
without just cause.
(1) Client cannot deprive counsel of right to be paid services if dismissal is
without cause
(2) Client cannot discharge counsel as an excuse to secure repeated
extensions of time
(3) Notice of discharge is required for both court and adverse party

Procedure for a lawyers withdrawal as counsel in a case:

Rule 139, Section 26 RoC.
Change of attorneys. An attorney may retire at any time from any
action or special proceeding, by the:
1. written consent of his client filed in court, or
2. without the consent of his client should the court
a. determines upon hearing that he ought to be allowed to retire; and
b. gives notice to the client and attorney
In case of substitution, the name of the attorney newly employed shall be
entered on the docket of the court in place of the former one, and written
notice of the change shall be given to the advance party.
A client may at any time dismiss his attorney or substitute another in his
place, but if the contract between client and attorney has been reduced to
writing and the dismissal of the attorney was without justifiable cause, he
shall be entitled to recover from the client the full compensation stipulated in
the contract. However, the attorney may, in the discretion of the court,
intervene in the case to protect his rights. For the payment of his
compensation the attorney shall have a lien upon all judgments for the
payment of money, and executions issued in pursuance of such judgment,
rendered in the case wherein his services had been retained by the client.

Adm. Case No. 6266 November 16, 2006
Briones represented her for civil case
Briones showed respondent a copy of "Discharge and Appearance of Counsels
with Ex-parte Motion to Cancel the October 25, 2002 Hearing". Briones added
that Zapanta requested her not to file it and he would submit a withdrawal of
appearance instead. Briones also informed Zapanta that she could not attend
the hearing on January 6, 2003 because of other commitments. Zapanta
allegedly assured her that he would be present in the hearing.
both failed to appear in the hearing
Zapanta failed to file their formal offer of evidence within ten days from
notice on January 24, 2003, he filed a withdrawal of appearance on March 5,
2003 instead.
Trial court dismissed her case with prejudice.
Briones filed this case of Disbarment for abandonment and neglect of
duties against Zapanta.
Zapanta countered that he was discharged as complainants counsel after the
October 25, 2002 hearing
added that he prepared a withdrawal of appearance on October 30, 2002 but
complainant ignored his several requests to sign it in his office. Nevertheless,
he claimed he filed a withdrawal of appearance on March 5, 2003 without
complainants conformity.
claimed further that complainants new lawyer should be faulted for belatedly
filing an entry of appearance and a motion for reconsideration.

Issue: Is the withdrawal valid?

No. Rule 139, Section 26 RoC.
Until his dismissal or withdrawal was made of record, any judicial
notice sent to him was binding upon his client even though as between
them the professional relationship may have been terminated.
respondents negligence is not excused by his claim that he had
prepared his withdrawal of appearance as early as October 30, 2002
but complainant refused to sign it
until a lawyers withdrawal shall have been approved, he remains
counsel of record and is expected by his client as well as by the court
to do what the interests of his client require. He must still appear on
the date of hearing for the attorney-client relation does not terminate
formally until there is a withdrawal of his appearance on record.
respondent should have informed the complainant of the courts order
addressed to him, especially if he considered himself discharged in order for
complainant and her new counsel to be guided accordingly.
He then is found GUILTY of negligence and is meted the penalty of
SUSPENSION from the practice of law for THREE MONTHS effective upon
finality of this Decision.

Rule 22.01. A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of the following case:
(1) When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of conduct in
connection with the matter he is handling;
(2) When the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of these
canons and rules;
(3) When his inability to work with co-counsel will not promote the best
interest of the client;
(4) When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer renders it difficult for
him to carry out the employment effectively;
(5) When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the services or fails
to comply with the retainer agreement;
(6) When the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office;
Atty. Gerona was the original lawyer hired but because of his sick
daughter Montano asked for Atty. Dealca to prepare and submit his
appellants brief on time at the agreed fee, in writing, of P15,000.00,
50% down and 50% upon its completion.
Montano paid the 50%. Upon completion he paid another P4,500 with a
promise to pay the P 3, 500 the next day.
Such next days had been extended until atty. Dealca left Motano the
case folder with a note saying: For breaking your promise, since you
do not want to fulfill your end of the bargain, heres your reward:
Henceforth, you lawyer for yourselves. Here are your papers.
Montano filed this administrative case of disbarment
On his defense, Atty Dealca alleged there was already a breach of the
agreement on complainants part. It was not him but the complainant
who sets the date when he will pay, yet fails to pay as promised.
And further averred that complainants refusal to pay the agreed
lawyers fees, measly as it was, was deliberate and in bad faith; hence,
his withdrawal as counsel was just, ethical and proper.
Issue: Is the ground for withdrawal valid?
No. Canon 22.01 (5). Although a lawyer may withdraw his services
when the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the services,
withdrawal is unjustified if client did not deliberately fail to pay.
The failure to pay the remaining balance of P3,500.00 does not appear
to be deliberate. Complainant paid 75% of the fee already as
demanded. This, notwithstanding, Atty. Dealca withdrew his
appearance simply because of complainants failure to pay the
remaining balance. Plus, the situation was aggravated by Dealcas note
to complainant withdrawing as counsel which was couched in impolite
and insulting language.
Atty. Dealcas withdrawal was unjustified as complainant did not
deliberately fail to pay him the attorneys fees.

Conditions for the Substitution of Counsel

(1) Written request for substitution
(2) Written consent of client
(3) Written consent of the attorney to be substituted or in the absence, proof
of service of notice of said motion to the attorney to be substituted

At the discretion of the court, a lawyer who has been dismissed by a client is
allowed to intervene in a case in order to protect the clients rights. [Obando
v. Figueras (2000)]