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Cayetano vs Monsod
 The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the
management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts,
and in addition, conveying.
 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.
 private practice. The term, as commonly understood, means "an individual or organization
engaged in the business of delivering legal services.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

As commonly understood, "practice" refers to the actual performance or application of knowledge as

distinguished from mere possession of knowledge; it connotes
an active, habitual, repeated or customary action.1 To "practice" law, or any profession for that
matter, means, to exercise or pursue an employment or profession actively, habitually,
repeatedly or customarily

1. Habituality. The term "practice of law" implies customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the
public as a lawyer

2. Compensation. - in consideration of service

3. Application of law legal principle practice or procedure which calls for legal knowledge, training
and experience is within the term "practice of law".

4. Attorney-client relationship. Engaging in the practice of law presupposes the existence of lawyer-
client relationship.


Bates v. State Bar of Arizona

 whether lawyers may constitutionally advertise the prices at which certain routine
services will be performed.
 Advertising legal services is not inherently misleading. Only routine services lend
themselves to advertising, and, for such services, fixed rates can be meaningfully
established, as the Arizona State Bar's own Legal Services Program demonstrates.
Although a client may not know the detail involved in a given task, he can identify the
service at the level of generality to which advertising lends itself. Though advertising
does not provide a complete foundation on which to select an attorney, it would be
peculiar to deny the consumer at least some of the relevant information needed for an
informed decision on the ground that the information was not complete.`
 Advertising, the traditional mechanism in a free market economy for a supplier to inform
a potential purchaser of the availability and terms of exchange, may well benefit the
administration of justice.
 The advertisement's claim that appellants offer services at "very reasonable" prices is
not misleading. Appellants' advertised fee for an uncontested divorce, which was
specifically cited by appellee, is in line with customary charges in the area
Ulep vs Legal Clinic
 The Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making known his legal
services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement of
 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 as in
a manner similar to a merchant advertising his goods. 37 The prescription against advertising
of legal services or solicitation of legal business rests on the fundamental postulate that the
that the practice of law is a profession.
 The canon of the profession tell us that the best advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-
merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the
outcome of character and conduct.
 The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card may contain only
a statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he is connected with, address,
telephone number and special branch of law practiced. The publication of a simple
announcement of the opening of a law firm or of changes in the partnership, 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 under a designation of
special branch of law.


1) Concept of Retainer

Hilado vs David

 Attorney Francisco's law firm mailed to the plaintiff a written opinion over his signature on the
merits of her case, thus, a relation of attorney and client between Attorney Francisco and
Mrs. Hilado ensued.
 In order to constitute an attorney-client relationship, a professional one and not merely one of
principal and agent, the attorneys must be employed either to give advice upon a legal point,
to prosecute or defend an action in court of justice, or to prepare and draft, in legal form such
papers as deeds, bills, contracts and the like
 It is not essential that the client should have employed the attorney professionally on any
previous occasion. . . . It is not necessary that any retainer should have been paid. If a
person, in respect to his business affairs or troubles of any kind, consults with his attorney in
his professional capacity with the view to obtaining professional advice or assistance, and
the attorney voluntarily permits or acquiesces in such consultation, then the professional
employment must be regarded as established.
 Formality is not an essential element of the employment of an attorney. An acceptance of the
relation is implied on the part of the attorney from his acting in behalf of his client in
pursuance of a request by the latter.
 "retaining fee," the purpose of which stems from the realization that the attorney is disabled
from acting as counsel for the other side after he has given professional advice to the
opposite party, even if he should decline to perform the contemplated services on behalf of
the latter. "A retaining fee is a preliminary fee given to an attorney or counsel to insure and
secure his future services, and induce him to act for the client. It is intended to remunerate
counsel for being deprived, by being retained by one party; its payment has no relation to the
obligation of the client to pay his attorney for the services which he has retained him to

Tumbagahan vs CA

The attorney-client relation does not terminate formally until there is a withdrawal made of
record; at least so far as the opposite party is concerned, the relation otherwise continues
until the end of the litigation
Donald Dee vs CA

 Both the lower court and the appellate court concur in their findings that there was a
lawyer-client relationship between petitioner and private respondent Mutuc.
 The absence of a written contract will not preclude the finding that there was a
professional relationship which merits attorney's fees for professional services rendered.
Documentary formalism is not an essential element in the employment of an attorney;
the contract may be express or implied. To establish the relation, it is sufficient that the
advice and assistance of an attorney is sought and received in any matter pertinent to his
profession. An acceptance of the relation is implied on the part of the attorney from his
acting on behalf of his client in pursuance of a request from the latter.
 There is no question that professional services were actually rendered by private
respondent to petitioner and his family. For such services, respondent Mutuc is
indubitably entitled to receive a reasonable compensation and this right cannot be
concluded by petitioner's pretension that at the time private respondent rendered such
services to petitioner and his family, the former was also the Philippine consultant of
Caesar's Palace.
 Generally, an attorney is prohibited from representing parties with contending positions.
However, at a certain stage of the controversy before it reaches the court, a lawyer may
represent conflicting interests with the consent of the parties.
 A lawyer is entitled to have and receive the just and reasonable compensation for
services rendered at the special instance and request of his client and as long as he is
honestly and in good faith trying to serve and represent the interests of his client, the
latter is bound to pay his just fees

Hadjula vs Madianda

 The moment complainant approached the then receptive respondent to seek legal
advice, a veritable lawyer-client relationship evolved between the two. Such relationship
imposes upon the lawyer certain restrictions circumscribed by the ethics of the
profession. Among the burdens of the relationship is that which enjoins the lawyer,
respondent in this instance, to keep inviolate confidential information acquired or
revealed during legal consultations.

Burbe vs. Magulta

 This Court has likewise constantly held that once lawyers agree to take up the cause of
a client, they owe fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and
confidence reposed in them.
 The practice of law is a profession and not a business. Lawyering is not primarily meant
to be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields
profits. The gaining of a livelihood is not a professional but a secondary consideration.
Duty to public service and to the administration of justice should be the primary
consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal interests or what they
owe to themselves. The practice of law is a noble calling in which emolument is a
byproduct, and the highest eminence may be attained without making much money.[
 Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that “lawyers shall hold in
trust all moneys of their clients and properties that may come into their possession”
 Lawyers who convert the funds entrusted to them are in gross violation of professional
ethics and are guilty of betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession.
 If much is demanded from an attorney, it is because the entrusted privilege to practice
law carries with it correlative duties not only to the client but also to the court, to the bar,
and to the public.[18] Respondent fell short of this standard when he converted into his
legal fees the filing fee entrusted to him by his client and thus failed to file the complaint
promptly. The fact that the former returned the amount does not exculpate him from his
breach of duty.
 The power to disbar must be exercised with great caution. Only in a clear case of
misconduct that seriously affects the standing and the character of the bar will
disbarment be imposed as a penalty.
2) Duty of Diligence


Negros Steverdoring vs CA

 As to the lawyer who was handling the case, his complacency in waiting for the notice
despite the lapse of a period of time, without even inquiring from the clerks in the office
as to whether such notice had already been received, or by simply investigating with the
Court of Appeals as to the status of his appeal, considering that he allegedly had the
draft of his appellant's brief prepared and that he was just waiting for the notice to file it,
all suggest that the lawyer concerned failed to give the entire devotion he owed to the
interest of his client 11 and to exercise the necessary care and diligence required of him
as a member of the legal profession, to the detriment of his client.

Erectors Inc. vs NLRC (reglementary period)

“fabricating rules for the purposes of trifling with court processes”

 The Court found that there’s an utter lack of repentance or semblance of it due to the
counsels’ acts. A lawyer’s duty to his client does not mean freedom to set up false or
fraudulent claims especially with respect to provisions of law or administrative rules
and that while lawyers are bound to exert utmost legal skill in prosecuting their
client’s cause or defending it, their duty, first and foremost, is to the administration of
justice. The office of attorney does not permit, much less demand, to support a
client’s case, violation of law or otherwise, fraud or chicanery. A lawyer must obey
his own conscience and not that of his client.
 It was due to the counsel’s erroneous persistence which cause delay in the final
disposition of the case.

Santiago vs. Fojas

 Atty. Fojas admits that it was duty to file an answer

 No lawyer is obliged to act as an advocate of a person. However, once he agrees to take
up the cause of the client, he owes fidelity to such cause and must be mindful of the trust
and confidence reposed to him. He must serve his client with competence and diligence.
Thus, his client is entitled to the benefit of any remedy that is authorized by law and he
may expect his lawyer to assert such remedy.

3) Fixing and Determination of Fees

Canon 9 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized

practice of law.

Canon 20 - A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.

NPC vs. Heirs of Macabangkit

Both Atty. Dibaratun and Atty. Ballelos posited that their entitlement to attorney’s fees was
contingent. Yet, a contract for a contingent fees is an agreement in writing by which the fees, usually
a fixed percentage of what may be recovered in the action, are made to depend upon the success in
the effort to enforce or defend a supposed right. Contingent fees depend upon an express contract,
without which the attorney can only recover on the basis of quantum meruit. With neither Atty.
Dibaratun nor Atty. Ballelos presenting a written agreement bearing upon their supposed contingent
fees, the only way to determine their right to appropriate attorney’s fees is to apply the principle of
quantum meruit.

Quantum meruit – literally meaning as much as he deserves – is used as basis for determining an
attorney’s professional fees in the absence of an express agreement. The recovery of attorney’s
fees on the basis of quantum meruit is a device that prevents an unscrupulous client from running
away with the fruits of the legal services of counsel without paying for it and also avoids unjust
enrichment on the part of the attorney himself.73 An attorney must show that he is entitled to
reasonable compensation for the effort in pursuing the client’s cause, taking into account certain
factors in fixing the amount of legal fees.74

Rule 20.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility lists the guidelines for determining the proper
amount of attorney fees, to wit:

Rule 20.1 – A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in determining his fees:

a) The time spent and the extent of the services rendered or required;

b) The novelty and difficult of the questions involved;

c) The important of the subject matter;

d) The skill demanded;

e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proffered case;

f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to
which he belongs;

g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the

h) The contingency or certainty of compensation;

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

j) The professional standing of the lawyer.

Canlas vs CA

 The case dramatizes the unpleasant spectacle of a lawyer tangling with his own client,
more often than not, in the matter of fees.

 There was a suspected collusion between Atty. Canlas and respondent judge to
expedite the former's collection of his fees. He alleges that his counsel had deliberately,
and with malevolent designs, postponed execution to force respondent Herrera to agree
to sell the properties subject to redemption. It was understandable that respondent Atty.
Paterno R. Canlas did not implement the writ of execution, instead he contacted
petitioner in order that petitioner would sign the questioned documents.
 By Atty. Canlas' own account, "due to lack of paying capacity of respondent Herrera, no
financing entity was willing to extend him any loan with which to pay the redemption price of
his mortgaged properties and petitioner's P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded in the
Compromise Judgment," 34 a development that should have tempered his demand for his
fees. For obvious reasons, he placed his interests over and above those of his client, in
opposition to his oath to "conduct himself as a lawyer ... with all good fidelity ... to [his]
 The Court finds the occasion fit to stress that lawyering is not a moneymaking venture and
lawyers are not merchants, a fundamental standard that has, as a matter of judicial notice,
eluded not a few law advocates. The petitioner's efforts partaking of a shakedown" of his
own client are not becoming of a lawyer and certainly, do not speak well of his fealty to his
oath to "delay no man for money.

 It is true that lawyers are entitled to make a living, in spite of the fact that the practice of law is not
a commercial enterprise; but that does not furnish an excuse for plain lust for material wealth,
more so at the expense of another.

SEC. 24. Compensation of attorneys, agreement as to fees. — An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover
from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services, with a view to the importance of the
subject matter of the controversy, the extent of the services rendered, and the professional standing of the
attorney... A written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by the court
to be unconscionable or unreasonable
Traders Royal Bank vs NLRC
 There are two commonly accepted concepts of attorney’s fees, the so-called ordinary
and extraordinary. In its ordinary concept, an attorney’s fee is the reasonable
compensation paid to a lawyer by his client for the legal services he has rendered to the
latter. The basis of this compensation is the fact of his employment by and his
agreement with the client.

 In its extraordinary concept, an attorney’s fee is an indemnity for damages ordered by

the court to be paid by the losing party in litigation. The basis of this is any of the cases
provided by law where such award can be made and is payable not to the lawyer but to
the client unless they have agreed otherwise. It is the first type of attorney’s fees which
Atty. Cruz demanded before the labor arbiter.

 A general retainer is the fee paid to a lawyer to secure his future services as general
counsel for any ordinary legal problem that may arise in the routinely business of the
client and referred to him for legal action. The reason for this is that the lawyer is
deprived of the opportunity of rendering services for a fee to the opposing party or other
parties. In fine, it is a compensation for lost opportunity. A special retainer is a fee for a
specific case handled or special service rendered by the lawyer for a client.

 In the case at bar, the SC said that the P3,000.00 fee is not a payment for Atty. Cruz’s
execution or performance of the services listed in the contract, that the fee was
independent and different from the compensation which Atty. Cruz should receive.

 While a claim for attorneys fees may be filed before the judgment is rendered, the
determination as to the propriety of the fees or as to the amount thereof will have to be
held in abeyance until the main case from which the lawyers claim for attorneys fees
may arise has become final. Otherwise, the determination to be made by the courts will
be premature. Of course, a petition for attorneys fees may be filed before the judgment
in favor of the client is satisfied or the proceeds thereof delivered to the client. It is
elementary that an attorney is entitled to have and receive a just and reasonable
compensation for services performed at the special instance and request of his client. As
long as the lawyer was in good faith and honestly trying to represent and serve the
interests of the client, he should have a reasonable compensation for such services. It
will thus be appropriate, at this juncture, to determine if private respondent is entitled to
an additional remuneration under the retainer agreement[27] entered into by him and

 As already stated, Article 111 of the Labor Code regulates the amount recoverable as
attorneys fees in the nature of damages sustained by and awarded to the prevailing
party. It may not be used therefore, as the lone standard in fixing the exact amount
payable to the lawyer by his client for the legal services he rendered. Also, while it limits
the maximum allowable amount of attorneys fees, it does not direct the instantaneous
and automatic award of attorneys fees in such maximum limit.

PCGG vs Sandiganbayan

 The key issue is whether Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility applies to
respondent Mendoza. Again, the prohibition states: A lawyer shall not, after leaving
government service, accept engagement or employment in connection with
any matter in which he had intervened while in the said service.

 Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility retained the general structure of
paragraph 2, Canon 36 of the Canons of Professional Ethics but replaced the expansive
phrase investigated and passed upon with the word intervened. It is, therefore,
properly applicable to both adverse-interest conflicts and congruent-interest
 The case at bar does not involve the adverse interest aspect of Rule 6.03.
Respondent Mendoza, it is conceded, has no adverse interest problem when he acted
as Solicitor General in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 and later as counsel of respondents Tan, et
al. in Civil Case No. 0005 and Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099 before the Sandiganbayan.
Nonetheless, there remains the issue of whether there exists a congruent-interest
conflict sufficient to disqualify respondent Mendoza from representing respondents
Tan, et al.
 The key to unlock Rule 6.03 lies in comprehending first, the meaning of matter referred
to in the rule and, second, the metes and bounds of the intervention made by the
former government lawyer on the matter.

 the said act of respondent Mendoza which is the matter involved in Sp. Proc. No.
107812 is entirely different from the matter involved in Civil Case No. 0096. Again, the
plain facts speak for themselves. It is given that respondent Mendoza had nothing to do
with the decision of the Central Bank to liquidate GENBANK. It is also given that he did
not participate in the sale of GENBANK to Allied Bank. The matter where he got
himself involved was in informing Central Bank on the procedure provided by law to
liquidate GENBANK thru the courts and in filing the necessary petition in Sp. Proc. No.
107812 in the then Court of First Instance. The subject matter of Sp. Proc. No.
107812, therefore, is not the same nor is related to but is different from the subject
matter in Civil Case No. 0096. Civil Case No. 0096 involves the sequestration of the
stocks owned by respondents Tan, et al., in Allied Bank on the alleged ground that they
are ill-gotten. The case does not involve the liquidation of GENBANK. Nor does it involve
the sale of GENBANK to Allied Bank. Whether the shares of stock of the reorganized
Allied Bank are ill-gotten is far removed from the issue of the dissolution and liquidation
of GENBANK. GENBANK was liquidated by the Central Bank due, among others, to the
alleged banking malpractices of its owners and officers. In other words, the legality of the
liquidation of GENBANK is not an issue in the sequestration cases. Indeed, the
jurisdiction of the PCGG does not include the dissolution and liquidation of banks. It
goes without saying that Code 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility cannot
apply to respondent Mendoza because his alleged intervention while a Solicitor
General in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is an intervention on a matter different from the
matter involved in Civil Case No. 0096.

 There are two possible interpretations of the word intervene. Under the first
interpretation, intervene includes participation in a proceeding even if the intervention is
irrelevant or has no effect or little influence.[43] Under the second interpretation,
intervene only includes an act of a person who has the power to influence the subject
proceedings.[44] We hold that this second meaning is more appropriate to give to the
word intervention under Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility in light of
its history. The evils sought to be remedied by the Rule do not exist where the
government lawyer does an act which can be considered as innocuous such as x x x
drafting, enforcing or interpreting government or agency procedures, regulations or laws,
or briefing abstract principles of law.