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Cayetano v Monsod

Practice of Law
Case No. 6 | September 3, 1991 | J. Paras


1. Practice of law means 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.
2. What constitutes practice of law? As commonly understood,
practice refers to the actual performance orapplication of
knowledge as distinguished from mere possession of knowledge;
it connotes an active, habitual, repeated or customary action. To
practice law, or any profession for that matter, means, to
exercise or pursue an employment or profession actively,
habitually, repeatedly orcustomarily. In the same way, a lawyer
who is employed as a business executive or a corporate manager,
other than as head or attorney of a Legal Department of a
corporation or a governmental agency, cannot be said to be in the
practice of law.

Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by
President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of
Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the
Secretariat of the Commission on Appointments on
April 25, 1991.
Petitioner Cayetano opposed the nomination because
allegedly Monsod does not possess the required
qualification of having been engaged in the practice
of law for at least ten years.
Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the
Commission on Appointments of Monsods
nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed
the instant petition for 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.
Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar,
having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a
grade of 86.55%. He has been a dues paying
member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since
its inception in 197273. He has also been paying his
professional license fees as lawyer for more than ten
years. (p. 124, Rollo)


1. WON Chrisitan Monsod has been engaged in the practice of law

for 10 years

YES- Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of

the term practice of law, particularly the modern
concept of law practice, and taking into consideration the
liberal construction intended by the framers of the
Constitution, Atty. Monsods past work experiences as a
lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-
entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of
contracts, and a Iawyer-legislator of both the rich and the
poorverily more than satisfy the constitutional
requirementthat he has been engaged in the practice
of law for at least ten years.