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[A.C. No. 5299. August 19, 2003] Bulletin and August 5, 2000 issue of The Philippine in Resolution No.

ppine in Resolution No. XV-2002-606 dated October 19,

Star.[2] 2002[9]
ATTY. ISMAEL G. KHAN, JR., Assistant Court
Administrator and Chief, Public Information On September 1, 2000, Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr., in Hence, the instant petition for certiorari, which was
Office, complainant, vs. ATTY. RIZALINO T. his capacity as Assistant Court Administrator and docketed as G.R. No. 157053 entitled, Atty. Rizalino
SIMBILLO,respondent. Chief of the Public Information Office, filed an T. Simbillo, Petitioner versus IBP Commission on
administrative complaint against Atty. Rizalino T. Bar Discipline, Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr., Asst. Court
[G.R. No. 157053. August 19, 2003] Simbillo for improper advertising and solicitation of Administrator and Chief, Public Information Office,
his legal services, in violation of Rule 2.03 and Rule Respondents. This petition was consolidated with
ATTY. RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO, petitioner, vs.
3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and A.C. No. 5299 per the Courts Resolution dated
Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court.[3] March 4, 2003.
ATTY. ISMAEL G. KHAN, JR., in his capacity
as Assistant Court Administrator and Chief, In his answer, respondent admitted the acts imputed In a Resolution dated March 26, 2003, the parties
Public Information Office, respondents. to him, but argued that advertising and were required to manifest whether or not they were
solicitation per se are not prohibited acts; that the willing to submit the case for resolution on the basis
time has come to change our views about the of the pleadings.[10]Complainant filed his
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: prohibition on advertising and solicitation; that the Manifestation on April 25, 2003, stating that he is
interest of the public is not served by the absolute not submitting any additional pleading or evidence
This administrative complaint arose from a paid prohibition on lawyer advertising; that the Court can and is submitting the case for its early resolution on
advertisement that appeared in the July 5, 2000 issue lift the ban on lawyer advertising; and that the the basis of pleadings and records
of the newspaper, Philippine Daily Inquirer, which rationale behind the decades-old prohibition should thereof. [11] Respondent, on the other hand, filed a
reads: ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE Specialist be abandoned. Thus, he prayed that he be exonerated Supplemental Memorandum on June 20, 2003.
532-4333/521-2667.[1] from all the charges against him and that the Court
promulgate a ruling that advertisement of legal We agree with the IBPs Resolutions Nos. XV-2002-
Ms. Ma. Theresa B. Espeleta, a staff member of the 306 and XV-2002-606.
services offered by a lawyer is not contrary to law,
Public Information Office of the Supreme Court,
public policy and public order as long as it is
called up the published telephone number and Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of Professional
pretended to be an interested party.She spoke to Mrs. Responsibility read:
Simbillo, who claimed that her husband, Atty. The case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the
Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not do or permit to be
Rizalino Simbillo, was an expert in handling Philippines for investigation, report and
done any act designed primarily to solicit legal
annulment cases and can guarantee a court decree recommendation.[5] On June 29, 2002, the IBP
within four to six months, provided the case will not Commission on Bar Discipline passed Resolution
involve separation of property or custody of No. XV-2002-306,[6] finding respondent guilty of Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or permit the use
children. Mrs. Simbillo also said that her husband violation of Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive,
charges a fee of P48,000.00, half of which is payable Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or
at the time of filing of the case and the other half of the Rules of Court, and suspended him from the claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.
after a decision thereon has been rendered. practice of law for one (1) year with the warning that
a repetition of similar acts would be dealt with more Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court states:
Further research by the Office of the Court
severely. The IBP Resolution was noted by this
Administrator and the Public Information Office SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by
Court on November 11, 2002.[7]
revealed that similar advertisements were published Supreme Court, grounds therefor. A member of the
in the August 2 and 6, 2000 issues of theManila In the meantime, respondent filed an Urgent Motion bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as
for Reconsideration,[8] which was denied by the IBP attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit,
malpractice or other gross misconduct in such office, indulgence, his contrition rings allowable. As explicitly stated in Ulep v. Legal
grossly immoral conduct or by reason of his hollow considering the fact that he advertised his Clinic, Inc.:[22]
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or legal services again after he pleaded for compassion
for any violation of the oath which he is required to and after claiming that he had no intention to violate Such data must not be misleading and may include
take before the admission to practice, or for a willful the rules. Eight months after filing his answer, he only a statement of the lawyers name and the names
disobedience appearing as attorney for a party again advertised his legal services in the August 14, of his professional associates; addresses, telephone
without authority to do so. 2001 issue of the Buy & Sell Free Ads numbers, cable addresses; branches of law practiced;
Newspaper.[17] Ten months later, he caused the same date and place of birth and admission to the bar;
It has been repeatedly stressed that the practice of advertisement to be published in the October 5, 2001 schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees
law is not a business.[12] It is a profession in which issue of Buy & Sell.[18] Such acts of respondent are a and other educational distinctions; public or quasi-
duty to public service, not money, is the primary deliberate and contemptuous affront on the Courts public offices; posts of honor; legal authorships;
consideration. Lawyering is not primarily meant to authority. legal teaching positions; membership and offices in
be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is not bar associations and committees thereof, in legal and
a capital that necessarily yields profits.[13] The What adds to the gravity of respondents acts is that scientific societies and legal fraternities; the fact of
gaining of a livelihood should be a secondary in advertising himself as a self-styled Annulment of listings in other reputable law lists; the names and
consideration.[14] The duty to public service and to Marriage Specialist, he wittingly or unwittingly addresses of references; and, with their written
the administration of justice should be the primary erodes and undermines not only the stability but also consent, the names of clients regularly represented.
consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their the sanctity of an institution still considered
personal interests or what they owe to sacrosanct despite the contemporary climate of The law list must be a reputable law list published
themselves.[15]The following elements distinguish permissiveness in our society. Indeed, in assuring primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere
the legal profession from a business: prospective clients that an annulment may be supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade
obtained in four to six months from the time of the journal or periodical which is published principally
1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument filing of the case,[19] he in fact encourages people, for other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may
is a by-product, and in which one may attain the who might have otherwise been disinclined and not properly publish his brief biographical and
highest eminence without making much money; would have refrained from dissolving their marriage informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade
bonds, to do so. journal or society program. Nor may a lawyer
2. A relation as an officer of the court to the permit his name to be published in a law list the
administration of justice involving thorough Nonetheless, the solicitation of legal business is not conduct, management, or contents of which are
sincerity, integrity and reliability; altogether proscribed. However, for solicitation to be calculated or likely to deceive or injure the public or
proper, it must be compatible with the dignity of the the bar, or to lower dignity or standing of the
3. A relation to clients in the highest degree of
legal profession. If it is made in a modest and profession.
decorous manner, it would bring no injury to the
lawyer and to the bar.[20] Thus, the use of simple The use of an ordinary simple professional card is
4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by
signs stating the name or names of the lawyers, the also permitted. The card may contain only a
candor, fairness, and unwillingness to resort to
office and residence address and fields of practice, as statement of his name, the name of the law firm
current business methods of advertising and
well as advertisement in legal periodicals bearing the which he is connected with, address, telephone
encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly
same brief data, are permissible. Even the use of number and special branch of law practiced. The
with their clients.[16]
calling cards is now acceptable.[21]Publication in publication of a simple announcement of the opening
There is no question that respondent committed the reputable law lists, in a manner consistent with the of a law firm or of changes in the partnership,
acts complained of. He himself admits that he caused standards of conduct imposed by the canon, of brief associates, firm name or office address, being for the
the publication of the advertisements. While he biographical and informative data is likewise convenience of the profession, is not
professes repentance and begs for the Courts objectionable. He may likewise have his name listed
in a telephone directory but not under a designation Annex A practice of law but in the rendering of "legal support
of special branch of law. (emphasis and italics services" through paralegals with the use of modern
supplied) SECRET MARRIAGE? computers and electronic machines. Respondent
P560.00 for a valid marriage. further argues that assuming that the services
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. advertised are legal services, the act of advertising
respondent RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO is found ANNULMENT. VISA. these services should be allowed supposedly
GUILTY of violation of Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van
Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, THE Please call: 521-0767 LEGAL 5217232,
O'Steen vs. State Bar of Arizona, 2 reportedly decided
Section 27 of the Rules of Court. He is 5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 am— 6:00 pm 7-Flr.
by the United States Supreme Court on June 7, 1977.
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Mla.
YEAR effective upon receipt of this Resolution. He Considering the critical implications on the legal
Annex B
is likewise STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of profession of the issues raised herein, we required
the same or similar offense will be dealt with more GUAM DIVORCE. the (1) Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), (2)
severely. Philippine Bar Association (PBA), (3) Philippine
DON PARKINSON Lawyers' Association (PLA), (4) U.P. Womens
Let copies of this Resolution be entered in his record Lawyers' Circle (WILOCI), (5) Women Lawyers
as attorney and be furnished the Integrated Bar of the an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on
Association of the Philippines (WLAP), and (6)
Philippines and all courts in the country for their Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning
Federacion International de Abogadas (FIDA) to
information and guidance. Monday to Friday during office hours.
submit their respective position papers on the
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration controversy and, thereafter, their memoranda. 3 The
Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. & said bar associations readily responded and extended
Bar Matter No. 553 June 17, 1993 Special Retiree's Visa. Declaration of Absence. their valuable services and cooperation of which this
Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Court takes note with appreciation and gratitude.
MAURICIO C. ULEP, petitioner,
Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa for Filipina
vs. The main issues posed for resolution before the
Spouse/Children. Call Marivic.
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC., respondent. Court are whether or not the services offered by
THE 7F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave., LEGAL respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., as advertised by
R E SO L U T I O N it constitutes practice of law and, in either case,
Ermita, Manila nr. US Embassy CLINIC, INC. 1 Tel.
521-7232; 521-7251; 522-2041; 521-0767 whether the same can properly be the subject of the
advertisements herein complained of.
REGALADO, J.: It is the submission of petitioner that the
advertisements above reproduced are champterous, Before proceeding with an in-depth analysis of the
Petitioner prays this Court "to order the respondent unethical, demeaning of the law profession, and merits of this case, we deem it proper and
to cease and desist from issuing advertisements destructive of the confidence of the community in enlightening to present hereunder excerpts from the
similar to or of the same tenor as that of annexes "A" the integrity of the members of the bar and that, as a respective position papers adopted by the
and "B" (of said petition) and to perpetually prohibit member of the legal profession, he is ashamed and aforementioned bar associations and the memoranda
persons or entities from making advertisements offended by the said advertisements, hence the submitted by them on the issues involved in this bar
pertaining to the exercise of the law profession other reliefs sought in his petition as hereinbefore quoted. matter.
than those allowed by law."
In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the 1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines:
The advertisements complained of by herein fact of publication of said advertisement at its
xxx xxx xxx
petitioner are as follows: instance, but claims that it is not engaged in the
Notwithstanding the subtle manner by which offering legal services. The Petition in fact simply It may be conceded that, as the respondent claims,
respondent endeavored to distinguish the two assumes this to be so, as earlier mentioned, the advertisements in question are only meant to
terms,i.e., "legal support services" vis-a-vis "legal apparently because this (is) the effect that the inform the general public of the services being
services", common sense would readily dictate that advertisements have on the reading public. offered by it. Said advertisements, however,
the same are essentially without substantial emphasize to Guam divorce, and any law student
distinction. For who could deny that document The impression created by the advertisements in ought to know that under the Family Code, there is
search, evidence gathering, assistance to layman in question can be traced, first of all, to the very name only one instance when a foreign divorce is
need of basic institutional services from government being used by respondent — "The Legal Clinic, Inc." recognized, and that is:
or non-government agencies like birth, marriage, Such a name, it is respectfully submitted connotes
property, or business registration, obtaining the rendering of legal services for legal problems, Article 26. . . .
documents like clearance, passports, local or foreign just like a medical clinic connotes medical services
for medical problems. More importantly, the term Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a
visas, constitutes practice of law?
"Legal Clinic" connotes lawyers, as the term medical foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is
xxx xxx xxx clinic connotes doctors. thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien
spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) does not Furthermore, the respondent's name, as published in Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under
wish to make issue with respondent's foreign the advertisements subject of the present case, Philippine Law.
citations. Suffice it to state that the IBP has made its appears with (the) scale(s) of justice, which all the
position manifest, to wit, that it strongly opposes the more reinforces the impression that it is being It must not be forgotten, too, that the Family Code
view espoused by respondent (to the effect that today operated by members of the bar and that it offers (defines) a marriage as follows:
it is alright to advertise one's legal services). legal services. In addition, the advertisements in
Article 1. Marriage is special contract of permanent
question appear with a picture and name of a person
The IBP accordingly declares in no uncertain terms union between a man and woman entered into
being represented as a lawyer from Guam, and this
its opposition to respondent's act of establishing a accordance with law for the establishment of
practically removes whatever doubt may still remain
"legal clinic" and of concomitantly advertising the conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the
as to the nature of the service or services being
same through newspaper publications. family and an inviolable social institution whose
nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by
The IBP would therefore invoke the administrative It thus becomes irrelevant whether respondent is law and not subject to stipulation, except that
supervision of this Honorable Court to perpetually merely offering "legal support services" as claimed marriage settlements may fix the property relation
restrain respondent from undertaking highly by it, or whether it offers legal services as any during the marriage within the limits provided by
unethical activities in the field of law practice as lawyer actively engaged in law practice does. And it this Code.
aforedescribed. 4 becomes unnecessary to make a distinction between
By simply reading the questioned advertisements, it
"legal services" and "legal support services," as the
xxx xxx xxx is obvious that the message being conveyed is that
respondent would have it. The advertisements in
Filipinos can avoid the legal consequences of a
A. The use of the name "The Legal Clinic, Inc." question leave no room for doubt in the minds of the
marriage celebrated in accordance with our law, by
gives the impression that respondent corporation is reading public that legal services are being offered
simply going to Guam for a divorce. This is not only
being operated by lawyers and that it renders legal by lawyers, whether true or not.
misleading, but encourages, or serves to induce,
services. violation of Philippine law. At the very least, this can
B. The advertisements in question are meant to
induce the performance of acts contrary to law, be considered "the dark side" of legal practice, where
While the respondent repeatedly denies that it offers
morals, public order and public policy. certain defects in Philippine laws are exploited for
legal services to the public, the advertisements in
the sake of profit. At worst, this is outright
question give the impression that respondent is
Rule 1.02. — A lawyer shall not counsel or abet morals, good customs and the public good, thereby without tolerating, but instead ensuring prevention of
activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening destroying and demeaning the integrity of the Bar. illegal practice.
confidence in the legal system.
xxx xxx xxx There might be nothing objectionable if respondent
In addition, it may also be relevant to point out that is allowed to perform all of its services, but only if
advertisements such as that shown in Annex "A" of It is respectfully submitted that respondent should be such services are made available exclusively to
the Petition, which contains a cartoon of a motor enjoined from causing the publication of the members of the Bench and Bar. Respondent would
vehicle with the words "Just Married" on its bumper advertisements in question, or any other then be offering technical assistance, not legal
and seems to address those planning a "secret advertisements similar thereto. It is also submitted services. Alternatively, the more difficult task of
marriage," if not suggesting a "secret marriage," that respondent should be prohibited from further carefully distinguishing between which service may
makes light of the "special contract of permanent performing or offering some of the services it be offered to the public in general and which should
union," the inviolable social institution," which is presently offers, or, at the very least, from offering be made available exclusively to members of the Bar
how the Family Code describes marriage, obviously such services to the public in general. may be undertaken. This, however, may require
to emphasize its sanctity and inviolability. Worse, further proceedings because of the factual
The IBP is aware of the fact that providing
this particular advertisement appears to encourage considerations involved.
computerized legal research, electronic data
marriages celebrated in secrecy, which is suggestive
gathering, storage and retrieval, standardized legal It must be emphasized, however, that some of
of immoral publication of applications for a marriage
forms, investigators for gathering of evidence, and respondent's services ought to be prohibited outright,
like services will greatly benefit the legal profession such as acts which tend to suggest or induce
If the article "Rx for Legal Problems" is to be and should not be stifled but instead encouraged. celebration abroad of marriages which are bigamous
reviewed, it can readily be concluded that the above However, when the conduct of such business by non- or otherwise illegal and void under Philippine law.
impressions one may gather from the advertisements members of the Bar encroaches upon the practice of While respondent may not be prohibited from simply
in question are accurate. The Sharon Cuneta-Gabby law, there can be no choice but to prohibit such disseminating information regarding such matters, it
Concepcion example alone confirms what the business. must be required to include, in the information
advertisements suggest. Here it can be seen that given, a disclaimer that it is not authorized to
Admittedly, many of the services involved in the
criminal acts are being encouraged or committed practice law, that certain course of action may be
case at bar can be better performed by specialists in
(a bigamous marriage in Hong Kong or Las Vegas) illegal under Philippine law, that it is not authorized
other fields, such as computer experts, who by
with impunity simply because the jurisdiction of or capable of rendering a legal opinion, that a lawyer
reason of their having devoted time and effort
Philippine courts does not extend to the place where should be consulted before deciding on which course
exclusively to such field cannot fulfill the exacting
the crime is committed. of action to take, and that it cannot recommend any
requirements for admission to the Bar. To prohibit
particular lawyer without subjecting itself to possible
Even if it be assumed, arguendo, (that) the "legal them from "encroaching" upon the legal profession
sanctions for illegal practice of law.
support services" respondent offers do not constitute will deny the profession of the great benefits and
legal services as commonly understood, the advantages of modern technology. Indeed, a lawyer If respondent is allowed to advertise, advertising
advertisements in question give the impression that using a computer will be doing better than a lawyer should be directed exclusively at members of the
respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers using a typewriter, even if both are (equal) in skill. Bar, with a clear and unmistakable disclaimer that it
and that it offers legal services, as earlier discussed. is not authorized to practice law or perform legal
Both the Bench and the Bar, however, should be
Thus, the only logical consequence is that, in the services.
careful not to allow or tolerate the illegal practice of
eyes of an ordinary newspaper reader, members of
law in any form, not only for the protection of The benefits of being assisted by paralegals cannot
the bar themselves are encouraging or inducing the
members of the Bar but also, and more importantly, be ignored. But nobody should be allowed to
performance of acts which are contrary to law,
for the protection of the public. Technological represent himself as a "paralegal" for profit, without
development in the profession may be encouraged such term being clearly defined by rule or regulation,
and without any adequate and effective means of is the scheme or device by which respondent "The general public as enunciated in the Primary Purpose
regulating his activities. Also, law practice in a Legal Clinic, Inc." holds out itself to the public and Clause of its Article(s) of Incorporation. (See pages
corporate form may prove to be advantageous to the solicits employment of its legal services. It is 2 to 5 of Respondent's Comment). But its advertised
legal profession, but before allowance of such an odious vehicle for deception, especially so when services, as enumerated above, clearly and
practice may be considered, the corporation's Article the public cannot ventilate any grievance convincingly show that it is indeed engaged in law
of Incorporation and By-laws must conform to each for malpractice against the business conduit. practice, albeit outside of court.
and every provision of the Code of Professional Precisely, the limitation of practice of law to persons
Responsibility and the Rules of Court. 5 who have been duly admitted as members of the Bar As advertised, it offers the general public its
(Sec. 1, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court) is to advisory services on Persons and Family Relations
2. Philippine Bar Association: subject the members to the discipline of the Supreme Law, particularly regarding foreign divorces,
Court. Although respondent uses its business name, annulment of marriages, secret marriages, absence
xxx xxx xxx. and adoption; Immigration Laws, particularly on visa
the persons and the lawyers who act for it are subject
to court discipline. The practice of law is not a related problems, immigration problems; the
Respondent asserts that it "is not engaged in the
profession open to all who wish to engage in it nor Investments Law of the Philippines and such other
practice of law but engaged in giving legal support
can it be assigned to another (See 5 Am. Jur. 270). It related laws.
services to lawyers and laymen, through experienced
paralegals, with the use of modern computers and is a personal right limited to persons who have
Its advertised services unmistakably require the
electronic machines" (pars. 2 and 3, Comment). This qualified themselves under the law. It follows that
application of the aforesaid law, the legal principles
is absurd. Unquestionably, respondent's acts of not only respondent but also all the persons who are
and procedures related thereto, the legal advices
holding out itself to the public under the trade name acting for respondent are the persons engaged in
based thereon and which activities call for legal
"The Legal Clinic, Inc.," and soliciting employment unethical law practice. 6
training, knowledge and experience.
for its enumerated services fall within the realm of a
3. Philippine Lawyers' Association:
practice which thus yields itself to the regulatory Applying the test laid down by the Court in the
powers of the Supreme Court. For respondent to say The Philippine Lawyers' Association's position, in aforecited Agrava Case, the activities of respondent
that it is merely engaged in paralegal work is to answer to the issues stated herein, are wit: fall squarely and are embraced in what lawyers and
stretch credulity. Respondent's own commercial laymen equally term as "the practice of law." 7
advertisement which announces a certain Atty. Don 1. The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law;
Parkinson to be handling the fields of law belies its 4. U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle:
pretense. From all indications, respondent "The 2. Such practice is unauthorized;
In resolving, the issues before this Honorable Court,
Legal Clinic, Inc." is offering and rendering legal
3. The advertisements complained of are not only paramount consideration should be given to the
services through its reserve of lawyers. It has been
unethical, but also misleading and patently immoral; protection of the general public from the danger of
held that the practice of law is not limited to the
and being exploited by unqualified persons or entities
conduct of cases in court, but includes drawing of
who may be engaged in the practice of law.
deeds, incorporation, rendering opinions, and 4. The Honorable Supreme Court has the power to
advising clients as to their legal right and then take supress and punish the Legal Clinic and its corporate At present, becoming a lawyer requires one to take a
them to an attorney and ask the latter to look after officers for its unauthorized practice of law and for rigorous four-year course of study on top of a four-
their case in court See Martin, Legal and Judicial its unethical, misleading and immoral advertising. year bachelor of arts or sciences course and then to
Ethics, 1984 ed., p. 39). take and pass the bar examinations. Only then, is a
xxx xxx xxx lawyer qualified to practice law.
It is apt to recall that only natural persons can
engage in the practice of law, and such limitation Respondent posits that is it not engaged in the While the use of a paralegal is sanctioned in many
cannot be evaded by a corporation employing practice of law. It claims that it merely renders "legal jurisdiction as an aid to the administration of justice,
competent lawyers to practice for it. Obviously, this support services" to answers, litigants and the
there are in those jurisdictions, courses of study Respondent's allegations are further belied by the possible in this country for a fee, when in fact it is
and/or standards which would qualify these very admissions of its President and majority not so, are highly reprehensible.
paralegals to deal with the general public as such. stockholder, Atty. Nogales, who gave an insight on
While it may now be the opportune time to establish the structure and main purpose of Respondent It would encourage people to consult this clinic
these courses of study and/or standards, the fact corporation in the aforementioned "Starweek" about how they could go about having a secret
remains that at present, these do not exist in the article." 9 marriage here, when it cannot nor should ever be
Philippines. In the meantime, this Honorable Court attempted, and seek advice on divorce, where in this
may decide to make measures to protect the general 5. Women Lawyer's Association of the Philippines: country there is none, except under the Code of
public from being exploited by those who may be Muslim Personal Laws in the Philippines. It is also
Annexes "A" and "B" of the petition are clearly against good morals and is deceitful because it
dealing with the general public in the guise of being
advertisements to solicit cases for the purpose of falsely represents to the public to be able to do that
"paralegals" without being qualified to do so.
gain which, as provided for under the above cited which by our laws cannot be done (and) by our Code
In the same manner, the general public should also law, (are) illegal and against the Code of of Morals should not be done.
be protected from the dangers which may be brought Professional Responsibility of lawyers in this
about by advertising of legal services. While it country. In the case (of) In re Taguda, 53 Phil. 37, the
appears that lawyers are prohibited under the present Supreme Court held that solicitation for clients by an
Annex "A" of the petition is not only illegal in that it attorney by circulars of advertisements, is
Code of Professional Responsibility from
is an advertisement to solicit cases, but it is illegal in unprofessional, and offenses of this character justify
advertising, it appears in the instant case that legal
that in bold letters it announces that the Legal Clinic, permanent elimination from the Bar. 10
services are being advertised not by lawyers but by
Inc., could work out/cause the celebration of a secret
an entity staffed by "paralegals." Clearly, measures
marriage which is not only illegal but immoral in this 6. Federacion Internacional de Abogados:
should be taken to protect the general public from
country. While it is advertised that one has to go to
falling prey to those who advertise legal services xxx xxx xxx
said agency and pay P560 for a valid marriage it is
without being qualified to offer such services. 8
certainly fooling the public for valid marriages in the
1.7 That entities admittedly not engaged in the
A perusal of the questioned advertisements of Philippines are solemnized only by officers
practice of law, such as management consultancy
Respondent, however, seems to give the impression authorized to do so under the law. And to employ an
firms or travel agencies, whether run by lawyers or
that information regarding validity of marriages, agency for said purpose of contracting marriage is
not, perform the services rendered by Respondent
divorce, annulment of marriage, immigration, visa not necessary.
does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that
extensions, declaration of absence, adoption and Respondent is not unlawfully practicing law. In the
No amount of reasoning that in the USA, Canada
foreign investment, which are in essence, legal same vein, however, the fact that the business of
and other countries the trend is towards allowing
matters , will be given to them if they avail of its respondent (assuming it can be engaged in
lawyers to advertise their special skills to enable
services. The Respondent's name — The Legal independently of the practice of law) involves
people to obtain from qualified practitioners legal
Clinic, Inc. — does not help matters. It gives the knowledge of the law does not necessarily make
services for their particular needs can justify the use
impression again that Respondent will or can cure respondent guilty of unlawful practice of law.
of advertisements such as are the subject matter of
the legal problems brought to them. Assuming that
the petition, for one (cannot) justify an illegal act
Respondent is, as claimed, staffed purely by . . . . Of necessity, no one . . . . acting as a consultant
even by whatever merit the illegal act may serve.
paralegals, it also gives the misleading impression can render effective service unless he is familiar with
The law has yet to be amended so that such act could
that there are lawyers involved in The Legal Clinic, such statutes and regulations. He must be careful not
become justifiable.
Inc., as there are doctors in any medical clinic, when to suggest a course of conduct which the law forbids.
only "paralegals" are involved in The Legal Clinic, We submit further that these advertisements that It seems . . . .clear that (the consultant's) knowledge
Inc. seem to project that secret marriages and divorce are of the law, and his use of that knowledge as a factor
in determining what measures he shall recommend,
do not constitute the practice of law . . . . It is not responsibility in employee matters to a management without a mediator. This is not per se the practice of
only presumed that all men know the law, but it is a group chosen for their practical knowledge and skill law. Anyone may use an agent for negotiations and
fact that most men have considerable acquaintance in such matter, and without regard to legal thinking may select an agent particularly skilled in the subject
with broad features of the law . . . . Our knowledge or lack of it. More recently, consultants like the under discussion, and the person appointed is free to
of the law — accurate or inaccurate — moulds our defendants have the same service that the larger accept the employment whether or not he is a
conduct not only when we are acting for ourselves, employers get from their own specialized staff. member of the bar. Here, however, there may be an
but when we are serving others. Bankers, liquor exception where the business turns on a question of
dealers and laymen generally possess rather precise The handling of industrial relations is growing into a law. Most real estate sales are negotiated by brokers
knowledge of the laws touching their particular recognized profession for which appropriate courses who are not lawyers. But if the value of the land
business or profession. A good example is the are offered by our leading universities. The court depends on a disputed right-of-way and the principal
architect, who must be familiar with zoning, building should be very cautious about declaring [that] a role of the negotiator is to assess the probable
and fire prevention codes, factory and tenement widespread, well-established method of conducting outcome of the dispute and persuade the opposite
house statutes, and who draws plans and business is unlawful, or that the considerable class of party to the same opinion, then it may be that only a
specification in harmony with the law. This is not men who customarily perform a certain function lawyer can accept the assignment. Or if a
practicing law. have no right to do so, or that the technical education controversy between an employer and his men grows
given by our schools cannot be used by the graduates from differing interpretations of a contract, or of a
But suppose the architect, asked by his client to omit in their business. statute, it is quite likely that defendant should not
a fire tower, replies that it is required by the statute. handle it. But I need not reach a definite conclusion
Or the industrial relations expert cites, in support of In determining whether a man is practicing law, we
here, since the situation is not presented by the
some measure that he recommends, a decision of the should consider his work for any particular client or
National Labor Relations Board. Are they practicing customer, as a whole. I can imagine defendant being
law? In my opinion, they are not, provided no engaged primarily to advise as to the law defining Defendant also appears to represent the employer
separate fee is charged for the legal advice or his client's obligations to his employees, to guide his before administrative agencies of the federal
information, and the legal question is subordinate client's obligations to his employees, to guide his government, especially before trial examiners of the
and incidental to a major non-legal problem. client along the path charted by law. This, of course, National Labor Relations Board. An agency of the
would be the practice of the law. But such is not the federal government, acting by virtue of an authority
It is largely a matter of degree and of custom. fact in the case before me. Defendant's primarily granted by the Congress, may regulate the
efforts are along economic and psychological lines. representation of parties before such agency. The
If it were usual for one intending to erect a building The law only provides the frame within which he State of New Jersey is without power to interfere
on his land to engage a lawyer to advise him and the must work, just as the zoning code limits the kind of with such determination or to forbid representation
architect in respect to the building code and the like, building the limits the kind of building the architect before the agency by one whom the agency admits.
then an architect who performed this function would may plan. The incidental legal advice or information The rules of the National Labor Relations Board give
probably be considered to be trespassing on territory defendant may give, does not transform his activities to a party the right to appear in person, or by
reserved for licensed attorneys. Likewise, if the into the practice of law. Let me add that if, even as a counsel, or by other representative. Rules and
industrial relations field had been pre-empted by minor feature of his work, he performed services Regulations, September 11th, 1946, S. 203.31.
lawyers, or custom placed a lawyer always at the which are customarily reserved to members of the 'Counsel' here means a licensed attorney, and ther
elbow of the lay personnel man. But this is not the bar, he would be practicing law. For instance, if as representative' one not a lawyer. In this phase of his
case. The most important body of the industrial part of a welfare program, he drew employees' wills. work, defendant may lawfully do whatever the Labor
relations experts are the officers and business agents
Board allows, even arguing questions purely legal.
of the labor unions and few of them are lawyers. Another branch of defendant's work is the
(Auerbacher v. Wood, 53 A. 2d 800, cited in Statsky,
Among the larger corporate employers, it has been representations of the employer in the adjustment of
Introduction to Paralegalism [1974], at pp. 154-
the practice for some years to delegate special grievances and in collective bargaining, with or
1.8 From the foregoing, it can be said that a person not constitute of law. The business is similar to that defendant maintaining an office for the purpose of
engaged in a lawful calling (which may involve of a bookstore where the customer buys materials on selling to persons seeking a divorce, separation,
knowledge of the law) is not engaged in the practice the subject and determines on the subject and annulment or separation agreement any printed
of law provided that: determines by himself what courses of action to take. material or writings relating to matrimonial law or
the prohibition in the memorandum of modification
(a) The legal question is subordinate and incidental It is not entirely improbable, however, that aside of the judgment against defendant having an interest
to a major non-legal problem;. from purely giving information, the Legal Clinic's in any publishing house publishing his manuscript on
paralegals may apply the law to the particular divorce and against his having any personal contact
(b) The services performed are not customarily problem of the client, and give legal advice. Such with any prospective purchaser. The record does
reserved to members of the bar; . would constitute unauthorized practice of law. fully support, however, the finding that for the
(c) No separate fee is charged for the legal advice or change of $75 or $100 for the kit, the defendant gave
It cannot be claimed that the publication of a legal
information. legal advice in the course of personal contacts
text which publication of a legal text which purports
concerning particular problems which might arise in
to say what the law is amount to legal practice. And
All these must be considered in relation to the work the preparation and presentation of the purchaser's
the mere fact that the principles or rules stated in the
for any particular client as a whole. asserted matrimonial cause of action or pursuit of
text may be accepted by a particular reader as a
other legal remedies and assistance in the preparation
1.9. If the person involved is both lawyer and non- solution to his problem does not affect this. . . . .
of necessary documents (The injunction therefore
lawyer, the Code of Professional Responsibility Apparently it is urged that the conjoining of these
sought to) enjoin conduct constituting the practice of
succintly states the rule of conduct: two, that is, the text and the forms, with advice as to
law, particularly with reference to the giving of
how the forms should be filled out, constitutes the
Rule 15.08 — A lawyer who is engaged in another advice and counsel by the defendant relating to
unlawful practice of law. But that is the situation
profession or occupation concurrently with the specific problems of particular individuals in
with many approved and accepted texts. Dacey's
practice of law shall make clear to his client whether connection with a divorce, separation, annulment of
book is sold to the public at large. There is no
he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity. separation agreement sought and should be affirmed.
personal contact or relationship with a particular
(State v. Winder, 348, NYS 2D 270 [1973], cited in
individual. Nor does there exist that relation of
1.10. In the present case. the Legal Clinic appears to Statsky, supra at p. 101.).
confidence and trust so necessary to the status of
render wedding services (See Annex "A" Petition).
attorney and client. THIS IS THE ESSENTIAL OF 1.12. Respondent, of course, states that its services
Services on routine, straightforward marriages, like
LEGAL PRACTICE — THE REPRESENTATION are "strictly non-diagnostic, non-advisory. "It is not
securing a marriage license, and making
AND ADVISING OF A PARTICULAR PERSON IN controverted, however, that if the services "involve
arrangements with a priest or a judge, may not
A PARTICULAR SITUATION. At most the book giving legal advice or counselling," such would
constitute practice of law. However, if the problem is
assumes to offer general advice on common constitute practice of law (Comment, par. 6.2). It is
as complicated as that described in "Rx for Legal
problems, and does not purport to give personal in this light that FIDA submits that a factual inquiry
Problems" on the Sharon Cuneta-Gabby
advice on a specific problem peculiar to a designated may be necessary for the judicious disposition of this
Concepcion-Richard Gomez case, then what may be
or readily identified person. Similarly the defendant's case.
involved is actually the practice of law. If a non-
publication does not purport to give personal advice
lawyer, such as the Legal Clinic, renders such
on a specific problem peculiar to a designated or xxx xxx xxx
services then it is engaged in the unauthorized
readily identified person in a particular situation —
practice of law. 2.10. Annex "A" may be ethically objectionable in
in their publication and sale of the kits, such
publication and sale did not constitutes the unlawful that it can give the impression (or perpetuate the
1.11. The Legal Clinic also appears to give
practice of law . . . . There being no legal wrong notion) that there is a secret marriage. With
information on divorce, absence, annulment of
impediment under the statute to the sale of the kit, all the solemnities, formalities and other requisites of
marriage and visas (See Annexes "A" and "B"
Petition). Purely giving informational materials may there was no proper basis for the injunction against
marriages (See Articles 2, et seq., Family Code), no according to law, in order to assist in proper corporations as to their right under the law, or
Philippine marriage can be secret. interpretation and enforcement of law. 14 appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in
proceedings, pending or prospective, before any
2.11. Annex "B" may likewise be ethically When a person participates in the a trial and court, commissioner, referee, board, body,
objectionable. The second paragraph thereof (which advertises himself as a lawyer, he is in the practice of committee, or commission constituted by law or
is not necessarily related to the first paragraph) fails law. 15 One who confers with clients, advises them as authorized to settle controversies and there, in such
to state the limitation that only "paralegal services?" to their legal rights and then takes the business to an representative capacity, performs any act or acts for
or "legal support services", and not legal services, attorney and asks the latter to look after the case in the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of
are available." 11 court, is also practicing law. 16 Giving advice for their clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one
compensation regarding the legal status and rights of who, in a representative capacity, engages in the
A prefatory discussion on the meaning of the phrase another and the conduct with respect thereto business of advising clients as to their rights under
"practice of law" becomes exigent for the proper constitutes a practice of law. 17 One who renders an the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts
determination of the issues raised by the petition at opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is
bar. On this score, we note that the clause "practice and receives pay for it, is, to that extent, practicing engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel.
of law" has long been the subject of judicial law. 18 Mckittrick v. C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S. W. 2d
construction and interpretation. The courts have laid
895, 340 Mo. 852).
down general principles and doctrines explaining the In the recent case of Cayetano vs. Monsod, 19 after
meaning and scope of the term, some of which we citing the doctrines in several cases, we laid down This Court, in the case of Philippines Lawyers
now take into account. the test to determine whether certain acts constitute Association v. Agrava (105 Phil. 173, 176-
"practice of law," thus: 177),stated:
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court,
which requires the application of law, legal Black defines "practice of law" as: The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of
procedures, knowledge, training and experience. To cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts The rendition of services requiring the knowledge
preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to
which are characteristic of the profession. Generally, and the application of legal principles and technique
actions and special proceedings, the management of
to practice law is to give advice or render any kind of to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is
such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients
service that involves legal knowledge or skill. 12 not limited to appearing in court, or advising and
before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying.
assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces
In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of the preparation of pleadings, and other papers
for them in matters connected with the law
cases in court. It includes legal advice and counsel, incident to actions and special proceedings,
incorporation services, assessment and
and the preparation of legal instruments and contract conveyancing, the preparation of legal instruments of
condemnation services contemplating an appearance
by which legal rights are secured, although such all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients.
before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage,
matter may or may not be pending in a court. 13 It embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken
enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and
for them in matters connected with the law.
In the practice of his profession, a licensed attorney insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings
at law generally engages in three principal types of The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of in attachment, and in matters or estate and
professional activity: legal advice and instructions to cases on court.(Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. guardianship have been held to constitute law
clients to inform them of their rights and obligations, Dworken , 129 Ohio St. 23, 193N. E. 650). A person practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal
preparation for clients of documents requiring is also considered to be in the practice of law when instruments, where the work done involves the
knowledge of legal principles not possessed by he: determination by the trained legal mind of the legal
ordinary layman, and appearance for clients before effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262,
public tribunals which possess power and authority . . . . for valuable consideration engages in the 263).
to determine rights of life, liberty, and property business of advising person, firms, associations or
Practice of law under modern conditions consists in considered nor sustained. Said proposition is belied What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation
no small part of work performed outside of any court by respondent's own description of the services it has gives out legal information to laymen and lawyers.
and having no immediate relation to proceedings in been offering, to wit: Its contention that such function is non-advisory and
court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal non-diagnostic is more apparent than real. In
advice on a large variety of subjects and the Legal support services basically consists of giving providing information, for example, about foreign
preparation and execution of legal instruments ready information by trained paralegals to laymen laws on marriage, divorce and adoption, it strains the
covering an extensive field of business and trust and lawyers, which are strictly non-diagnostic, non- credulity of this Court that all the respondent
relations and other affairs. Although these advisory, through the extensive use of computers and corporation will simply do is look for the law,
transactions may have no direct connection with modern information technology in the gathering, furnish a copy thereof to the client, and stop there as
court proceedings, they are always subject to become processing, storage, transmission and reproduction of if it were merely a bookstore. With its attorneys and
involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a information and communication, such as so called paralegals, it will necessarily have to
high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with computerized legal research; encoding and explain to the client the intricacies of the law and
men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to reproduction of documents and pleadings prepared advise him or her on the proper course of action to
difficult and complex situations. These customary by laymen or lawyers; document search; evidence be taken as may be provided for by said law. That is
functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an gathering; locating parties or witnesses to a case; fact what its advertisements represent and for the which
intimate relation to the administration of justice by finding investigations; and assistance to laymen in services it will consequently charge and be paid.
the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns need of basic institutional services from government That activity falls squarely within the jurisprudential
the question set forth in the order, can be drawn or non-government agencies, like birth, marriage, definition of "practice of law." Such a conclusion
between that part of the work of the lawyer which property, or business registrations; educational or will not be altered by the fact that respondent
involves appearance in court and that part which employment records or certifications, obtaining corporation does not represent clients in court since
involves advice and drafting of instruments in his documentation like clearances, passports, local or law practice, as the weight of authority holds, is not
office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public foreign visas; giving information about laws of other limited merely giving legal advice, contract drafting
that these manifold customary functions be countries that they may find useful, like foreign and so forth.
performed by persons possessed of adequate learning divorce, marriage or adoption laws that they can
and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all avail of preparatory to emigration to the foreign The aforesaid conclusion is further strengthened by
times under the heavy trust obligations to clients country, and other matters that do not involve an article published in the January 13, 1991 issue of
which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments representation of clients in court; designing and the Starweek/The Sunday Magazine of the
on the Rules o Court, Vol. 3 [1973 ed.], pp. 665-666, installing computer systems, programs, or software Philippines Star, entitled "Rx for Legal Problems,"
citing In Re Opinion of the Justices [Mass], 194 N. for the efficient management of law offices, where an insight into the structure, main purpose and
E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. corporate legal departments, courts and other entities operations of respondent corporation was given by
Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 197 A. 139, 144). engaged in dispensing or administering legal its own "proprietor," Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales:
services. 20
The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide range This is the kind of business that is transacted
of activities in and out of court. Applying the While some of the services being offered by everyday at The Legal Clinic, with offices on the
aforementioned criteria to the case at bar, we agree respondent corporation merely involve mechanical seventh floor of the Victoria Building along U. N.
with the perceptive findings and observations of the and technical knowhow, such as the installation of Avenue in Manila. No matter what the client's
aforestated bar associations that the activities of computer systems and programs for the efficient problem, and even if it is as complicated as the
respondent, as advertised, constitute "practice of management of law offices, or the computerization Cuneta-Concepcion domestic situation, Atty.
law." of research aids and materials, these will not suffice Nogales and his staff of lawyers, who, like doctors
to justify an exception to the general rule. are "specialists" in various fields can take care of it.
The contention of respondent that it merely offers The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and
legal support services can neither be seriously criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor,
litigation, and family law. These specialist are That fact that the corporation employs paralegals to meet the requirements for, and have been admitted
backed up by a battery of paralegals, counsellors and carry out its services is not controlling. What is to, the bar, and various statutes or rules specifically
attorneys. important is that it is engaged in the practice of law so provide. 25 The practice of law is not a lawful
by virtue of the nature of the services it renders business except for members of the bar who have
Atty. Nogales set up The Legal Clinic in 1984. which thereby brings it within the ambit of the complied with all the conditions required by statute
Inspired by the trend in the medical field toward statutory prohibitions against the advertisements and the rules of court. Only those persons are
specialization, it caters to clients who cannot afford which it has caused to be published and are now allowed to practice law who, by reason of
the services of the big law firms. assailed in this proceeding. attainments previously acquired through education
and study, have been recognized by the courts as
The Legal Clinic has regular and walk-in clients. Further, as correctly and appropriately pointed out possessing profound knowledge of legal science
"when they come, we start by analyzing the problem. by the U.P. WILOCI, said reported facts sufficiently entitling them to advise, counsel with, protect, or
That's what doctors do also. They ask you how you establish that the main purpose of respondent is to defend the rights claims, or liabilities of their clients,
contracted what's bothering you, they take your serve as a one-stop-shop of sorts for various legal with respect to the construction, interpretation,
temperature, they observe you for the symptoms and problems wherein a client may avail of legal services operation and effect of law. 26 The justification for
so on. That's how we operate, too. And once the from simple documentation to complex litigation and excluding from the practice of law those not
problem has been categorized, then it's referred to corporate undertakings. Most of these services are admitted to the bar is found, not in the protection of
one of our specialists. undoubtedly beyond the domain of paralegals, but the bar from competition, but in the protection of the
rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged in public from being advised and represented in legal
There are cases which do not, in medical terms,
the practice of law. 22 matters by incompetent and unreliable persons over
require surgery or follow-up treatment. These The
Legal Clinic disposes of in a matter of minutes. whom the judicial department can exercise little
It should be noted that in our jurisdiction the services
"Things like preparing a simple deed of sale or an control. 27
being offered by private respondent which constitute
affidavit of loss can be taken care of by our staff or, practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. We have to necessarily and definitely reject
if this were a hospital the residents or the interns. We Only a person duly admitted as a member of the bar, respondent's position that the concept in the United
can take care of these matters on a while you wait or hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the States of paralegals as an occupation separate from
basis. Again, kung baga sa hospital, out-patient, provisions of the Rules of Court, and who is in good the law profession be adopted in this jurisdiction.
hindi kailangang ma-confine. It's just like a common and regular standing, is entitled to practice law. 23 Whatever may be its merits, respondent cannot but
cold or diarrhea," explains Atty. Nogales.
be aware that this should first be a matter for judicial
Public policy requires that the practice of law be
Those cases which requires more extensive rules or legislative action, and not of unilateral
limited to those individuals found duly qualified in
"treatment" are dealt with accordingly. "If you had a adoption as it has done.
education and character. The permissive right
rich relative who died and named you her sole heir, conferred on the lawyers is an individual and limited Paralegals in the United States are trained
and you stand to inherit millions of pesos of privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain professionals. As admitted by respondent, there are
property, we would refer you to a specialist in proper standards of moral and professional conduct. schools and universities there which offer studies
taxation. There would be real estate taxes and arrears The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the and degrees in paralegal education, while there are
which would need to be put in order, and your client and the bar from the incompetence or none in the Philippines.28 As the concept of the
relative is even taxed by the state for the right to dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and "paralegals" or "legal assistant" evolved in the
transfer her property, and only a specialist in taxation not subject to the disciplinary control of the court. 24 United States, standards and guidelines also evolved
would be properly trained to deal with the problem.
to protect the general public. One of the major
Now, if there were other heirs contesting your rich The same rule is observed in the american
standards or guidelines was developed by the
relatives will, then you would need a litigator, who jurisdiction wherefrom respondent would wish to
American Bar Association which set up Guidelines
knows how to arrange the problem for presentation draw support for his thesis. The doctrines there also
for the Approval of Legal Assistant Education
in court, and gather evidence to support the case. 21 stress that the practice of law is limited to those who
Programs (1973). Legislation has even been Professional Responsibility, the Canons of defiles the temple of justice with mercenary
proposed to certify legal assistants. There are also Professional Ethics had also warned that lawyers activities as the money-changers of old defiled the
associations of paralegals in the United States with should not resort to indirect advertisements for temple of Jehovah. "The most worthy and effective
their own code of professional ethics, such as the professional employment, such as furnishing or advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer, . . .
National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. and inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his . is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for
the American Paralegal Association.29 photograph to be published in connection with professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This
causes in which the lawyer has been or is engaged or cannot be forced but must be the outcome of
In the Philippines, we still have a restricted concept concerning the manner of their conduct, the character and conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.).
and limited acceptance of what may be considered as magnitude of the interest involved, the importance of
paralegal service. As pointed out by FIDA, some the lawyer's position, and all other like self- We repeat, the canon of the profession tell us that the
persons not duly licensed to practice law are or have laudation. 36 best advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-
been allowed limited representation in behalf of merited reputation for professional capacity and
another or to render legal services, but such The standards of the legal profession condemn the fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the
allowable services are limited in scope and extent by lawyer's advertisement of his talents. A lawyer outcome of character and conduct. Good and
the law, rules or regulations granting permission cannot, without violating the ethics of his profession. efficient service to a client as well as to the
therefor. 30 advertise his talents or skill as in a manner similar to community has a way of publicizing itself and
a merchant advertising his goods. 37 The prescription catching public attention. That publicity is a normal
Accordingly, we have adopted the American judicial against advertising of legal services or solicitation of by-product of effective service which is right and
policy that, in the absence of constitutional or legal business rests on the fundamental postulate that proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no
statutory authority, a person who has not been the that the practice of law is a profession. Thus, in artificial stimulus to generate it and to magnify his
admitted as an attorney cannot practice law for the the case of The Director of Religious Affairs. vs. success. He easily sees the difference between a
proper administration of justice cannot be hindered Estanislao R. Bayot 38 an advertisement, similar to normal by-product of able service and the
by the unwarranted intrusion of an unauthorized and those of respondent which are involved in the unwholesome result of propaganda. 40
unskilled person into the practice of law. 31 That present proceeding,39 was held to constitute improper
policy should continue to be one of encouraging advertising or solicitation. Of course, not all types of advertising or solicitation
persons who are unsure of their legal rights and are prohibited. The canons of the profession
remedies to seek legal assistance only from persons The pertinent part of the decision therein reads: enumerate exceptions to the rule against advertising
licensed to practice law in the state. 32 or solicitation and define the extent to which they
It is undeniable that the advertisement in question may be undertaken. The exceptions are of two broad
Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned was a flagrant violation by the respondent of the categories, namely, those which are expressly
advertisements, the Code of Professional ethics of his profession, it being a brazen solicitation allowed and those which are necessarily implied
Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making of business from the public. Section 25 of Rule 127 from the restrictions. 41
known his legal services shall use only true, honest, expressly provides among other things that "the
fair, dignified and objective information or statement practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of The first of such exceptions is the publication in
of facts. 33 He is not supposed to use or permit the gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, reputable law lists, in a manner consistent with the
use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, constitutes malpractice." It is highly unethical for an standards of conduct imposed by the canons, of brief
undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant biographical and informative data. "Such data must
claim regarding his qualifications or legal advertises his wares. Law is a profession and not a not be misleading and may include only a statement
services. 34 Nor shall he pay or give something of trade. The lawyer degrades himself and his of the lawyer's name and the names of his
value to representatives of the mass media in profession who stoops to and adopts the practices of professional associates; addresses, telephone
anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract mercantilism by advertising his services or offering numbers, cable addresses; branches of law practiced;
legal business. 35 Prior to the adoption of the code of them to the public. As a member of the bar, he date and place of birth and admission to the bar;
schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees hold that the same definitely do not and conclusively the publication of advertisements of the kind used by
and other educational distinction; public or quasi- cannot fall under any of the above-mentioned respondent would only serve to aggravate what is
public offices; posts of honor; legal authorships; exceptions. already a deteriorating public opinion of the legal
legal teaching positions; membership and offices in profession whose integrity has consistently been
bar associations and committees thereof, in legal and The ruling in the case of Bates, et al. vs. State Bar of under attack lately by media and the community in
scientific societies and legal fraternities; the fact of Arizona, 45 which is repeatedly invoked and general. At this point in time, it is of utmost
listings in other reputable law lists; the names and constitutes the justification relied upon by importance in the face of such negative, even if
addresses of references; and, with their written respondent, is obviously not applicable to the case at unfair, criticisms at times, to adopt and maintain that
consent, the names of clients regularly bar. Foremost is the fact that the disciplinary rule level of professional conduct which is beyond
represented." 42 involved in said case explicitly allows a lawyer, as reproach, and to exert all efforts to regain the high
an exception to the prohibition against esteem formerly accorded to the legal profession.
The law list must be a reputable law list published advertisements by lawyers, to publish a statement of
primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere legal fees for an initial consultation or the In sum, it is undoubtedly a misbehavior on the part
supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade availability upon request of a written schedule of of the lawyer, subject to disciplinary action, to
journal or periodical which is published principally fees or an estimate of the fee to be charged for the advertise his services except in allowable
for other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not specific services. No such exception is provided for, instances 48 or to aid a layman in the unauthorized
properly publish his brief biographical and expressly or impliedly, whether in our former practice of law. 49 Considering that Atty. Rogelio P.
informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade Canons of Professional Ethics or the present Code of Nogales, who is the prime incorporator, major
journal or society program. Nor may a lawyer permit Professional Responsibility. Besides, even the stockholder and proprietor of The Legal Clinic, Inc.
his name to be published in a law list the conduct, disciplinary rule in the Bates case contains a proviso is a member of the Philippine Bar, he is hereby
management or contents of which are calculated or that the exceptions stated therein are "not applicable reprimanded, with a warning that a repetition of the
likely to deceive or injure the public or the bar, or to in any state unless and until it is implemented by same or similar acts which are involved in this
lower the dignity or standing of the profession. 43 such authority in that state." 46 This goes to show that proceeding will be dealt with more severely.
an exception to the general rule, such as that being
The use of an ordinary simple professional card is invoked by herein respondent, can be made only if While we deem it necessary that the question as to
also permitted. The card may contain only a and when the canons expressly provide for such an the legality or illegality of the purpose/s for which
statement of his name, the name of the law firm exception. Otherwise, the prohibition stands, as in the Legal Clinic, Inc. was created should be passed
which he is connected with, address, telephone the case at bar. upon and determined, we are constrained to refrain
number and special branch of law practiced. The from lapsing into an obiter on that aspect since it is
publication of a simple announcement of the opening It bears mention that in a survey conducted by the clearly not within the adjudicative parameters of the
of a law firm or of changes in the partnership, American Bar Association after the decision in present proceeding which is merely administrative in
associates, firm name or office address, being for the Bates, on the attitude of the public about lawyers nature. It is, of course, imperative that this matter be
convenience of the profession, is not objectionable. after viewing television commercials, it was found promptly determined, albeit in a different proceeding
He may likewise have his name listed in a telephone that public opinion dropped significantly 47 with and forum, since, under the present state of our law
directory but not under a designation of special respect to these characteristics of lawyers: and jurisprudence, a corporation cannot be organized
branch of law. 44 for or engage in the practice of law in this country.
Trustworthy from 71% to 14% This interdiction, just like the rule against unethical
Verily, taking into consideration the nature and Professional from 71% to 14% advertising, cannot be subverted by employing some
contents of the advertisements for which respondent Honest from 65% to 14% so-called paralegals supposedly rendering the alleged
is being taken to task, which even includes a Dignified from 45% to 14% support services.
quotation of the fees charged by said respondent
corporation for services rendered, we find and so Secondly, it is our firm belief that with the present
situation of our legal and judicial systems, to allow
The remedy for the apparent breach of this CANDIDATE FOR THIRD MEMBER inform you that I will receive any work regarding
prohibition by respondent is the concern and Province of Isabela preparations of documents of contract of sales and
province of the Solicitor General who can institute affidavits to be sworn to before me as notary public
the corresponding quo warranto action, 50 after due (NOTE. — As notary public, he can execute for you even on Sundays.
ascertainment of the factual background and basis a deed of sale for the purchase of land as required by
for the grant of respondent's corporate charter, in the cadastral office; can renew lost documents of I would like you all to be informed of this matter for
light of the putative misuse thereof. That spin-off your animals; can make your application and final the reason that some people are in the belief that my
from the instant bar matter is referred to the Solicitor requisites for your homestead; and can execute any residence as member of the Board will be in Ilagan
General for such action as may be necessary under kind of affidavit. As a lawyer, he can help you and that I would then be disqualified to exercise my
the circumstances. collect your loans although long overdue, as well as profession as lawyer and as notary public. Such is
any complaint for or against you. Come or write to not the case and I would make it clear that I am free
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to him in his town, Echague, Isabela. He offers free to exercise my profession as formerly and that I will
RESTRAIN and ENJOIN herein respondent, The consultation, and is willing to help and serve the have my residence here in Echague.
Legal Clinic, Inc., from issuing or causing the poor.)
publication or dissemination of any advertisement in I would request you kind favor to transmit this
any form which is of the same or similar tenor and The respondent further admits that he is the author of information to your barrio people in any of your
purpose as Annexes "A" and "B" of this petition, and a letter addressed to a lieutenant of barrio in his meetings or social gatherings so that they may be
from conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity, home municipality written in Ilocano, which letter, informed of my desire to live and to serve with you
operation or transaction proscribed by law or the in translation, reads as follows: in my capacity as lawyer and notary public. If the
Code of Professional Ethics as indicated herein. Let people in your locality have not as yet contracted the
ECHAGUE, ISABELA, September 18, 1928 services of other lawyers in connection with the
copies of this resolution be furnished the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines, the Office of the Bar registration of their land titles, I would be willing to
MY DEAR LIEUTENANT: I would like to inform
Confidant and the Office of the Solicitor General for handle the work in court and would charge only
you of the approaching date for our induction into
appropriate action in accordance herewith. three pesos for every registration.
office as member of the Provincial Board, that is on
the 16th of next month. Before my induction into Yours respectfully,
office I should be very glad to hear your suggestions
Duran & Lim for respondent. or recommendations for the good of the province in (Sgd.) LUIS TAGORDA
Attorney-General Jaranilla and Provincial Fiscal general and for your barrio in particular. You can Attorney
Jose for the Government. come to my house at any time here in Echague, to Notary Public.
submit to me any kind of suggestion or
MALCOLM, J.: recommendation as you may desire. The facts being conceded, it is next in order to write
down the applicable legal provisions. Section 21 of
The respondent, Luis B. Tagorda, a practising I also inform you that despite my membership in the the Code of Civil Procedure as originally conceived
attorney and a member of the provincial board of Board I will have my residence here in Echague. I related to disbarments of members of the bar. In
Isabela, admits that previous to the last general will attend the session of the Board of Ilagan, but 1919 at the instigation of the Philippine Bar
elections he made use of a card written in Spanish will come back home on the following day here in Association, said codal section was amended by Act
and Ilocano, which, in translation, reads as follows: Echague to live and serve with you as a lawyer and No. 2828 by adding at the end thereof the following:
notary public. Despite my election as member of the "The practice of soliciting cases at law for the
LUIS B. TAGORDA Provincial Board, I will exercise my legal profession purpose of gain, either personally or through paid
Attorney as a lawyer and notary public. In case you cannot see agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice."
Notary Public me at home on any week day, I assure you that you
can always find me there on every Sunday. I also
The statute as amended conforms in principle to the or to breed litigation by seeking out those with The solicitation of employment by an attorney is a
Canons of Professionals Ethics adopted by the claims for personal injuries or those having any other ground for disbarment or suspension. That should be
American Bar Association in 1908 and by the grounds of action in order to secure them as clients, distinctly understood.
Philippine Bar Association in 1917. Canons 27 and or to employ agents or runners for like purposes, or
28 of the Code of Ethics provide: to pay or reward directly or indirectly, those who Giving application of the law and the Canons of
bring or influence the bringing of such cases to his Ethics to the admitted facts, the respondent stands
27. ADVERTISING, DIRECT OR INDIRECT. — office, or to remunerate policemen, court or prison convicted of having solicited cases in defiance of the
The most worthy and effective advertisement officials, physicians, hospital attaches or others who law and those canons. Accordingly, the only
possible, even for a young lawyer, and especially may succeed, under the guise of giving disinterested remaining duty of the court is to fix upon the action
with his brother lawyers, is the establishment of a friendly advice, in influencing the criminal, the sick which should here be taken. The provincial fiscal of
well-merited reputation for professional capacity and and the injured, the ignorant or others, to seek his Isabela, with whom joined the representative of the
fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced, but must be professional services. A duty to the public and to the Attorney-General in the oral presentation of the case,
the outcome of character and conduct. The profession devolves upon every member of the bar suggests that the respondent be only reprimanded.
publication or circulation of ordinary simple having knowledge of such practices upon the part of We think that our action should go further than this
business cards, being a matter of personal taste or any practitioner immediately to inform thereof to the if only to reflect our attitude toward cases of this
local custom, and sometimes of convenience, is end that the offender may be disbarred. character of which unfortunately the respondent's is
not per se improper. But solicitation of business by only one. The commission of offenses of this nature
circulars or advertisements, or by personal Common barratry consisting of frequently stirring up would amply justify permanent elimination from the
communications or interview not warranted by suits and quarrels between individuals was a crime at bar. But as mitigating, circumstances working in
personal relations, is unprofessional. It is equally the common law, and one of the penalties for this favor of the respondent there are, first, his intimation
unprofessional to procure business by indirection offense when committed by an attorney was that he was unaware of the impropriety of his acts,
through touters of any kind, whether allied real estate disbarment. Statutes intended to reach the same evil second, his youth and inexperience at the bar, and,
firms or trust companies advertising to secure the have been provided in a number of jurisdictions third, his promise not to commit a similar mistake in
drawing of deeds or wills or offering retainers in usually at the instance of the bar itself, and have the future. A modest period of suspension would
exchange for executorships or trusteeships to be been upheld as constitutional. The reason behind seem to fit the case of the erring attorney. But it
influenced by the lawyer. Indirect advertisement for statutes of this type is not difficult to discover. The should be distinctly understood that this result is
business by furnishing or inspiring newspaper law is a profession and not a business. The lawyer reached in view of the considerations which have
comments concerning the manner of their conduct, may not seek or obtain employment by himself or influenced the court to the relatively lenient in this
the magnitude of the interest involved, the through others for to do so would be unprofessional. particular instance and should, therefore, not be
importance of the lawyer's position, and all other like (State vs. Rossman [1909], 53 Wash., 1; 17 Ann. taken as indicating that future convictions of practice
self-laudation, defy the traditions and lower the tone Cas., 625; Peoplevs. Mac Cabe [1893], 19 L. R. A., of this kind will not be dealt with by disbarment.
of our high calling, and are intolerable. 231; 2 R. C. L., 1097.)
In view of all the circumstances of this case, the
28. STIRRING UP LITIGATION, DIRECTLY OR It becomes our duty to condemn in no uncertain judgment of the court is that the respondent Luis B.
THROUGH AGENTS. — It is unprofessional for a terms the ugly practice of solicitation of cases by Tagorda be and is hereby suspended from the
lawyer to volunteer advice to bring a lawsuit, except lawyers. It is destructive of the honor of a great practice as an attorney-at-law for the period of one
in rare cases where ties of blood, relationship or trust profession. It lowers the standards of that profession. month from April 1, 1929,
make it his duty to do so. Stirring up strife and It works against the confidence of the community in
litigation is not only unprofessional, but it is the integrity of the members of the bar. It results in Street, Johns, Romualdez, and Villa-Real, JJ.,
indictable at common law. It is disreputable to hunt needless litigation and in incenting to strife concur.
up defects in titles or other causes of action and otherwise peacefully inclined citizens. Johnson, J., reserves his vote.
inform thereof in order to the employed to bring suit,
Adm. Case No. 2131 May 10, 1985
ADRIANO E. DACANAY, complainant McKenzie is a professional partnership organized in Complainant alleges that she is the authorized
vs. 1949 in Chicago, Illinois with members and representative of her sister Flor Borromeo de Leon,
BAKER & MCKENZIE and JUAN G. COLLAS associates in 30 cities around the world. the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 37-14552 for
JR., LUIS MA. GUERRERO, VICENTE A. Respondents, aside from being members of the ejectment filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court of
TORRES, RAFAEL E. EVANGELISTA, JR., Philippine bar, practising under the firm name of Quezon City, Branch 37. A typographical error was
ROMEO L. SALONGA, JOSE R. SANDEJAS, Guerrero & Torres, are members or associates of committed in the complaint which stated that the
LUCAS M. NUNAG, J. CLARO TESORO, Baker & Mckenzie. address of defendant is No. 63-C instead of 63-B, P.
NATIVIDAD B. KWAN and JOSE A. Tuazon Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City. The mistake was
CURAMMENG, JR., respondents. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, respondents' rectified by the filing of an amended complaint
use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie constitutes which was admitted by the Court. A decision was
Adriano E. Dacanay for and his own behalf. a representation that being associated with the firm rendered in favor of the plaintiff who subsequently
they could "render legal services of the highest filed a motion for execution. Complainant however,
Madrid, Cacho, Angeles, Dominguez & Pecson Law quality to multinational business enterprises and was surprised to receive a temporary restraining
Office for respondents. others engaged in foreign trade and investment" (p. order signed by Judge Prudencio Castillo of Branch
3, respondents' memo). This is unethical because 220, RTC, Quezon City, where Atty. Rolando
Baker & McKenzie is not authorized to practise law Gatdula is the Branch Clerk of Court, enjoining the
AQUINO, J.: here. (See Ruben E. Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 1983 Ed., execution of the decision of the Metropolitan Trial
p. 115.) Court. Complainant alleges that the issuance of the
Lawyer Adriano E. Dacanay, admitted to the bar in
temporary restraining order was hasty and irregular
1954, in his 1980 verified complaint, sought to WHEREFORE, the respondents are enjoined from
as she was never notified of the application for
enjoin Juan G. Collas, Jr. and nine other lawyers practising law under the firm name Baker &
preliminary injunction.
from practising law under the name of Baker & McKenzie.
McKenzie, a law firm organized in Illinois. Complainant further alleges that when she went to
Branch 220, RTC, Quezon City, to inquire about the
In a letter dated November 16, 1979 respondent
[A.M. No. P-99-1292. February 26, 1999] reason for the issuance of the temporary restraining
Vicente A. Torres, using the letterhead of Baker &
order, respondent Atty. Rolando Gatdula, blamed her
McKenzie, which contains the names of the ten JULIETA BORROMEO lawyer for writing the wrong address in the
lawyers, asked Rosie Clurman for the release of 87 SAMONTE, complainant, vs. ATTY. ROLANDO complaint for ejectment and told her that if she
shares of Cathay Products International, Inc. to H.E. R. GATDULA, Branch Clerk of wanted the execution to proceed, she should change
Gabriel, a client. Court, respondent. her lawyer and retain the law office of respondent at
Attorney Dacanay, in his reply dated December 7, the same time giving his calling card with the name
1979, denied any liability of Clurman to Gabriel. He "Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and Celera"
requested that he be informed whether the lawyer of GONZAGA-REYES, J.: with office at Rm. 220 Mariwasa Bldg., 717 Aurora
Gabriel is Baker & McKenzie "and if not, what is Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City; otherwise she will not
your purpose in using the letterhead of another law The complaint filed by Julieta Borromeo Samonte be able to eject the defendant Dave
office." Not having received any reply, he filed the charges Rolando R. Gatdula, RTC, Branch 220, Knope. Complainant told respondent that she could
instant complaint. Quezon City with grave misconduct consisting in the not decide because she was only representing her
alleged engaging in the private practice of law which sister. To her consternation, the RTC Branch 220
We hold that Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law is in conflict with his official functions as Branch issued an order granting the preliminary injunction
firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Clerk of Court. as threatened by respondent despite the fact that the
Rule 138, Rules of Court). As admitted by the MTC, Branch 37 had issued an Order directing the
respondents in their memorandum, Baker &
execution of the Decision in Civil Case No. 37- later and told him that if he cannot convince the "For failure of the complainant to appear at the
14552. judge to recall the writ of preliminary injunction, she several hearings despite notice, she failed to
will file an administrative case against respondent substantiate her allegations in the complaint
Asked to comment, respondent Atty. Gatdula recited and the judge. The threat was repeated but the particularly that herein respondent gave her his
the antecedents in the ejectment case and the respondent refused to be pressured. Meanwhile, the calling card and tried to convince her to change her
issuance of the restraining order by the Regional Complainant's Motion to Dissolve the Writ of lawyer. This being the case, it cannot be established
Trial Court, and claimed that contrary to Preliminary Injunction was denied. Respondent with certainty that respondent indeed gave her his
complainant Samonte's allegation that she was not Gatdula claims that the complainant must have filed calling card and even convinced her to change her
notified of the raffle and the hearing, the Notice of this administrative charge because of her frustration lawyer. Moreover, as borne by the records of Civil
Hearing on the motion for the issuance of a in procuring the ejectment of the defendant lessee Case No. Q-96-28187, complainant was duly
Temporary Restraining Order was duly served upon from the premises. Respondent prays for the notified of all the proceedings leading to the issuance
the parties, and that the application for injunctive dismissal of the complaint against him. of the TRO and the subsequent orders of Judge
relief was heard before the temporary restraining Prudencio Altre Castillo, Jr. of RTC, Branch
order was issued. The preliminary injunction was The case was referred to Executive Judge Estrella 220. Complainant's lack of interest in prosecuting
also set for hearing on August 7, 1996. Estrada, RTC, Quezon City, for investigation, report this administrative case could be an indication that
and recommendation. her filing of the charge against the respondent is only
The respondent's version of the incident is that
intended to harass the respondent for her failure to
sometime before the hearing of the motion for the In her report Judge Estrada states that the case was
obtain a favorable decision from the Court.
issuance of a temporary restraining order, set for hearing three times, on September 7, 1997, on
complainant Samonte went to court "very mad" September 17, and on September 24, 1997, but However, based on the record of this administrative
because of the issuance of the order stopping the neither complainant nor her counsel appeared, case, the calling card attached as Annex "B" of
execution of the decision in the ejectment despite due notice. The return of service of the Order complainant's affidavit dated September 25, 1996
case. Respondent tried to calm her down, and setting the last hearing stated that complainant is still allegedly given by respondent to complainant would
assured her that the restraining order was only abroad. There being no definite time conveyed to the show that the name of herein respondent was indeed
temporary and that the application for preliminary court for the return of the complainant, the included in the BALIGOD, GATDULA,
injunction would still be heard. Later the Regional investigating Judge proceeded with the investigation TACARDON, DIMAILIG & CELERA LAW
Trial Court granted the application for a writ of by "conducting searching questions" upon OFFICES. While respondent denied having assumed
preliminary injunction. The complainant went back respondent based on the allegations in the complaint any position in said office, the fact remains that his
to court "fuming mad" because of the alleged and asked for the record of Civil Case No. Q-96- name is included therein which may therefore tend to
unreasonableness of the court in issuing the 28187 for evaluation. The case was set for hearing show that he has dealings with said office. Thus,
injunction. for the last time on October 22, 1997, to give while he may not be actually and directly employed
complainant a last chance to appear, but there was with the firm, the fact that his name appears on the
Respondent Gatdula claims that thereafter again no appearance despite notice. calling card as a partner in the Baligod, Gatdula,
complainant returned to his office, and informed him
Tacardon, Dimailig & Celera Law Offices give the
that she wanted to change counsel and that a friend The respondent testified in his own behalf to affirm
impression that he is connected therein and may
of hers recommended the Law Finn of "Baligod, the statements in his Comment and submitted
constitute an act of solicitation and private practice
Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and Celera," at the documentary evidence consisting mainly of the
which is declared unlawful under Republic Act No.
same time showing a calling card, and asking if he pleadings in MTC Civil Case No. 37-14552, and in
6713. It is to be noted, however, that complainant
could handle her case. Respondent refused as he was RTC Civil Case No. Q96-28187 to show that the
failed to establish by convincing evidence that
not connected with the law firm, although he was questioned orders of the court were not improperly
respondent actually offered to her the services of
invited to join but he chose to remain in the issued.
their law office. Thus, the violation committed by
judiciary. Complainant returned to court a few days
The investigating judge made the following findings: respondent in having his name included/retained in
the calling card may only be considered as a minor solicitation of legal services.[1] Respondent does not
infraction for which he must also be administratively claim that the calling card was printed without his
sanctioned." knowledge or consent and the calling card[2] carries
his name primarily and the name of "Baligod,
and recommended that Atty. Gatdula be admonished Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and Celera with address
and censured for the minor infraction he has at 220 Mariwasa Bldg., 717 Aurora Blvd., Cubao,
committed. Quezon City" in the left comer. The card clearly
gives the impression that he is connected with the
Finding: We agree with the investigating judge that
said law firm. The inclusion/retention of his name in
the respondent is guilty of an infraction. The
the professional card constitutes an act of solicitation
complainant by her failure to appear at the hearings,
which violates Section 7 sub-par. (b)(2) of Republic
failed to substantiate her allegation that it was the
Act No. 6713, otherwise known as "Code of Conduct
respondent who gave her the calling card of
and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
"Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and Celera
Employees" which declares it unlawful for a public
Law Offices" and that he tried to convince her to
official or employee to, among others:
change counsels. We find however, that while the
respondent vehemently denies the complainant's "(2) Engage in the private practice of their profession
allegations, he does not deny that his name appears unless authorized by the Constitution or law,
on the calling card attached to the complaint which provided that such practice will not conflict or tend
admittedly came into the hands of the to conflict with official functions."
complainant. The respondent testified before the
Investigating Judge as follows: Time and again this Court has said that the conduct
and behavior of every one connected with an office
"Q: How about your statement that you even gave charged with the dispensation of justice, from the
her a calling card of the "Baligod, Gatdula, Pardo, presiding judge to the lowliest clerk. should be
Dimailig and Celera law Offices at Room 220 circumscribed with the heavy burden of
Mariwasa building? responsibility. His conduct, at all times must not
only be characterized by proprietor and decorum but
A: I vehemently deny the allegation of the
above all else must be above suspicion.[3]
complainant that I gave her a calling card. I was
surprised when she presented (it) to me during one of WHEREFORE, respondent Rolando R.
her follow-ups of the case before the court. She told Gatdula. Branch Clerk of Court, RTC, Branch 220,
me that a friend of hers recommended such firm and Quezon City is hereby reprimanded for engaging in
she found out that my name is included in that firm. I the private practice of law with the warning that a
told her that I have not assumed any position in that repetition of the same offense will be dealt with
law firm. And I am with the Judiciary. since I passed more severely. He is further ordered to cause the
the bar. It is impossible for me to enter an exclusion of his name in the firm name of any office
appearance as her counsel in the very same court engaged in the private practice of law.
where I am the Branch Clerk of Court."
The above explanation tendered by the Respondent
is an admission that it is his name which appears on
the calling card, a permissible form of advertising or