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Republic of the Philippines the CFI of Laguna, presided by the Hon. Hilarion U.

Jarencio, which rendered judgment


SUPREME COURT on December 20, 1961, the pertinent portions of which read:
Manila
The present case is one for malicious mischief. There being no reservation by
EN BANC the offended party of the civil liability, the civil action was deemed impliedly
instituted with the criminal action. The offended party had, therefore, the right to
G.R. No. L-19450 May 27, 1965 intervene in the case and be represented by a legal counsel because of her
interest in the civil liability of the accused.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. Sec. 31, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court provides that in the court of a justice of
SIMPLICIO VILLANUEVA, defendant-appellant. the peace a 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. Assistant
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. City Attorney Fule appeared in the Justice of the Peace Court as an agent or
Magno T. Buese for defendant-appellant. friend of the offended party. It does not appear that he was being paid for his
services or that his appearance was in a professional capacity. As Assistant City
PAREDES, J.: Attorney of San Pablo he had no control or intervention whatsoever in the
prosecution of crimes committed in the municipality of Alaminos, Laguna,
On September 4, 1959, the Chief of Police of Alaminos, Laguna, charged Simplicio because the prosecution of criminal cases coming from Alaminos are handled by
Villanueva with the Crime of Malicious Mischief before the Justice of the Peace Court of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and not by the City Attornev of San Pablo.
said municipality. Said accused was represented by counsel de officio but later on There could be no possible conflict in the duties of Assistant City Attorney Fule as
replaced by counsel de parte. The complainant in the same case was represented by Assistant City Attorney of San Pablo and as private prosecutor in this criminal
City Attorney Ariston Fule of San Pablo City, having entered his appearance as private case. On the other hand, as already pointed out, the offended party in this
prosecutor, after securing the permission of the Secretary of Justice. The condition of his criminal case had a right to be represented by an agent or a friend to protect her
appearance as such, was that every time he would appear at the trial of the case, he rights in the civil action which was impliedly instituted together with the criminal
would be considered on official leave of absence, and that he would not receive any action.
payment for his services. The appearance of City Attorney Fule as private prosecutor
was questioned by the counsel for the accused, invoking the case of Aquino, et al. vs. In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that Asst. City Attorney Ariston D. Fule
Blanco, et al., may appear before the Justice of the Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna as
L-1532, Nov. 28, 1947, wherein it was ruled that "when an attorney had been appointed private prosecutor in this criminal case as an agent or a friend of the offended
to the position of Assistant Provincial Fiscal or City Fiscal and therein qualified, by party.
operation of law, he ceased to engage in private law practice." Counsel then argued that
the JP Court in entertaining the appearance of City Attorney Fule in the case is a WHEREFORE, the appeal from the order of the Justice of the Peace Court of
violation of the above ruling. On December 17, 1960 the JP issued an order sustaining Alaminos, Laguna, allowing the apprearance of Ariston D. Fule as private
the legality of the appearance of City Attorney Fule. prosecutor is dismissed, without costs.

Under date of January 4, 1961, counsel for the accused presented a "Motion to Inhibit The above decision is the subject of the instant proceeding.
Fiscal Fule from Acting as Private Prosecutor in this Case," this time invoking Section 32,
Rule 27, now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court, which bars certain attorneys The appeal should be dismissed, for patently being without merits. 1wph1.t

from practicing. Counsel claims that City Attorney Fule falls under this limitation. The JP
Court ruled on the motion by upholding the right of Fule to appear and further stating that Aside from the considerations advanced by the learned trial judge, heretofore
he (Fule) was not actually enagaged in private law practice. This Order was appealed to reproduced, and which we consider plausible, the fallacy of the theory of defense
counsel lies in his confused interpretation of Section 32 of Rule 127 (now Sec. 35, Rule RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner,
138, Revised Rules), which provides that "no judge or other official or employee of the vs.
superior courts or of the office of the Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON
a member of the bar or give professional advice to clients." He claims that City Attorney APPOINTMENT, and HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary of
Fule, in appearing as private prosecutor in the case was engaging in private practice. We Budget and Management, respondents.
believe that the isolated appearance of City Attorney Fule did not constitute private
practice within the meaning and contemplation of the Rules. Practice is more than an Renato L. Cayetano for and in his own behalf.
isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a succession of
acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs. Cotner, Sabina E. Acut, Jr. and Mylene Garcia-Albano co-counsel for petitioner.
127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of
statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the
public, as customarily and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E.
522, 98 N.C. 644, 647). The appearance as counsel on one occasion is not conclusive PARAS, J.:p
as determinative of engagement in the private practice of law. The following observation
of the Solicitor General is noteworthy:
We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. While ostensibly only
legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in this case would indubitably have a
Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented profound effect on the political aspect of our national existence.
himself to be in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that
his professional services are available to the public for a compensation, as a
The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C:
source of his livelihood or in consideration of his said services.
There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and
For one thing, it has never been refuted that City Attorney Fule had been given
six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines
permission by his immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to represent the
and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age,
complainant in the case at bar, who is a relative.
holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any
elective position in the immediately preceding -elections. However, a
CONFORMABLY WITH ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from should be, majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the
as it is hereby affirmed, in all respects, with costs against appellant.. Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least
ten years. (Emphasis supplied)
Bengzon, C.J., Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon,
J.P., and Zaldivar, JJ., concur. The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XII-C of the 1973
Bautista Angelo, J., took no part Constitution which similarly provides:

There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and


Republic of the Philippines eight Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the
SUPREME COURT time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age and holders of a college
Manila degree. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the
Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.'
(Emphasis supplied)
SECOND DIVISION

Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice


G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991
of law as a legal qualification to an appointive office.
Black defines "practice of law" as: for them in matters connected with the law incorporation services,
assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance
The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a
legal principles and technique to serve the interest of another with his creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and
consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and
the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings, and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the
other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done
the preparation of legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of
advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied)
them in matters connected with the law. An attorney engages in the
practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be-an Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work
attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an attorney, counseling performed outside of any court and having no immediate relation to
clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel about pending proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal
litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for services rendered by his advice on a large variety of subjects, and the preparation and execution
associate. (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.) of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust
relations and other affairs. Although these transactions may have no
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. (Land Title Abstract direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to
and Trust Co. v. Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N.E. 650) A person is also considered to become involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree
be in the practice of law when he: of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity
for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary
... for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to
firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under the law, or the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as
appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn between that
pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, part of the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and
body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle that part which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It
controversies and there, in such representative capacity performs any act is of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold
or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients customary functions be performed by persons possessed of adequate
under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times under
engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all attorneys.
law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666,
outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. (State citing In re Opinion of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted
ex. rel. Mckittrick v..C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852) in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A.
139,144). (Emphasis ours)
This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-
177) stated: The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation briefing for new
lawyers (1974-1975) listed the dimensions of the practice of law in even broader terms
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in as advocacy, counselling and public service.
court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident
to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of employment in
proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in the profession. If what he does exacts knowledge of the law and is of a
addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken kind usual for attorneys engaging in the active practice of their
profession, and he follows some one or more lines of employment such floor so that this interpretation may be made available whenever this
as this he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning of the statute. provision on the qualifications as regards members of the Philippine Bar
(Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312) engaging in the practice of law for at least ten years is taken up.

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one
law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. "To engage in the practice of question.
law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession. Generally, to
practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.
requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR 23)
MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA
The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it has adopted a by a lawyer is equivalent to the requirement of a law
liberal interpretation of the term "practice of law." practice that is set forth in the Article on the Commission
on Audit?
MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a
manifestation which I forgot to do during our review of the MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of
provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed COA, although it is auditing, will necessarily involve legal
to make a very brief statement? work; it will involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers
who are employed in COA now would have the necessary
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). qualifications in accordance with the Provision on
qualifications under our provisions on the Commission on
The Commissioner will please proceed. Audit. And, therefore, the answer is yes.

MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is
members of the Commission on Audit. Among others, the that this is equivalent to the practice of law.
qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must
be Members of the Philippine Bar" I am quoting from MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.
the provision "who have been engaged in the practice
of law for at least ten years". MR. OPLE. Thank you.

To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members ... ( Emphasis supplied)
of the Bar who are now employed in the COA or Commission on
Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this provision on Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among others, that the
qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer or Chairman and two Commissioners of the Commission on Audit (COA) should either be
involve actual practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this certified public accountants with not less than ten years of auditing practice, or members
to mean that as long as the lawyers who are employed in the COA are of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work within (emphasis supplied)
COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as
members or commissioners, even chairman, of the Commission on Audit. Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many ways synonymous
with the word "lawyer." Today, although many lawyers do not engage in private practice,
This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional it is still a fact that the majority of lawyers are private practitioners. (Gary
Commissions and Agencies and we deem it important to take it up on the Munneke, Opportunities in Law Careers [VGM Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p. 15).
At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, as commonly In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number
understood, means "an individual or organization engaged in the business of delivering of legal tasks, each involving different legal doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal
legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice alone are often called "sole practitioners." institutions, clients, and other interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers
Groups of lawyers are called "firms." The firm is usually a partnership and members of in specialized practice wig usually perform at least some legal services outside their
the firm are the partners. Some firms may be organized as professional corporations and specialty. And even within a narrow specialty such as tax practice, a lawyer will shift from
the members called shareholders. In either case, the members of the firm are the one legal task or role such as advice-giving to an importantly different one such as
experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more inexperienced salaried representing a client before an administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687).
attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.).
By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the
The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of law practice is relatively rare types a litigator who specializes in this work to the exclusion of much
essentially tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of law as that which lawyers do. else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer to have mastered the full range of
(Charles W. Wolfram, Modern Legal Ethics [West Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. traditional lawyer skills of client counselling, advice-giving, document drafting, and
593). The practice of law is defined as the performance of any acts . . . in or out of court, negotiation. And increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of evaluation and mediation
commonly understood to be the practice of law. (State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & are both effective for many clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.).
Trust Co., 145 Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958] [quoting Grievance Comm. v.
Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because lawyers perform almost every Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation work that is
function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would constrained in very important ways, at least theoretically, so as to remove from it some of
obviously be too global to be workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.). the salient features of adversarial litigation. Of these special roles, the most prominent is
that of prosecutor. In some lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both by the nature
The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once the most publicly of the client and by the way in which the lawyer is organized into a social unit to perform
familiar role for lawyers as well as an uncommon role for the average lawyer. Most that work. The most common of these roles are those of corporate practice and
lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, and a large percentage spend their entire government legal service. (Ibid.).
practice without litigating a case. (Ibid., p. 593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue
to litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors much of both the public image and the self In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, herein below quoted are
perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.). emerging trends in corporate law practice, a departure from the traditional concept of
practice of law.
In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind reflects history, not
reality. (Ibid.). Why is this so? Recall that the late Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary
once articulated on the importance of a lawyer as a business counselor in this wise: transformation in corporate law practice. Lawyers and other professional
"Even today, there are still uninformed laymen whose concept of an attorney is one who groups, in particular those members participating in various legal-policy
principally tries cases before the courts. The members of the bench and bar and the decisional contexts, are finding that understanding the major emerging
informed laymen such as businessmen, know that in most developed societies today, trends in corporation law is indispensable to intelligent decision-making.
substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices than in the courtrooms. General
practitioners of law who do both litigation and non-litigation work also know that in most Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today requires
cases they find themselves spending more time doing what [is] loosely desccribe[d] as an accurate understanding of the nature and implications of the corporate
business counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been described as law research function accompanied by an accelerating rate of information
the planner, the diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon. I[t] need not [be] accumulation. The recognition of the need for such improved corporate
stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, surgery should be avoided where internal medicine legal policy formulation, particularly "model-making" and "contingency
can be effective." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). planning," has impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional
procedures in many decisional contexts.
In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed, the attorneys employed by a single corporation will vary with the size and
sorting and weighing of significant conditional factors, the appraisal of type of the corporation. Many smaller and some large corporations farm
major trends, the necessity of estimating the consequences of given out all their legal problems to private law firms. Many others have in-
courses of action, and the need for fast decision and response in house counsel only for certain matters. Other corporation have a staff
situations of acute danger have prompted the use of sophisticated large enough to handle most legal problems in-house.
concepts of information flow theory, operational analysis, automatic data
processing, and electronic computing equipment. Understandably, an A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who handles
improved decisional structure must stress the predictive component of the legal affairs of a corporation. His areas of concern or jurisdiction may
the policy-making process, wherein a "model", of the decisional context include, inter alia: corporate legal research, tax laws research, acting out
or a segment thereof is developed to test projected alternative courses of as corporate secretary (in board meetings), appearances in both courts
action in terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom. and other adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities and Exchange
Commission), and in other capacities which require an ability to deal with
Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged in the law.
predicting and projecting the trends of the law, the subject of corporate
finance law has received relatively little organized and formalized At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other than
attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate legal education. the legal affairs of the business of the corporation he is
Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to legal research has become representing. These include such matters as determining policy and
a vital necessity. becoming involved in management. ( Emphasis supplied.)

Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by those In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being isolated
trained primarily in the law can be improved through an early introduction from the action, or not understanding how one's work actually fits into the
to multi-variable decisional context and the various approaches for work of the orgarnization. This can be frustrating to someone who needs
handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with either a master's or to see the results of his work first hand. In short, a corporate lawyer is
doctorate degree in business administration or management, functioning sometimes offered this fortune to be more closely involved in the running
at the legal policy level of decision-making now have some appreciation of the business.
for the concepts and analytical techniques of other professions which are
currently engaged in similar types of complex decision-making. Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged by
a multinational corporation (MNC). Some large MNCs provide one of the
Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems would few opportunities available to corporate lawyers to enter the international
require the services of an astute attorney because of the complex legal law field. After all, international law is practiced in a relatively small
implications that arise from each and every necessary step in securing number of companies and law firms. Because working in a foreign
and maintaining the business issue raised. (Business Star, "Corporate country is perceived by many as glamorous, tills is an area coveted by
Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). corporate lawyers. In most cases, however, the overseas jobs go to
experienced attorneys while the younger attorneys do their "international
In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously referred practice" in law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law Practice," May
to as the "abogado de campanilla." He is the "big-time" lawyer, earning 25,1990, p. 4).
big money and with a clientele composed of the tycoons and magnates of
business and industry. This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the realm of
finance. To borrow the lines of Harvard-educated lawyer Bruce
Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people could not Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot problems, a
explain what it is that a corporate lawyer does. For one, the number of good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent
lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with governmental
Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). policies toward the promotion and management of technology. New
collaborative arrangements for promoting specific technologies or
Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in the competitiveness more generally require approaches from industry that
arm," so to speak. No longer are we talking of the traditional law teaching differ from older, more adversarial relationships and traditional forms of
method of confining the subject study to the Corporation Code and the seeking to influence governmental policies. And there are lessons to be
Securities Code but an incursion as well into the intertwining modern learned from other countries. In Europe, Esprit, Eureka and Race are
management issues. examples of collaborative efforts between governmental and business
Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis supplied)
Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with three (3)
types of learning: (1) acquisition of insights into current advances which Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the Corporate
are of particular significance to the corporate counsel; (2) an introduction Counsel comprises a distinct group within the managerial structure of all
to usable disciplinary skins applicable to a corporate counsel's kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of both long-term and temporary
management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the organization and groups within organizations has been found to be related to indentifiable
management of the legal function itself. factors in the group-context interaction such as the groups actively
revising their knowledge of the environment coordinating work with
These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting circles, with outsiders, promoting team achievements within the organization. In
a shared area linking them. Otherwise known as "intersecting managerial general, such external activities are better predictors of team
jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme for the corporate counsel's total performance than internal group processes.
learning.
In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the corporate
Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the lawyer vis-a-vis the managerial mettle of corporations are challenged.
counsel's role. For that matter, the corporate lawyer reviews the Current research is seeking ways both to anticipate effective managerial
globalization process, including the resulting strategic repositioning that procedures and to understand relationships of financial liability and
the firms he provides counsel for are required to make, and the need to insurance considerations. (Emphasis supplied)
think about a corporation's; strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the
nation-state is being reduced as firms deal both with global multinational Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three factors
entities and simultaneously with sub-national governmental units. Firms are apropos:
increasingly collaborate not only with public entities but with each other
often with those who are competitors in other arenas. First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found
an effective tool for new managerial thinking regarding both planning and
Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making within the pressing immediate problems. An understanding of the role of feedback
corporation is rapidly changing. The modem corporate lawyer has gained loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable users to simulate all
a new role as a stakeholder in some cases participating in the sorts of systematic problems physical, economic, managerial, social,
organization and operations of governance through participation on and psychological. New programming techniques now make the system
boards and other decision-making roles. Often these new patterns dynamics principles more accessible to managers including corporate
develop alongside existing legal institutions and laws are perceived as counsels. (Emphasis supplied)
barriers. These trends are complicated as corporations organize for
global operations. ( Emphasis supplied) Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions
involving complexity and uncertainty. In the context of a law department,
it can be used to appraise the settlement value of litigation, aid in
negotiation settlement, and minimize the cost and risk involved in effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also gain a
managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis supplied) working knowledge of the management issues if only to be able to grasp
not only the basic legal "constitution' or makeup of the modem
Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based models corporation. "Business Star", "The Corporate Counsel," April 10, 1991, p.
can be used directly by parties and mediators in all lands of negotiations. 4).
All integrated set of such tools provide coherent and effective negotiation
support, including hands-on on instruction in these techniques. A The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to have more
simulation case of an international joint venture may be used to illustrate than a passing knowledge of financial law affecting each aspect of their
the point. work. Yet, many would admit to ignorance of vast tracts of the financial
law territory. What transpires next is a dilemma of professional security:
[Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk opprobrium?; or will he feign
function, concern three pointed areas of consideration, thus: understanding and risk exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance
law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that
comprise a major part of the general counsel's responsibilities. They differ Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the
from those of remedial law. Preventive lawyering is concerned with position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the Secretariat of the
minimizing the risks of legal trouble and maximizing legal rights for such Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination
legal entities at that time when transactional or similar facts are being because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having been
considered and made. engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod
undertaken those activities of the firm to which legal consequences as Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the
attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this nation's evolving same day, he assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC.
economic and organizational fabric as firms change to stay competitive in
a global, interdependent environment. The practice and theory of "law" is Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of
not adequate today to facilitate the relationships needed in trying to make Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant petition for
a global economy work. certiorari and Prohibition praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment
of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void.
Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. The
general counsel has emerged in the last decade as one of the most Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar
vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The corporate counsel hear examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He has been a dues paying member of
responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been
structuring its global operations, managing improved relationships with an paying his professional license fees as lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo)
increasingly diversified body of employees, managing expanded liability
exposure, creating new and varied interactions with public decision- After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod
makers, coping internally with more complex make or by decisions. worked in the law office of his father. During his stint in the World Bank Group (1963-
1970), Monsod worked as an operations officer for about two years in Costa Rica and
This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing corporate law is Panama, which involved getting acquainted with the laws of member-countries
not enough to make one a good general corporate counsel nor to give negotiating loans and coordinating legal, economic, and project work of the Bank. Upon
him a full sense of how the legal system shapes corporate activities. And returning to the Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco Group, served as chief
even if the corporate lawyer's aim is not the understand all of the law's executive officer of an investment bank and subsequently of a business conglomerate,
and since 1986, has rendered services to various companies as a legal and economic paper, entitled "Wanted: Development Lawyers for Developing Nations,"
consultant or chief executive officer. As former Secretary-General (1986) and National submitted by L. Michael Hager, regional legal adviser of the United States
Chairman (1987) of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in election Agency for International Development, during the Session on Law for the
law. He appeared for NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the Development of Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory Coast,
field of advocacy, Monsod, in his personal capacity and as former Co-Chairman of the sponsored by the World Peace Through Law Center on August 26-31,
Bishops Businessmen's Conference for Human Development, has worked with the 1973). ( Emphasis supplied)
under privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor groups, in initiating,
lobbying for and engaging in affirmative action for the agrarian reform law and lately the Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than purely
urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use of his legal knowledge as a member of the renegotiation policies, demand expertise in the law of contracts, in
Davide Commission, a quasi-judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings (1990) legislation and agreement drafting and in renegotiation. Necessarily, a
and as a member of the Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and Chairman of its sovereign lawyer may work with an international business specialist or an
Committee on Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited by the President economist in the formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt
of the Commission, Justice Cecilia Muoz-Palma for "innumerable amendments to restructuring contract agreements contain such a mixture of technical
reconcile government functions with individual freedoms and public accountability and language that they should be carefully drafted and signed only with the
the party-list system for the House of Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis advise of competent counsel in conjunction with the guidance of
supplied) adequate technical support personnel. (See International Law Aspects of
the Philippine External Debts, an unpublished dissertation, U.S.T.
Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. Monsod used to be a Graduate School of Law, 1987, p. 321). ( Emphasis supplied)
member.
A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract construction is
In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a team, the set of terms and conditions which determines the contractual
and which is adequately constituted to meet the various contingencies remedies for a failure to perform one or more elements of the contract. A
that arise during a negotiation. Besides top officials of the Borrower good agreement must not only define the responsibilities of both parties,
concerned, there are the legal officer (such as the legal counsel), the but must also state the recourse open to either party when the other fails
finance manager, and an operations officer (such as an official involved to discharge an obligation. For a compleat debt restructuring represents a
in negotiating the contracts) who comprise the members of the team. devotion to that principle which in the ultimate analysis is sine qua non for
(Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan Negotiating Strategies for Developing foreign loan agreements-an adherence to the rule of law in domestic and
Country Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the Philippines, international affairs of whose kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver
Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Emphasis supplied) Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry no banners, they beat no
drums; but where they are, men learn that bustle and bush are not the
After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Constitution; it lays equal of quiet genius and serene mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The
down the law as far as the loan transaction is concerned. Thus, the meat Role of Lawyers in Foreign Investments," Integrated Bar of the Philippine
of any Loan Agreement can be compartmentalized into five (5) Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth Quarters, 1977, p. 265).
fundamental parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's representation; (3)
conditions of closing; (4) covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p. Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of law". particularly
13). the modern concept of law practice, and taking into consideration the liberal construction
intended by the framers of the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a
In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt restructuring lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-
program. For aside from performing the tasks of legislative drafting and negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor verily
legal advising, they score national development policies as key factors in more than satisfy the constitutional requirement that he has been engaged in the
maintaining their countries' sovereignty. (Condensed from the work practice of law for at least ten years.
Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any
Court said: vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no
case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or
Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be performed acting capacity.
by the officer in which it is vested according to his best lights, the only
condition being that the appointee should possess the qualifications Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say that his
required by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot be faulted on definition of the practice of law is the traditional or stereotyped notion of
the ground that there are others better qualified who should have been law practice, as distinguished from the modern concept of the practice of
preferred. This is a political question involving considerations of wisdom law, which modern connotation is exactly what was intended by the
which only the appointing authority can decide. (emphasis supplied) eminent framers of the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, Justice Padilla's
definition would require generally a habitual law practice, perhaps
No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central Bank v. Civil Service practised two or three times a week and would outlaw say, law practice
Commission, 171 SCRA 744) where it stated: once or twice a year for ten consecutive years. Clearly, this is far from the
constitutional intent.
It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, and
all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the Commission has no Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz states that in my
alternative but to attest to the appointment in accordance with the Civil written opinion, I made use of a definition of law practice which really means nothing
Service Law. The Commission has no authority to revoke an appointment because the definition says that law practice " . . . is what people ordinarily mean by the
on the ground that another person is more qualified for a particular practice of law." True I cited the definition but only by way of sarcasm as evident from my
position. It also has no authority to direct the appointment of a substitute statement that the definition of law practice by "traditional areas of law practice is
of its choice. To do so would be an encroachment on the discretion essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase by means of the phrase itself that is being
vested upon the appointing authority. An appointment is essentially within defined.
the discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, subject to the only
condition that the appointee should possess the qualifications required by Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers almost all situations,
law. ( Emphasis supplied) most individuals, in making use of the law, or in advising others on what the law means,
are actually practicing law. In that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact
The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at bar, consists of four that Mr. Monsod is a lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been practising
(4) stages: (1) nomination; (2) confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; (3) law for over ten years. This is different from the acts of persons practising law, without
issuance of a commission (in the Philippines, upon submission by the Commission on first becoming lawyers.
Appointments of its certificate of confirmation, the President issues the permanent
appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-taking, posting of bond, etc. . . . (Lacson v. Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an elected President
Romero, No. L-3081, October 14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on Public Officers, p. 200) of the Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks one or more qualifications. This
matter, I greatly doubt. For one thing, how can an action or petition be brought against
The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to the nomination of the President? And even assuming that he is indeed disqualified, how can the action be
Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections is mandated by Section 1(2) Sub- entertained since he is the incumbent President?
Article C, Article IX of the Constitution which provides:
We now proceed:
The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the President
with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on
years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members Monsod's confirmation, implicitly determined that he possessed the necessary
shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last qualifications as required by law. The judgment rendered by the Commission in the
exercise of such an acknowledged power is beyond judicial interference except only flow from his veins?" The procurator was clearly relying on the letter, not the spirit of the
upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of agreement.
jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such grave abuse of
discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's judgment. In In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby DISMISSED.
the instant case, there is no occasion for the exercise of the Court's corrective power,
since no abuse, much less a grave abuse of discretion, that would amount to lack or SO ORDERED.
excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for has been
clearly shown. Fernan, C.J., Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

Additionally, consider the following: Feliciano, J., I certify that he voted to dismiss the petition. (Fernan, C.J.)

(1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the Sarmiento, J., is on leave.
President, may the Supreme Court reverse the Commission, and thus in
effect confirm the appointment? Clearly, the answer is in the negative. Regalado, and Davide, Jr., J., took no part.

(2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the
Commission has confirmed? The answer is likewise clear.
epublic of the Philippines
(3) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in the U.S. SUPREME COURT
Congress) decides to confirm a Presidential nominee, it would be Manila
incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would still reverse the U.S.
Senate.
EN BANC

Finally, one significant legal maxim is:

We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that giveth
Bar Matter No. 553 June 17, 1993
life.
MAURICIO C. ULEP, petitioner,
Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked
vs.
Delilah (who was Samson's beloved) for help in capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC., respondent.
condition that
R E SO L U T I O N
No blade shall touch his skin;

No blood shall flow from his veins.


REGALADO, J.:
When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the procurator placed an iron
rod burning white-hot two or three inches away from in front of Samson's eyes. This
Petitioner prays this Court "to order the respondent to cease and desist from issuing
blinded the man. Upon hearing of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah was beside
advertisements similar to or of the same tenor as that of annexes "A" and "B" (of said
herself with anger, and fuming with righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on
his word. The procurator calmly replied: "Did any blade touch his skin? Did any blood
petition) and to perpetually prohibit persons or entities from making advertisements the rendering of "legal support services" through paralegals with the use of modern
pertaining to the exercise of the law profession other than those allowed by law." computers and electronic machines. Respondent further argues that assuming that the
services advertised are legal services, the act of advertising these services should be
The advertisements complained of by herein petitioner are as follows: allowed supposedly
in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van O'Steen vs. State Bar of
Annex A Arizona, 2 reportedly decided by the United States Supreme Court on June 7, 1977.

SECRET MARRIAGE? Considering the critical implications on the legal profession of the issues raised herein,
P560.00 for a valid marriage. we required the (1) Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), (2) Philippine Bar Association
Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. (PBA), (3) Philippine Lawyers' Association (PLA), (4) U.P. Womens Lawyers' Circle
ANNULMENT. VISA. (WILOCI), (5) Women Lawyers Association of the Philippines (WLAP), and (6)
Federacion International de Abogadas (FIDA) to submit their respective position papers
THE Please call: 521-0767 LEGAL 5217232, 5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 on the controversy and, thereafter, their memoranda. 3 The said bar associations readily
am 6:00 pm 7-Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Mla. responded and extended their valuable services and cooperation of which this Court takes
note with appreciation and gratitude.
Annex B
The main issues posed for resolution before the Court are whether or not the services
offered by respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., as advertised by it constitutes practice of
GUAM DIVORCE.
law and, in either case, whether the same can properly be the subject of the
advertisements herein complained of.
DON PARKINSON
Before proceeding with an in-depth analysis of the merits of this case, we deem it proper
an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through
and enlightening to present hereunder excerpts from the respective position papers
The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to Friday during office hours.
adopted by the aforementioned bar associations and the memoranda submitted by them
on the issues involved in this bar matter.
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext.
Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special Retiree's Visa. Declaration of Absence.
1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines:
Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil.
US/Foreign Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children. Call Marivic.
xxx xxx xxx
THE 7F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave., LEGAL Ermita, Manila nr. US
Notwithstanding the subtle manner by which respondent endeavored to
Embassy CLINIC, INC. 1 Tel. 521-7232; 521-7251; 522-2041; 521-0767
distinguish the two terms, i.e., "legal support services" vis-a-vis "legal
services", common sense would readily dictate that the same are
It is the submission of petitioner that the advertisements above reproduced are
essentially without substantial distinction. For who could deny that
champterous, unethical, demeaning of the law profession, and destructive of the
document search, evidence gathering, assistance to layman in need of
confidence of the community in the integrity of the members of the bar and that, as a
basic institutional services from government or non-government agencies
member of the legal profession, he is ashamed and offended by the said advertisements,
like birth, marriage, property, or business registration, obtaining
hence the reliefs sought in his petition as hereinbefore quoted.
documents like clearance, passports, local or foreign visas, constitutes
practice of law?
In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the fact of publication of said
advertisement at its instance, but claims that it is not engaged in the practice of law but in
xxx xxx xxx
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) does not wish to make issue whatever doubt may still remain as to the nature of the service or
with respondent's foreign citations. Suffice it to state that the IBP has services being offered.
made its position manifest, to wit, that it strongly opposes the view
espoused by respondent (to the effect that today it is alright to advertise It thus becomes irrelevant whether respondent is merely offering "legal
one's legal services). support services" as claimed by it, or whether it offers legal services as
any lawyer actively engaged in law practice does. And it becomes
The IBP accordingly declares in no uncertain terms its opposition to unnecessary to make a distinction between "legal services" and "legal
respondent's act of establishing a "legal clinic" and of concomitantly support services," as the respondent would have it. The advertisements
advertising the same through newspaper publications. in question leave no room for doubt in the minds of the reading public
that legal services are being offered by lawyers, whether true or not.
The IBP would therefore invoke the administrative supervision of this
Honorable Court to perpetually restrain respondent from undertaking B. The advertisements in question are meant to induce the performance
highly unethical activities in the field of law practice as aforedescribed. 4 of acts contrary to law, morals, public order and public policy.

xxx xxx xxx It may be conceded that, as the respondent claims, the advertisements in
question are only meant to inform the general public of the services being
A. The use of the name "The Legal Clinic, Inc." gives the impression that offered by it. Said advertisements, however, emphasize to Guam divorce,
respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers and that it renders and any law student ought to know that under the Family Code, there is
legal services. only one instance when a foreign divorce is recognized, and that is:

While the respondent repeatedly denies that it offers legal services to the Article 26. . . .
public, the advertisements in question give the impression that
respondent is offering legal services. The Petition in fact simply assumes Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a
this to be so, as earlier mentioned, apparently because this (is) the effect foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter
that the advertisements have on the reading public. validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating
him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have
The impression created by the advertisements in question can be traced, capacity to remarry under Philippine Law.
first of all, to the very name being used by respondent "The Legal
Clinic, Inc." Such a name, it is respectfully submitted connotes the It must not be forgotten, too, that the Family Code (defines) a marriage
rendering of legal services for legal problems, just like a medical clinic as follows:
connotes medical services for medical problems. More importantly, the
term "Legal Clinic" connotes lawyers, as the term medical clinic connotes Article 1. Marriage is special contract of permanent
doctors. union between a man and woman entered into
accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and
Furthermore, the respondent's name, as published in the advertisements family life. It is the foundation of the family and an
subject of the present case, appears with (the) scale(s) of justice, which inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences,
all the more reinforces the impression that it is being operated by and incidents are governed by law and not subject to
members of the bar and that it offers legal services. In addition, the stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the
advertisements in question appear with a picture and name of a person property relation during the marriage within the limits
being represented as a lawyer from Guam, and this practically removes provided by this Code.
By simply reading the questioned advertisements, it is obvious that the are contrary to law, morals, good customs and the public good, thereby
message being conveyed is that Filipinos can avoid the legal destroying and demeaning the integrity of the Bar.
consequences of a marriage celebrated in accordance with our law, by
simply going to Guam for a divorce. This is not only misleading, but xxx xxx xxx
encourages, or serves to induce, violation of Philippine law. At the very
least, this can be considered "the dark side" of legal practice, where It is respectfully submitted that respondent should be enjoined from
certain defects in Philippine laws are exploited for the sake of profit. At causing the publication of the advertisements in question, or any other
worst, this is outright malpractice. advertisements similar thereto. It is also submitted that respondent
should be prohibited from further performing or offering some of the
Rule 1.02. A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities services it presently offers, or, at the very least, from offering such
aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in services to the public in general.
the legal system.
The IBP is aware of the fact that providing computerized legal research,
In addition, it may also be relevant to point out that advertisements such electronic data gathering, storage and retrieval, standardized legal forms,
as that shown in Annex "A" of the Petition, which contains a cartoon of a investigators for gathering of evidence, and like services will greatly
motor vehicle with the words "Just Married" on its bumper and seems to benefit the legal profession and should not be stifled but instead
address those planning a "secret marriage," if not suggesting a "secret encouraged. However, when the conduct of such business by non-
marriage," makes light of the "special contract of permanent union," the members of the Bar encroaches upon the practice of law, there can be no
inviolable social institution," which is how the Family Code describes choice but to prohibit such business.
marriage, obviously to emphasize its sanctity and inviolability. Worse, this
particular advertisement appears to encourage marriages celebrated in Admittedly, many of the services involved in the case at bar can be better
secrecy, which is suggestive of immoral publication of applications for a performed by specialists in other fields, such as computer experts, who
marriage license. by reason of their having devoted time and effort exclusively to such field
cannot fulfill the exacting requirements for admission to the Bar. To
If the article "Rx for Legal Problems" is to be reviewed, it can readily be prohibit them from "encroaching" upon the legal profession will deny the
concluded that the above impressions one may gather from the profession of the great benefits and advantages of modern technology.
advertisements in question are accurate. The Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Indeed, a lawyer using a computer will be doing better than a lawyer
Concepcion example alone confirms what the advertisements suggest. using a typewriter, even if both are (equal) in skill.
Here it can be seen that criminal acts are being encouraged or
committed Both the Bench and the Bar, however, should be careful not to allow or
(a bigamous marriage in Hong Kong or Las Vegas) with impunity simply tolerate the illegal practice of law in any form, not only for the protection
because the jurisdiction of Philippine courts does not extend to the place of members of the Bar but also, and more importantly, for the protection
where the crime is committed. of the public. Technological development in the profession may be
encouraged without tolerating, but instead ensuring prevention of illegal
Even if it be assumed, arguendo, (that) the "legal support services" practice.
respondent offers do not constitute legal services as commonly
understood, the advertisements in question give the impression that There might be nothing objectionable if respondent is allowed to perform
respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers and that it offers all of its services, but only if such services are made available exclusively
legal services, as earlier discussed. Thus, the only logical consequence to members of the Bench and Bar. Respondent would then be offering
is that, in the eyes of an ordinary newspaper reader, members of the bar technical assistance, not legal services. Alternatively, the more difficult
themselves are encouraging or inducing the performance of acts which task of carefully distinguishing between which service may be offered to
the public in general and which should be made available exclusively to "The Legal Clinic, Inc.," and soliciting employment for its enumerated
members of the Bar may be undertaken. This, however, may require services fall within the realm of a practice which thus yields itself to the
further proceedings because of the factual considerations involved. regulatory powers of the Supreme Court. For respondent to say that it is
merely engaged in paralegal work is to stretch credulity. Respondent's
It must be emphasized, however, that some of respondent's services own commercial advertisement which announces a certain Atty. Don
ought to be prohibited outright, such as acts which tend to suggest or Parkinson to be handling the fields of law belies its pretense. From all
induce celebration abroad of marriages which are bigamous or otherwise indications, respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." is offering and
illegal and void under Philippine law. While respondent may not be rendering legal services through its reserve of lawyers. It has been held
prohibited from simply disseminating information regarding such matters, that the practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court, but
it must be required to include, in the information given, a disclaimer that it includes drawing of deeds, incorporation, rendering opinions, and
is not authorized to practice law, that certain course of action may be advising clients as to their legal right and then take them to an attorney
illegal under Philippine law, that it is not authorized or capable of and ask the latter to look after their case in court See Martin, Legal and
rendering a legal opinion, that a lawyer should be consulted before Judicial Ethics, 1984 ed., p. 39).
deciding on which course of action to take, and that it cannot recommend
any particular lawyer without subjecting itself to possible sanctions for It is apt to recall that only natural persons can engage in the practice of
illegal practice of law. law, and such limitation cannot be evaded by a corporation employing
competent lawyers to practice for it. Obviously, this is the scheme or
If respondent is allowed to advertise, advertising should be directed device by which respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." holds out itself to the
exclusively at members of the Bar, with a clear and unmistakable public and solicits employment of its legal services. It is an odious
disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law or perform legal vehicle for deception, especially so when the public cannot ventilate any
services. grievance for malpractice against the business conduit. Precisely, the
limitation of practice of law to persons who have been duly admitted as
The benefits of being assisted by paralegals cannot be ignored. But members of the Bar (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court) is to
nobody should be allowed to represent himself as a "paralegal" for profit, subject the members to the discipline of the Supreme Court. Although
without such term being clearly defined by rule or regulation, and without respondent uses its business name, the persons and the lawyers who act
any adequate and effective means of regulating his activities. Also, law for it are subject to court discipline. The practice of law is not a profession
practice in a corporate form may prove to be advantageous to the legal open to all who wish to engage in it nor can it be assigned to another
profession, but before allowance of such practice may be considered, the (See 5 Am. Jur. 270). It is a personal right limited to persons who have
corporation's Article of Incorporation and By-laws must conform to each qualified themselves under the law. It follows that not only respondent but
and every provision of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the also all the persons who are acting for respondent are the persons
Rules of Court. 5 engaged in unethical law practice. 6

2. Philippine Bar Association: 3. Philippine Lawyers' Association:

xxx xxx xxx. The Philippine Lawyers' Association's position, in answer to the issues
stated herein, are wit:
Respondent asserts that it "is not engaged in the practice of law but
engaged in giving legal support services to lawyers and laymen, through 1. The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law;
experienced paralegals, with the use of modern computers and electronic
machines" (pars. 2 and 3, Comment). This is absurd. Unquestionably, 2. Such practice is unauthorized;
respondent's acts of holding out itself to the public under the trade name
3. The advertisements complained of are not only unethical, but also At present, becoming a lawyer requires one to take a rigorous four-year
misleading and patently immoral; and course of study on top of a four-year bachelor of arts or sciences course
and then to take and pass the bar examinations. Only then, is a lawyer
4. The Honorable Supreme Court has the power to supress and punish qualified to practice law.
the Legal Clinic and its corporate officers for its unauthorized practice of
law and for its unethical, misleading and immoral advertising. While the use of a paralegal is sanctioned in many jurisdiction as an aid
to the administration of justice, there are in those jurisdictions, courses of
xxx xxx xxx study and/or standards which would qualify these paralegals to deal with
the general public as such. While it may now be the opportune time to
Respondent posits that is it not engaged in the practice of law. It claims establish these courses of study and/or standards, the fact remains that
that it merely renders "legal support services" to answers, litigants and at present, these do not exist in the Philippines. In the meantime, this
the general public as enunciated in the Primary Purpose Clause of its Honorable Court may decide to make measures to protect the general
Article(s) of Incorporation. (See pages 2 to 5 of Respondent's Comment). public from being exploited by those who may be dealing with the general
But its advertised services, as enumerated above, clearly and public in the guise of being "paralegals" without being qualified to do so.
convincingly show that it is indeed engaged in law practice, albeit outside
of court. In the same manner, the general public should also be protected from the
dangers which may be brought about by advertising of legal services.
As advertised, it offers the general public its advisory services on While it appears that lawyers are prohibited under the present Code of
Persons and Family Relations Law, particularly regarding foreign Professional Responsibility from advertising, it appears in the instant
divorces, annulment of marriages, secret marriages, absence and case that legal services are being advertised not by lawyers but by an
adoption; Immigration Laws, particularly on visa related problems, entity staffed by "paralegals." Clearly, measures should be taken to
immigration problems; the Investments Law of the Philippines and such protect the general public from falling prey to those who advertise legal
other related laws. services without being qualified to offer such services. 8

Its advertised services unmistakably require the application of the A perusal of the questioned advertisements of Respondent, however, seems
aforesaid law, the legal principles and procedures related thereto, the to give the impression that information regarding validity of marriages,
legal advices based thereon and which activities call for legal training, divorce, annulment of marriage, immigration, visa extensions, declaration of
knowledge and experience. absence, adoption and foreign investment, which are in essence, legal
matters , will be given to them if they avail of its services. The Respondent's
name The Legal Clinic, Inc. does not help matters. It gives the
Applying the test laid down by the Court in the aforecited Agrava Case,
impression again that Respondent will or can cure the legal problems
the activities of respondent fall squarely and are embraced in what brought to them. Assuming that Respondent is, as claimed, staffed purely by
lawyers and laymen equally term as "the practice of law." 7 paralegals, it also gives the misleading impression that there are lawyers
involved in The Legal Clinic, Inc., as there are doctors in any medical clinic,
4. U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle: when only "paralegals" are involved in The Legal Clinic, Inc.

In resolving, the issues before this Honorable Court, paramount Respondent's allegations are further belied by the very admissions of its
consideration should be given to the protection of the general public from President and majority stockholder, Atty. Nogales, who gave an insight on
the danger of being exploited by unqualified persons or entities who may the structure and main purpose of Respondent corporation in the
be engaged in the practice of law. aforementioned "Starweek" article." 9

5. Women Lawyer's Association of the Philippines:


Annexes "A" and "B" of the petition are clearly advertisements to solicit xxx xxx xxx
cases for the purpose of gain which, as provided for under the above
cited law, (are) illegal and against the Code of Professional Responsibility 1.7 That entities admittedly not engaged in the practice of law, such as
of lawyers in this country. management consultancy firms or travel agencies, whether run by
lawyers or not, perform the services rendered by Respondent does not
Annex "A" of the petition is not only illegal in that it is an advertisement to necessarily lead to the conclusion that Respondent is not unlawfully
solicit cases, but it is illegal in that in bold letters it announces that the practicing law. In the same vein, however, the fact that the business of
Legal Clinic, Inc., could work out/cause the celebration of a secret respondent (assuming it can be engaged in independently of the practice
marriage which is not only illegal but immoral in this country. While it is of law) involves knowledge of the law does not necessarily make
advertised that one has to go to said agency and pay P560 for a valid respondent guilty of unlawful practice of law.
marriage it is certainly fooling the public for valid marriages in the
Philippines are solemnized only by officers authorized to do so under the . . . . Of necessity, no one . . . . acting as a consultant can
law. And to employ an agency for said purpose of contracting marriage is render effective service unless he is familiar with such
not necessary. statutes and regulations. He must be careful not to
suggest a course of conduct which the law forbids. It
No amount of reasoning that in the USA, Canada and other countries the seems . . . .clear that (the consultant's) knowledge of the
trend is towards allowing lawyers to advertise their special skills to enable law, and his use of that knowledge as a factor in
people to obtain from qualified practitioners legal services for their determining what measures he shall recommend, do not
particular needs can justify the use of advertisements such as are the constitute the practice of law . . . . It is not only presumed
subject matter of the petition, for one (cannot) justify an illegal act even that all men know the law, but it is a fact that most men
by whatever merit the illegal act may serve. The law has yet to be have considerable acquaintance with broad features of
amended so that such act could become justifiable. the law . . . . Our knowledge of the law accurate or
inaccurate moulds our conduct not only when we are
We submit further that these advertisements that seem to project that acting for ourselves, but when we are serving others.
secret marriages and divorce are possible in this country for a fee, when Bankers, liquor dealers and laymen generally possess
in fact it is not so, are highly reprehensible. rather precise knowledge of the laws touching their
particular business or profession. A good example is the
It would encourage people to consult this clinic about how they could go architect, who must be familiar with zoning, building and
about having a secret marriage here, when it cannot nor should ever be fire prevention codes, factory and tenement house
attempted, and seek advice on divorce, where in this country there is statutes, and who draws plans and specification in
none, except under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws in the Philippines. harmony with the law. This is not practicing law.
It is also against good morals and is deceitful because it falsely
represents to the public to be able to do that which by our laws cannot be But suppose the architect, asked by his client to omit a
done (and) by our Code of Morals should not be done. fire tower, replies that it is required by the statute. Or the
industrial relations expert cites, in support of some
In the case (of) In re Taguda, 53 Phil. 37, the Supreme Court held that measure that he recommends, a decision of the National
solicitation for clients by an attorney by circulars of advertisements, is Labor Relations Board. Are they practicing law? In my
unprofessional, and offenses of this character justify permanent opinion, they are not, provided no separate fee is charged
elimination from the Bar. 10 for the legal advice or information, and the legal question
is subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal
6. Federacion Internacional de Abogados: problem.
It is largely a matter of degree and of custom. lines. The law only provides the frame within which he
must work, just as the zoning code limits the kind of
If it were usual for one intending to erect a building on his building the limits the kind of building the architect may
land to engage a lawyer to advise him and the architect in plan. The incidental legal advice or information defendant
respect to the building code and the like, then an architect may give, does not transform his activities into the
who performed this function would probably be practice of law. Let me add that if, even as a minor
considered to be trespassing on territory reserved for feature of his work, he performed services which are
licensed attorneys. Likewise, if the industrial relations field customarily reserved to members of the bar, he would be
had been pre-empted by lawyers, or custom placed a practicing law. For instance, if as part of a welfare
lawyer always at the elbow of the lay personnel man. But program, he drew employees' wills.
this is not the case. The most important body of the
industrial relations experts are the officers and business Another branch of defendant's work is the representations
agents of the labor unions and few of them are lawyers. of the employer in the adjustment of grievances and in
Among the larger corporate employers, it has been the collective bargaining, with or without a mediator. This is
practice for some years to delegate special responsibility not per se the practice of law. Anyone may use an agent
in employee matters to a management group chosen for for negotiations and may select an agent particularly
their practical knowledge and skill in such matter, and skilled in the subject under discussion, and the person
without regard to legal thinking or lack of it. More recently, appointed is free to accept the employment whether or
consultants like the defendants have the same service not he is a member of the bar. Here, however, there may
that the larger employers get from their own specialized be an exception where the business turns on a question
staff. of law. Most real estate sales are negotiated by brokers
who are not lawyers. But if the value of the land depends
The handling of industrial relations is growing into a on a disputed right-of-way and the principal role of the
recognized profession for which appropriate courses are negotiator is to assess the probable outcome of the
offered by our leading universities. The court should be dispute and persuade the opposite party to the same
very cautious about declaring [that] a widespread, well- opinion, then it may be that only a lawyer can accept the
established method of conducting business is unlawful, or assignment. Or if a controversy between an employer and
that the considerable class of men who customarily his men grows from differing interpretations of a contract,
perform a certain function have no right to do so, or that or of a statute, it is quite likely that defendant should not
the technical education given by our schools cannot be handle it. But I need not reach a definite conclusion here,
used by the graduates in their business. since the situation is not presented by the proofs.

In determining whether a man is practicing law, we should Defendant also appears to represent the employer before
consider his work for any particular client or customer, as administrative agencies of the federal government,
a whole. I can imagine defendant being engaged primarily especially before trial examiners of the National Labor
to advise as to the law defining his client's obligations to Relations Board. An agency of the federal government,
his employees, to guide his client's obligations to his acting by virtue of an authority granted by the Congress,
employees, to guide his client along the path charted by may regulate the representation of parties before such
law. This, of course, would be the practice of the law. But agency. The State of New Jersey is without power to
such is not the fact in the case before me. Defendant's interfere with such determination or to forbid
primarily efforts are along economic and psychological representation before the agency by one whom the
agency admits. The rules of the National Labor Relations 1.10. In the present case. the Legal Clinic appears to render wedding
Board give to a party the right to appear in person, or by services (See Annex "A" Petition). Services on routine, straightforward
counsel, or by other representative. Rules and marriages, like securing a marriage license, and making arrangements
Regulations, September 11th, 1946, S. 203.31. 'Counsel' with a priest or a judge, may not constitute practice of law. However, if the
here means a licensed attorney, and ther representative' problem is as complicated as that described in "Rx for Legal Problems"
one not a lawyer. In this phase of his work, defendant on the Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion-Richard Gomez case, then
may lawfully do whatever the Labor Board allows, even what may be involved is actually the practice of law. If a non-lawyer, such
arguing questions purely legal. (Auerbacher v. Wood, 53 as the Legal Clinic, renders such services then it is engaged in the
A. 2d 800, cited in Statsky, Introduction to Paralegalism unauthorized practice of law.
[1974], at pp. 154-156.).
1.11. The Legal Clinic also appears to give information on divorce,
1.8 From the foregoing, it can be said that a person engaged in a lawful absence, annulment of marriage and visas (See Annexes "A" and "B"
calling (which may involve knowledge of the law) is not engaged in the Petition). Purely giving informational materials may not constitute of law.
practice of law provided that: The business is similar to that of a bookstore where the customer buys
materials on the subject and determines on the subject and determines
(a) The legal question is subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal by himself what courses of action to take.
problem;.
It is not entirely improbable, however, that aside from purely giving
(b) The services performed are not customarily reserved to members of information, the Legal Clinic's paralegals may apply the law to the
the bar; . particular problem of the client, and give legal advice. Such would
constitute unauthorized practice of law.
(c) No separate fee is charged for the legal advice or information.
It cannot be claimed that the publication of a legal text
All these must be considered in relation to the work for any particular which publication of a legal text which purports to say
client as a whole. what the law is amount to legal practice. And the mere
fact that the principles or rules stated in the text may be
1.9. If the person involved is both lawyer and non-lawyer, the Code of accepted by a particular reader as a solution to his
Professional Responsibility succintly states the rule of conduct: problem does not affect this. . . . . Apparently it is urged
that the conjoining of these two, that is, the text and the
Rule 15.08 A lawyer who is engaged in another profession or forms, with advice as to how the forms should be filled
occupation concurrently with the practice of law shall make clear to his out, constitutes the unlawful practice of law. But that is the
client whether he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity. situation with many approved and accepted texts. Dacey's
book is sold to the public at large. There is no personal
contact or relationship with a particular individual. Nor
does there exist that relation of confidence and trust so
necessary to the status of attorney and client. THIS IS
THE ESSENTIAL OF LEGAL PRACTICE THE
REPRESENTATION AND ADVISING OF A PARTICULAR
PERSON IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION. At most the
book assumes to offer general advice on common
problems, and does not purport to give personal advice
on a specific problem peculiar to a designated or readily 2.10. Annex "A" may be ethically objectionable in that it can give the
identified person. Similarly the defendant's publication impression (or perpetuate the wrong notion) that there is a secret
does not purport to give personal advice on a specific marriage. With all the solemnities, formalities and other requisites of
problem peculiar to a designated or readily identified marriages (See Articles 2, et seq., Family Code), no Philippine marriage
person in a particular situation in their publication and can be secret.
sale of the kits, such publication and sale did not
constitutes the unlawful practice of law . . . . There being 2.11. Annex "B" may likewise be ethically objectionable. The second
no legal impediment under the statute to the sale of the paragraph thereof (which is not necessarily related to the first paragraph)
kit, there was no proper basis for the injunction against fails to state the limitation that only "paralegal services?" or "legal support
defendant maintaining an office for the purpose of selling services", and not legal services, are available." 11
to persons seeking a divorce, separation, annulment or
separation agreement any printed material or writings A prefatory discussion on the meaning of the phrase "practice of law" becomes exigent
relating to matrimonial law or the prohibition in the for the proper determination of the issues raised by the petition at bar. On this score, we
memorandum of modification of the judgment against note that the clause "practice of law" has long been the subject of judicial construction
defendant having an interest in any publishing house and interpretation. The courts have laid down general principles and doctrines explaining
publishing his manuscript on divorce and against his the meaning and scope of the term, some of which we now take into account.
having any personal contact with any prospective
purchaser. The record does fully support, however, the Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of
finding that for the change of $75 or $100 for the kit, the law, legal procedures, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of
defendant gave legal advice in the course of personal law is to perform those acts which are characteristic of the profession. Generally, to
contacts concerning particular problems which might arise practice law is to give advice or render any kind of service that involves legal knowledge
in the preparation and presentation of the purchaser's or skill. 12
asserted matrimonial cause of action or pursuit of other
legal remedies and assistance in the preparation of The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. It includes legal advice
necessary documents (The injunction therefore sought to) and counsel, and the preparation of legal instruments and contract by which legal rights
enjoin conduct constituting the practice of law, particularly are secured, although such matter may or may not be pending in a court. 13
with reference to the giving of advice and counsel by the
defendant relating to specific problems of particular
In the practice of his profession, a licensed attorney at law generally engages in three
individuals in connection with a divorce, separation,
principal types of professional activity: legal advice and instructions to clients to inform
annulment of separation agreement sought and should be
them of their rights and obligations, preparation for clients of documents requiring
affirmed. (State v. Winder, 348, NYS 2D 270 [1973], cited
knowledge of legal principles not possessed by ordinary layman, and appearance for
in Statsky, supra at p. 101.).
clients before public tribunals which possess power and authority to determine rights of
life, liberty, and property according to law, in order to assist in proper interpretation and
1.12. Respondent, of course, states that its services are "strictly non- enforcement of law. 14
diagnostic, non-advisory. "It is not controverted, however, that if the
services "involve giving legal advice or counselling," such would
When a person participates in the a trial and advertises himself as a lawyer, he is in the
constitute practice of law (Comment, par. 6.2). It is in this light that FIDA
practice of law. 15 One who confers with clients, advises them as to their legal rights and then
submits that a factual inquiry may be necessary for the judicious takes the business to an attorney and asks the latter to look after the case in court, is also
disposition of this case. practicing law. 16 Giving advice for compensation regarding the legal status and rights of
another and the conduct with respect thereto constitutes a practice of law. 17 One who renders
xxx xxx xxx
an opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is, to that proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in
extent, practicing law. 18 addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken
for them in matters connected with the law incorporation services,
In the recent case of Cayetano vs. Monsod, 19 after citing the doctrines in several cases, we assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance
laid down the test to determine whether certain acts constitute "practice of law," thus: before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a
creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and
Black defines "practice of law" as: conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters or estate and
guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the
The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done
legal principles and technique to serve the interest of another with his involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of
consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263).
the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings, and
other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, Practice of law under modern conditions consists in no small part of work
the preparation of legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal performed outside of any court and having no immediate relation to
advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal
them in matters connected with the law. advice on a large variety of subjects and the preparation and execution of
legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases on court.(Land Title Abstract relations and other affairs. Although these transactions may have no
and Trust Co. v. Dworken , 129 Ohio St. 23, 193N. E. 650). A person is also considered direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to
to be in the practice of law when he: become involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree
of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity
. . . . for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary
person, firms, associations or corporations as to their right under the law, functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to
or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings, the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as
pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn between that
body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle part of the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and
controversies and there, in such representative capacity, performs any that part which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It
act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their is of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold
clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative customary functions be performed by persons possessed of adequate
capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times under
under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all attorneys.
court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of (Moran, Comments on the Rules o Court, Vol. 3 [1973 ed.], pp. 665-666,
law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v. C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S. W. 2d 895, citing In Re Opinion of the Justices [Mass], 194 N. E. 313, quoted in
340 Mo. 852). Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 197 A. 139,
144).
This Court, in the case of Philippines Lawyers Association v. Agrava (105 Phil. 173, 176-
177),stated: The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide range of activities in and out of court.
Applying the aforementioned criteria to the case at bar, we agree with the perceptive
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in findings and observations of the aforestated bar associations that the activities of
court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident respondent, as advertised, constitute "practice of law."
to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and
The contention of respondent that it merely offers legal support services can neither be respondent corporation does not represent clients in court since law practice, as the
seriously considered nor sustained. Said proposition is belied by respondent's own weight of authority holds, is not limited merely giving legal advice, contract drafting and
description of the services it has been offering, to wit: so forth.

Legal support services basically consists of giving ready information by The aforesaid conclusion is further strengthened by an article published in the January
trained paralegals to laymen and lawyers, which are strictly non- 13, 1991 issue of the Starweek/The Sunday Magazine of the Philippines Star, entitled
diagnostic, non-advisory, through the extensive use of computers and "Rx for Legal Problems," where an insight into the structure, main purpose and
modern information technology in the gathering, processing, storage, operations of respondent corporation was given by its own "proprietor," Atty. Rogelio P.
transmission and reproduction of information and communication, such Nogales:
as computerized legal research; encoding and reproduction of
documents and pleadings prepared by laymen or lawyers; document This is the kind of business that is transacted everyday at The Legal
search; evidence gathering; locating parties or witnesses to a case; fact Clinic, with offices on the seventh floor of the Victoria Building along U. N.
finding investigations; and assistance to laymen in need of basic Avenue in Manila. No matter what the client's problem, and even if it is as
institutional services from government or non-government agencies, like complicated as the Cuneta-Concepcion domestic situation, Atty. Nogales
birth, marriage, property, or business registrations; educational or and his staff of lawyers, who, like doctors are "specialists" in various
employment records or certifications, obtaining documentation like fields can take care of it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation
clearances, passports, local or foreign visas; giving information about and criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, litigation, and family law.
laws of other countries that they may find useful, like foreign divorce, These specialist are backed up by a battery of paralegals, counsellors
marriage or adoption laws that they can avail of preparatory to emigration and attorneys.
to the foreign country, and other matters that do not involve
representation of clients in court; designing and installing computer Atty. Nogales set up The Legal Clinic in 1984. Inspired by the trend in the
systems, programs, or software for the efficient management of law medical field toward specialization, it caters to clients who cannot afford
offices, corporate legal departments, courts and other entities engaged in the services of the big law firms.
dispensing or administering legal services. 20
The Legal Clinic has regular and walk-in clients. "when they come, we
While some of the services being offered by respondent corporation merely involve start by analyzing the problem. That's what doctors do also. They ask you
mechanical and technical knowhow, such as the installation of computer systems and how you contracted what's bothering you, they take your temperature,
programs for the efficient management of law offices, or the computerization of research they observe you for the symptoms and so on. That's how we operate,
aids and materials, these will not suffice to justify an exception to the general rule. too. And once the problem has been categorized, then it's referred to one
of our specialists.
What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation gives out legal information to
laymen and lawyers. Its contention that such function is non-advisory and non-diagnostic There are cases which do not, in medical terms, require surgery or
is more apparent than real. In providing information, for example, about foreign laws on follow-up treatment. These The Legal Clinic disposes of in a matter of
marriage, divorce and adoption, it strains the credulity of this Court that all the minutes. "Things like preparing a simple deed of sale or an affidavit of
respondent corporation will simply do is look for the law, furnish a copy thereof to the loss can be taken care of by our staff or, if this were a hospital the
client, and stop there as if it were merely a bookstore. With its attorneys and so called residents or the interns. We can take care of these matters on a while
paralegals, it will necessarily have to explain to the client the intricacies of the law and you wait basis. Again, kung baga sa hospital, out-patient, hindi
advise him or her on the proper course of action to be taken as may be provided for by kailangang ma-confine. It's just like a common cold or diarrhea," explains
said law. That is what its advertisements represent and for the which services it will Atty. Nogales.
consequently charge and be paid. That activity falls squarely within the jurisprudential
definition of "practice of law." Such a conclusion will not be altered by the fact that
Those cases which requires more extensive "treatment" are dealt with business except for members of the bar who have complied with all the conditions required
accordingly. "If you had a rich relative who died and named you her sole by statute and the rules of court. Only those persons are allowed to practice law who, by
heir, and you stand to inherit millions of pesos of property, we would refer reason of attainments previously acquired through education and study, have been
you to a specialist in taxation. There would be real estate taxes and recognized by the courts as possessing profound knowledge of legal science entitling them to
arrears which would need to be put in order, and your relative is even advise, counsel with, protect, or defend the rights claims, or liabilities of their clients, with
taxed by the state for the right to transfer her property, and only a respect to the construction, interpretation, operation and effect of law. 26 The justification for
specialist in taxation would be properly trained to deal with the problem. excluding from the practice of law those not admitted to the bar is found, not in the protection
Now, if there were other heirs contesting your rich relatives will, then you of the bar from competition, but in the protection of the public from being advised and
represented in legal matters by incompetent and unreliable persons over whom the judicial
would need a litigator, who knows how to arrange the problem for
department can exercise little control. 27
presentation in court, and gather evidence to support the case. 21
We have to necessarily and definitely reject respondent's position that the concept in the
That fact that the corporation employs paralegals to carry out its services is not
United States of paralegals as an occupation separate from the law profession be
controlling. What is important is that it is engaged in the practice of law by virtue of the
adopted in this jurisdiction. Whatever may be its merits, respondent cannot but be aware
nature of the services it renders which thereby brings it within the ambit of the statutory
that this should first be a matter for judicial rules or legislative action, and not of unilateral
prohibitions against the advertisements which it has caused to be published and are now
adoption as it has done.
assailed in this proceeding.
Paralegals in the United States are trained professionals. As admitted by respondent,
Further, as correctly and appropriately pointed out by the U.P. WILOCI, said reported
there are schools and universities there which offer studies and degrees in paralegal
facts sufficiently establish that the main purpose of respondent is to serve as a one-stop-
education, while there are none in the Philippines. 28As the concept of the "paralegals" or
shop of sorts for various legal problems wherein a client may avail of legal services from
"legal assistant" evolved in the United States, standards and guidelines also evolved to
simple documentation to complex litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of these
protect the general public. One of the major standards or guidelines was developed by the
services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of paralegals, but rather, are exclusive American Bar Association which set up Guidelines for the Approval of Legal Assistant
functions of lawyers engaged in the practice of law. 22 Education Programs (1973). Legislation has even been proposed to certify legal assistants.
There are also associations of paralegals in the United States with their own code of
It should be noted that in our jurisdiction the services being offered by private respondent professional ethics, such as the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. and the
which constitute practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. Only a person duly American Paralegal Association. 29
admitted as a member of the bar, or hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the
provisions of the Rules of Court, and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to In the Philippines, we still have a restricted concept and limited acceptance of what may
practice law. 23 be considered as paralegal service. As pointed out by FIDA, some persons not duly
licensed to practice law are or have been allowed limited representation in behalf of
Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly another or to render legal services, but such allowable services are limited in scope and
qualified in education and character. The permissive right conferred on the lawyers is an extent by the law, rules or regulations granting permission therefor. 30
individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper
standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the Accordingly, we have adopted the American judicial policy that, in the absence of
court, the client and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to constitutional or statutory authority, a person who has not been admitted as an attorney
practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the court. 24 cannot practice law for the proper administration of justice cannot be hindered by the
unwarranted intrusion of an unauthorized and unskilled person into the practice of
The same rule is observed in the american jurisdiction wherefrom respondent would wish law. 31 That policy should continue to be one of encouraging persons who are unsure of their
to draw support for his thesis. The doctrines there also stress that the practice of law is legal rights and remedies to seek legal assistance only from persons licensed to practice law
limited to those who meet the requirements for, and have been admitted to, the bar, and in the state. 32
various statutes or rules specifically so provide. 25 The practice of law is not a lawful
Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned advertisements, the Code of We repeat, the canon of the profession tell us that the best advertising possible for a
Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making known his legal services lawyer is a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust, which
shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement of must be earned as the outcome of character and conduct. Good and efficient service to a
facts. 33 He is not supposed to use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, client as well as to the community has a way of publicizing itself and catching public
deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications attention. That publicity is a normal by-product of effective service which is right and
or legal services. 34 Nor shall he pay or give something of value to representatives of the proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to generate it and to
mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business. 35 Prior to the magnify his success. He easily sees the difference between a normal by-product of able
adoption of the code of Professional Responsibility, the Canons of Professional Ethics had service and the unwholesome result of propaganda. 40
also warned that lawyers should not resort to indirect advertisements for professional
employment, such as furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his Of course, not all types of advertising or solicitation are prohibited. The canons of the
photograph to be published in connection with causes in which the lawyer has been or is
profession enumerate exceptions to the rule against advertising or solicitation and define
engaged or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved,
the extent to which they may be undertaken. The exceptions are of two broad categories,
the importance of the lawyer's position, and all other like self-laudation. 36
namely, those which are expressly allowed and those which are necessarily implied from
the restrictions. 41
The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyer's advertisement of his talents.
A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of his profession. advertise his talents or skill
The first of such exceptions is the publication in reputable law lists, in a manner
as in a manner similar to a merchant advertising his goods. 37 The prescription against
consistent with the standards of conduct imposed by the canons, of brief biographical
advertising of legal services or solicitation of legal business rests on the fundamental
and informative data. "Such data must not be misleading and may include only a
postulate that the that the practice of law is a profession. Thus, in the case of The Director of
Religious Affairs. vs. Estanislao R. Bayot 38 an advertisement, similar to those of respondent statement of the lawyer's name and the names of his professional associates;
which are involved in the present proceeding, 39 was held to constitute improper advertising or addresses, telephone numbers, cable addresses; branches of law practiced; date and
solicitation. place of birth and admission to the bar; schools attended with dates of graduation,
degrees and other educational distinction; public or quasi-public offices; posts of honor;
The pertinent part of the decision therein reads: legal authorships; legal teaching positions; membership and offices in bar associations
and committees thereof, in legal and scientific societies and legal fraternities; the fact of
listings in other reputable law lists; the names and addresses of references; and, with
It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was a flagrant violation
their written consent, the names of clients regularly represented." 42
by the respondent of the ethics of his profession, it being a brazen
solicitation of business from the public. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly
provides among other things that "the practice of soliciting cases at law The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose; it cannot be
for the purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, a mere supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade journal or periodical which is
constitutes malpractice." It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise published principally for other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not properly
his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares. Law is a publish his brief biographical and informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade
profession and not a trade. The lawyer degrades himself and his journal or society program. Nor may a lawyer permit his name to be published in a law
profession who stoops to and adopts the practices of mercantilism by list the conduct, management or contents of which are calculated or likely to deceive or
advertising his services or offering them to the public. As a member of the injure the public or the bar, or to lower the dignity or standing of the profession. 43
bar, he defiles the temple of justice with mercenary activities as the
money-changers of old defiled the temple of Jehovah. "The most worthy The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card may contain
and effective advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer, . . . . is the only a statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he is connected with,
establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and address, telephone number and special branch of law practiced. The publication of a
fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome of simple announcement of the opening of a law firm or of changes in the partnership,
character and conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.). associates, firm name or office address, being for the convenience of the profession, is
not objectionable. He may likewise have his name listed in a telephone directory but not In sum, it is undoubtedly a misbehavior on the part of the lawyer, subject to disciplinary
under a designation of special branch of law. 44 action, to advertise his services except in allowable instances 48 or to aid a layman in the
unauthorized practice of law. 49 Considering that Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales, who is the prime
Verily, taking into consideration the nature and contents of the advertisements for which incorporator, major stockholder and proprietor of The Legal Clinic, Inc. is a member of the
respondent is being taken to task, which even includes a quotation of the fees charged Philippine Bar, he is hereby reprimanded, with a warning that a repetition of the same or
by said respondent corporation for services rendered, we find and so hold that the same similar acts which are involved in this proceeding will be dealt with more severely.
definitely do not and conclusively cannot fall under any of the above-mentioned
exceptions. While we deem it necessary that the question as to the legality or illegality of the
purpose/s for which the Legal Clinic, Inc. was created should be passed upon and
The ruling in the case of Bates, et al. vs. State Bar of Arizona, 45 which is repeatedly determined, we are constrained to refrain from lapsing into an obiter on that aspect since
invoked and constitutes the justification relied upon by respondent, is obviously not applicable it is clearly not within the adjudicative parameters of the present proceeding which is
to the case at bar. Foremost is the fact that the disciplinary rule involved in said case explicitly merely administrative in nature. It is, of course, imperative that this matter be promptly
allows a lawyer, as an exception to the prohibition against advertisements by lawyers, to determined, albeit in a different proceeding and forum, since, under the present state of
publish a statement of legal fees for an initial consultation or the availability upon request of a our law and jurisprudence, a corporation cannot be organized for or engage in the
written schedule of fees or an estimate of the fee to be charged for the specific services. No practice of law in this country. This interdiction, just like the rule against unethical
such exception is provided for, expressly or impliedly, whether in our former Canons of advertising, cannot be subverted by employing some so-called paralegals supposedly
Professional Ethics or the present Code of Professional Responsibility. Besides, even the rendering the alleged support services.
disciplinary rule in the Bates case contains a proviso that the exceptions stated therein are
"not applicable in any state unless and until it is implemented by such authority in that The remedy for the apparent breach of this prohibition by respondent is the concern and
state." 46 This goes to show that an exception to the general rule, such as that being invoked province of the Solicitor General who can institute the corresponding quo
by herein respondent, can be made only if and when the canons expressly provide for such warranto action, 50 after due ascertainment of the factual background and basis for the grant
an exception. Otherwise, the prohibition stands, as in the case at bar. of respondent's corporate charter, in light of the putative misuse thereof. That spin-off from
the instant bar matter is referred to the Solicitor General for such action as may be necessary
It bears mention that in a survey conducted by the American Bar Association after the under the circumstances.
decision in Bates, on the attitude of the public about lawyers after viewing television
commercials, it was found that public opinion dropped significantly 47 with respect to these ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to RESTRAIN and ENJOIN herein respondent, The
characteristics of lawyers: Legal Clinic, Inc., from issuing or causing the publication or dissemination of any
advertisement in any form which is of the same or similar tenor and purpose as Annexes
Trustworthy from 71% to 14% "A" and "B" of this petition, and from conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity,
Professional from 71% to 14% operation or transaction proscribed by law or the Code of Professional Ethics as
Honest from 65% to 14% indicated herein. Let copies of this resolution be furnished the Integrated Bar of the
Dignified from 45% to 14% Philippines, the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Office of the Solicitor General for
appropriate action in accordance herewith.
Secondly, it is our firm belief that with the present situation of our legal and judicial
systems, to allow the publication of advertisements of the kind used by respondent would Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon,
only serve to aggravate what is already a deteriorating public opinion of the legal Bellosillo, Melo and Quiason, JJ., concur
profession whose integrity has consistently been under attack lately by media and the
community in general. At this point in time, it is of utmost importance in the face of such
negative, even if unfair, criticisms at times, to adopt and maintain that level of
professional conduct which is beyond reproach, and to exert all efforts to regain the high
esteem formerly accorded to the legal profession.
Republic of the Philippines execution was, in due time, issued and the same property previously attached by
SUPREME COURT complainant was levied upon.
Manila
It is further alleged that in all the pleadings filed in these three (3) aforementioned cases,
THIRD DIVISION Atty. Pablito Castillo and Atty. Alfonso Martija placed the same address, the same PTR
and the same IBP receipt number to wit" Permanent Light Center, No. 7, 21st Avenue,
Cubao, Quezon City, PTR No. 629411 dated 11-5-89 IBP No. 246722 dated 1-12-88.

CBD Case No. 176 January 20, 1995 Thus, complainant concluded that civil Case No. 58650 filed by Gregorio Lantin was
merely a part of the scheme of the Sps. Abuel to frustrate the satisfaction of the money
SALLY D. BONGALONTA, complainant, judgment which complainant might obtain in Civil Case No. 56934.
vs.
ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO and ALFONSO M. MARTIJA, respondents. After hearing, the IBP Board of Governors issued it Resolution with the following findings
and recommendations:
RESOLUTION
Among the several documentary exhibits submitted by Bongalonta and
attached to the records is a xerox copy of TCT No. 38374, which
Bongalonta and the respondents admitted to be a faithful reproduction of
MELO, J.: the original. And it clearly appears under the Memorandum of
Encumbrances on aid TCT that the Notice of Levy in favor of Bongalonta
In a sworn letter-complaint dated February 15, 1995, addressed to the Commission on and her husband was registered and annotated in said title of February 7,
Bar Discipline, National Grievance Investigation Office, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, 1989, whereas, that in favor of Gregorio Lantin, on October 18, 1989.
complainant Sally Bongalonta charged Pablito M. Castillo and Alfonso M. Martija, Needless to state, the notice of levy in favor of Bongalonta and her
members of the Philippine Bar, with unjust and unethical conduct, to wit: representing husband is a superior lien on the said registered property of the Abuel
conflicting interests and abetting a scheme to frustrate the execution or satisfaction of a spouses over that of Gregorio Lantin.
judgment which complainant might obtain.
Consequently, the charge against the two respondents (i.e. representing
The letter-complaint stated that complainant filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, conflicting interests and abetting a scheme to frustrate the execution or
Criminal Case No. 7635-55, for estafa, against the Sps. Luisa and Solomer Abuel. She satisfaction of a judgment which Bongalonta and her husband might
also filed, a separate civil action Civil Case No. 56934, where she was able to obtain a obtain against the Abuel spouses) has no leg to stand on.
writ of preliminary attachment and by virtue thereof, a piece of real property situated in
Pasig, Rizal and registered in the name of the Sps. Abuel under TCT No. 38374 was However, as to the fact that indeed the two respondents placed in their
attached. Atty. Pablito Castillo was the counsel of the Sps. Abuel in the aforesaid criminal appearances and in their pleadings the same IBP No. "246722 dated
and civil cases. 1-12-88", respondent Atty. Pablito M. Castillo deserves to be
SUSPENDED for using, apparently thru his negligence, the IBP official
During the pendency of these cases, one Gregorio Lantin filed civil Case No. 58650 for receipt number of respondent Atty. Alfonso M. Martija. According to the
collection of a sum of money based on a promissory note, also with the Pasig Regional records of the IBP National Office, Atty. Castillo paid P1,040.00 as his
Trial Court, against the Sps. Abuel. In the said case Gregorio Lantin was represented by delinquent and current membership dues, on February 20, 1990, under
Atty. Alfonso Martija. In this case, the Sps. Abuel were declared in default for their failure IBP O.R. No. 2900538, after Bongalonta filed her complaint with the IBP
to file the necessary responsive pleading and evidence ex-parte was received against Committee on Bar Discipline.
them followed by a judgment by default rendered in favor of Gregorio Lantin. A writ of
The explanation of Atty. Castillo's Cashier-Secretary by the name of Ester EN BANC
Fraginal who alleged in her affidavit dated March 4, 1993, that it was all
her fault in placing the IBP official receipt number pertaining to Atty.
Alfonso M. Martija in the appearance and pleadings Atty. Castillo and in
failing to pay in due time the IBP membership dues of her employer, B.M. No. 712 July 13, 1995
deserves scant consideration, for it is the bounded duty and obligation of
every lawyer to see to it that he pays his IBP membership dues on time, IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF
especially when he practices before the courts, as required by the SUCCESSFUL BAR APPLICANT AL C. ARGOSINO, petitioner.
Supreme Court.
RESOLUTION
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that Atty. Pablito M.
Castillo be SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6)
months for using the IBP Official Receipt No. of his co-respondent Atty.
Alfonso M. Martija.
FELICIANO, J.:

The complaint against Atty. Martija is hereby DISMISSED for lack of


A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of
evidence. (pp. 2-4, Resolution)
Quezon City, Branch 101, charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with thirteen (13) other
individuals, with the crime of homicide in connection with the death of one Raul
The Court agrees with the foregoing findings and recommendations. It is well to stress Camaligan on 8 September 1991. The death of Raul Camaligan stemmed from the
again that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on those infliction of severe physical injuries upon him in the course of "hazing" conducted as part
who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law of university fraternity initiation rites. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused then entered into
for the conferment of such privilege. One of these requirements is the observance of plea bargaining with the prosecution and as a result of such bargaining, pleaded guilty to
honesty and candor. Courts are entitled to expect only complete candor and honesty the lesser offense of homicide through reckless imprudence. This plea was accepted by
from the lawyers appearing and pleading before them. A lawyer, on the other hand, has the trial court. In a judgment dated 11 February 1993, each of the fourteen (14) accused
the fundamental duty to satisfy that expectation. for this reason, he is required to swear individuals was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a period ranging from two (2) years,
to do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court. four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years.

WHEREFORE, finding respondent Atty. Pablito M. Castillo guilty committing a falsehood Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for probation
in violation of his lawyer's oath and of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Court with the lower court. The application for probation was granted in an Order dated 18
Resolved to SUSPEND him from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months, with a June 1993 issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Pedro T. Santiago. The period of
warning that commission of the same or similar offense in the future will result in the probation was set at two (2) years, counted from the probationer's initial report to the
imposition of a more severe penalty. A copy of the Resolution shall be spread on the probation officer assigned to supervise him.
personal record of respondent in the Office of the Bar Confidant.
Less than a month later, on 13 July 1993, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition for Admission to
SO ORDERED. Take the 1993 Bar Examinations. In this Petition, he disclosed the fact of his criminal
conviction and his then probation status. He was allowed to take the 1993 Bar
Feliciano, Bidin, Romero and Vitug, JJ., concur. Examinations in this Court's En Banc Resolution dated 14 August 1993. 1 He passed the
Bar Examination. He was not, however, allowed to take the lawyer's oath of office.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT On 15 April 1994, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition with this Court to allow him to take the
Manila attorney's oath of office and to admit him to the practice of law, averring that Judge Pedro
T. Santiago had terminated his probation period by virtue of an Order dated 11 April xxx xxx xxx 4
1994. We note that his probation period did not last for more than ten (10) months from
the time of the Order of Judge Santiago granting him probation dated 18 June 1993. In Re Application of Kaufman, 5 citing Re Law Examination of 1926 (1926)
Since then, Mr. Argosino has filed three (3) Motions for Early Resolution of his Petition for 191 Wis 359, 210 NW 710:
Admission to the Bar.
It can also be truthfully said that there exists nowhere greater temptations
The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to be granted to to deviate from the straight and narrow path than in the multiplicity of
everyone who demands it. Rather, it is a high personal privilege limited to citizens circumstances that arise in the practice of profession. For these reasons
of good moral character, with special educational qualifications, duly ascertained and the wisdom of requiring an applicant for admission to the bar to possess
certified. 2 The essentiality of good moral character in those who would be lawyers is stressed a high moral standard therefore becomes clearly apparent, and the board
in the following excerpts which we quote with approval and which we regard as having of bar examiners as an arm of the court, is required to cause a minute
persuasive effect: examination to be made of the moral standard of each candidate for
admission to practice. . . . It needs no further argument, therefore, to
In Re Farmer: 3 arrive at the conclusion that the highest degree of scrutiny must be
exercised as to the moral character of a candidate who presents himself
xxx xxx xxx for admission to the bar. The evil must, if possible, be successfully met at
its very source, and prevented, for, after a lawyer has once been
This "upright character" prescribed by the statute, as a condition admitted, and has pursued his profession, and has established himself
precedent to the applicant's right to receive a license to practice law in therein, a far more difficult situation is presented to the court when
North Carolina, and of which he must, in addition to other requisites, proceedings are instituted for disbarment and for the recalling and
satisfy the court, includes all the elements necessary to make up such a annulment of his license.
character. It is something more than an absence of bad character. It is
the good name which the applicant has acquired, or should have In Re Keenan: 6
acquired, through association with his fellows. It means that he must
have conducted himself as a man of upright character ordinarily would, or The right to practice law is not one of the inherent rights of every citizen, as
should, or does. Such character expresses itself, not in negatives nor in in the right to carry on an ordinary trade or business. It is a peculiar privilege
following the line of least resistance, but quite often, in the will to do the granted and continued only to those who demonstrate special fitness in
unpleasant thing if it is right, and the resolve not to do the pleasant thing intellectual attainment and in moral character. All may aspire to it on an
if it is wrong. . . . absolutely equal basis, but not all will attain it. Elaborate machinery has been
set up to test applicants by standards fair to all and to separate the fit from
xxx xxx xxx the unfit. Only those who pass the test are allowed to enter the profession,
and only those who maintain the standards are allowed to remain in it.
And we may pause to say that this requirement of the statute is eminently
Re Rouss: 7
proper. Consider for a moment the duties of a lawyer. He is sought as
counsellor, and his advice comes home, in its ultimate effect, to every
man's fireside. Vast interests are committed to his care; he is the Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, and a fair
private and professional character is one of them; to refuse admission to an
recipient of unbounded trust and confidence; he deals with is client's
unworthy applicant is not to punish him for past offense: an examination into
property, reputation, his life, his all. An attorney at law is a sworn officer
character, like the examination into learning, is merely a test of fitness.
of the Court, whose chief concern, as such, is to aid the administration of
justice. . . .
Cobb vs. Judge of Superior Court: 8
Attorney's are licensed because of their learning and ability, so that they may . . . that an applicant's contention that upon application for admission to the
not only protect the rights and interests of their clients, but be able to assist California Bar the court cannot reject him for want of good moral character
court in the trial of the cause. Yet what protection to clients or assistance to unless it appears that he has been guilty of acts which would be cause for his
courts could such agents give? They are required to be of good moral disbarment or suspension, could not be sustained; that the inquiry is broader
character, so that the agents and officers of the court, which they are, may in its scope than that in a disbarment proceeding, and the court may
not bring discredit upon the due administration of the law, and it is of the receive any evidence which tends to show the applicant's character as
highest possible consequence that both those who have not such respects honesty, integrity, and general morality, and may no doubt refuse
qualifications in the first instance, or who, having had them, have fallen admission upon proofs that might not establish his guilt of any of the acts
therefrom, shall not be permitted to appear in courts to aid in the declared to be causes for disbarment.
administration of justice.
The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would seek
It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of admission to the bar must of necessity be more stringent than the norm of conduct
greater importance so far as the general public and the proper administration of justice expected from members of the general public. There is a very real need to prevent a
are concerned, than the possession of legal learning: general perception that entry into the legal profession is open to individuals with
inadequate moral qualifications. The growth of such a perception would signal the
. . . (In re Applicants for License, 55 S.E. 635, 143 N.C. 1, 10 L.R.A. progressive destruction of our people's confidence in their courts of law and in our legal
[N.S.] 288, 10 Ann./Cas. 187): system as we know it. 12

The public policy of our state has always been to admit no Mr. Argosino's participation in the deplorable "hazing" activities certainly fell far short of
person to the practice of the law unless he covered an the required standard of good moral character. The deliberate (rather than merely
upright moral character. The possession of this by the accidental or inadvertent) infliction of severe physical injuries which proximately led to
attorney is more important, if anything, to the public and the death of the unfortunate Raul Camaligan, certainly indicated serious character flaws
to the proper administration of justice than legal learning. on the part of those who inflicted such injuries. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused had
Legal learning may be acquired in after years, but if the failed to discharge their moral duty to protect the life and well-being of a "neophyte" who
applicant passes the threshold of the bar with a bad had, by seeking admission to the fraternity involved, reposed trust and confidence in all
moral character the chances are that his character will of them that, at the very least, he would not be beaten and kicked to death like a useless
remain bad, and that he will become a disgrace instead of stray dog. Thus, participation in the prolonged and mindless physical beatings inflicted
an ornament to his great calling a curse instead of a upon Raul Camaligan constituted evident rejection of that moral duty and was totally
benefit to his community a Quirk, a Gammon or a irresponsible behavior, which makes impossible a finding that the participant was then
Snap, instead of a Davis, a Smith or a Ruffin. 9 possessed of good moral character.

All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those Now that the original period of probation granted by the trial court has expired, the Court
seeking admission to the Bar. The scope of such inquiry is, indeed, said to be properly is prepared to consider de novo the question of whether applicant A.C. Argosino has
broader than inquiry into the moral proceedings for disbarment: purged himself of the obvious deficiency in moral character referred to above. We stress
that good moral character is a requirement possession of which must be demonstrated
Re Stepsay: 10 not only at the time of application for permission to take the bar examinations but also,
and more importantly, at the time of application for admission to the bar and to take the
The inquiry as to the moral character of an attorney in a proceeding for his attorney's oath of office.
admission to practice is broader in scope than in a disbarment proceeding.
Mr. Argosino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its examination and consideration,
Re Wells: 11 evidence that he may be now regarded as complying with the requirement of good moral
character imposed upon those seeking admission to the bar. His evidence may
consist, inter alia, of sworn certifications from responsible members of the community brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan), within ten (10) day from notice hereof.
who have a good reputation for truth and who have actually known Mr. Argosino for Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished to the parents or brothers and sisters, if any, of
a significant period of time, particularly since the judgment of conviction was rendered by Raul Camaligan.
Judge Santiago. He should show to the Court how he has tried to make up for the
senseless killing of a helpless student to the family of the deceased student and to the Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.
community at large. Mr. Argosino must, in other words, submit relevant evidence to show
that he is a different person now, that he has become morally fit for admission to the Bellosillo, J. is on leave.
ancient and learned profession of the law.

Finally, Mr. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this Court, by appropriate written
manifestation, of the names and addresses of the father and mother (in default thereof,