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A. Practice of Law (Rule 138)

1. Concept

a. Definition of practice of law.

- Cayetano vs Monsod, 201 SCRA 210 Any activity in or out of court which requires the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the
practice of 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 requires
the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill.

b. Practice of law is a privilege, not a right.

c. Law as a profession, not a business or trade.

2. Qualifications for admission to the Bar.

Sec. 2, Rule 138 Every applicant for admission as a member of the bar

1. must be a citizen of the Philippines,

2. at least 21 years of age,
3. of good moral character,
4. and a resident of the Philippines;
5. and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character,
6. and that no charges against him, involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in
any court in the Philippines.
7. Shall satisfactorily show that they have regularly studied law for four years, and successfully
completed all prescribed courses, in a law school or university, officially approved and
recognized by the Secretary of Education.
8. The affidavit of the candidate, accompanied by a certificate from the university or school of
law, shall be filed as evidence of such facts as stated in the next preceding number, and
further evidence may be required by the court
9. A certificate that he has satisfied the Secretary of Education that, before he began the study
of law, he had pursued and satisfactorily completed in an authorized and recognized
university or college, requiring for admission thereto the completion of a four-year high
school course, the course of study prescribed therein for a bachelors degree in arts or
3. Appearance of non-lawyers

a. Law student practice rule A law student who has successfully completed his 3rd year of the
regular 4-year prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law schools clinical
legal education program approved by the Supreme Court may appear, without
compensation, in any civil, criminal or administrative case before any trial court, tribunal,
board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted by the Legal Clinic of the school. [
Sec.1, Rule 138-A] The student shall be under the direct supervision and control of a member
of the IBP duly accredited by the law school. [Sec. 2. Rule 138-A]

b. Non-lawyers in courts.

Before the MTC 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.

Before any other court a party may conduct his litigation personally or by the aid of an
attorney, and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the

In a criminal case before the MTC in a locality where a duly licensed member of the Bar is
not available, the judge may appoint a non-lawyer who is a resident of that province, of good
repute for probity and ability to defend the accused.

c. Non-lawyers in administrative tribunals.

Before the NLRC non-lawyers may appear before the NLRC or any Labor Arbiter if they
(a) represent themselves; (b) represent their organization or members
thereof. [Article 222, P.D. 441, L.C.]

Before a Cadastral Court non-lawyer may represent a claimant before the Cadastral Court.
[Sec. 9, Act. 2259]

Any person appointed to appear for the government of the Philippines in accordance with
law. [Sec. 33, Rule 138]

d. Proceedings where lawyers are prohibited from appearing as counsels.

4. Sanctions for practice or appearance without authority.

a. Lawyers without authority

b. Persons who are not lawyers
5. Public officials and the practice of law.

a. Prohibition or disqualification of former government attorneys.

b. Public officials who cannot practice law or can practice law with restrictions.

6. Lawyers who are authorized to represent the government.

7. Lawyers Oath

B. The Code of Professional Responsibility

1. To society (Canons 1-6)

a. Respect for law and legal processes

b. Efficient and convenient legal services
c. True, honest, fair, dignified and objective information on legal services
d. Participation in the improvement and reforms in the legal system
e. Participation in legal education program