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BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF PRACTICE OF LAW

1. Practice of law is not a matter of right but merely a privilege


It is bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in the law but who are
also known to possess good moral character (Tan vs Sabandal, 206 scra 473)

2. Practice of law is not a money making venture (Canlas vs CA 164 SCRA 160)
- Law advocacy is not capital that yields profits. The returns it births are simple
rewards for a job well done or service rendered. It is a calling that, unlike mercantile
pursuits which enjoy a greater deal of freedom from government interference, is
impressed with public interests, for which it is subject to State regulation (Metropolitan
Bank & Trust Co. vs CA, 181 SCRA 377)

3. Practice of Law cannot be assigned or inherited, but must be earned by hard study
and good conduct

4. Practice of Law is a privilege burdened with conditions (Adez Realty vs CA, 251 SCRA
201)

5. Practice of Law contemplates a succession of acts of the same nature habitually or


customarily holding ones self to the public as lawyer. (Uy vs Gonzales 426 SCRA 422,
Borja Sr. vs Sulyap Inc 399 SCRA 601)

6. It is reserved only for those who are academically trained in law and possessed of
good moral character.
Good moral character not only at the time of his admission to the Bar but even
more so, thereafter, to remain in the practice of law. (People vs Tuanda, 181 SCRA 692,
Melendez vs Dacena 176 SCRA 662)

7. Practice of Law is a profession and not a business.


It is an essential part in the administration of justice, a profession in pursuit of
which pecuniary reward is considered as merely incidental; it is a pursuit of learned art
in the interest of public service.

According to Justice Padilla, in his dissent in Cayetano v. Monsod, the following factors
are considered in determining whether there is practice of law [HACA]:
(1) Habituality Practice of law implies customarily or habitually holding one's self out
to the public as a lawyer. It is more than an isolated appearance.
(2) Application of law, legal principles, practice or procedure It calls for legal
knowledge, training and experience.
(3) Compensation Practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to be
in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his professional
services are available to the public for compensation.
(4) Attorney-client relationship Where no such relationship exists, such as in cases of
teaching law or writing law books or articles, there is no practice of law.

A. IN GENERAL
Under the RoC, it is the duty of an attorney:
(1) To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support the
Constitution and obey the laws of the Philippines;
(2) To observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers;
(3) To counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to him to be just,
and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable under the law;
(4) To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him, such means
only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never seek to mislead the judge or any
judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or law;
(5) To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve the
secrets of his client, and to accept no compensation in connection with his clients
business except from him or with his knowledge and approval;
(6) To abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the
honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause
with which he is charge;
(7) Not to encourage either the commencement or the continuance of an action or
proceeding, or delay any mans cause, from any corrupt motive or interest;
(8) Never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause of the
defenseless or oppressed;
(9) In the defense of a person accused of crime, by all fair and honorable means,
regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to present every
defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may be deprived of life or
liberty, but by due process of law (Sec. 20, Rule 138).

II. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LAWYER

1. Public/Society He must not undertake any action which violates his responsibility to the society as a
whole, he must be an example in the community for his uprightness as a member of the society. The
lawyer must be ready to render legal aid, foster legal reforms, be guardian of due process, and aware of his
special role in the solution of special problems and be always ready to lend assistance in the study and
solution of social problems. (Canon 1-6, CPR)

2. Bar/Legal Profession Observe candor, fairness, courtesy and truthfulness in his conduct towards other
lawyers, avoid encroachment in the business of other lawyers and uphold the honor of the profession.
(Canon 7-9, CPR)

3. Courts A lawyer must maintain towards the court a respectful attitude, defend against unjust criticisms,
uphold the courts authority and dignity, obey court orders and processes, assists in the administration of
justice. (Canon 10-13, CPR)

4. Clients The lawyer owes entire devotion to the interest of his client, warm and zeal in the maintenance
of the defense of his rights and exertion of utmost learning ability to the end that nothing be taken or
withheld from his client except in accordance with law. He owes a duty of competent and zealous
representation to the client, and should preserve his clients secrets, preserve his funds and property and
avoid conflicts of interest. (Canon 14-22, CPR)

CANONS OF PROFESSIONAL.
RESPONSIBILITY
(Overview).
Chapter 1.
Lawyer and Society.

Canons 1-6
1. Uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land and legal processes
2. Make legal services available in an efficient and convenient manner
3. Use of true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information in making known legal services
4. Participate in the improvement of the legal system
5. Keep abreast of legal development and participate in continuing legal education program and assist in
disseminating information regarding the law and jurisprudence
6. Applicability of the CPR to lawyers in the government service

Chapter 2.
The lawyer and the legal profession.
Canons 7-9
7. At all times uphold integrity and dignity of the profession and support the activities of the IBP
8. Conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his colleagues and avoid harassing tactics
against opposing counsel
9. Not to directly or indirectly assist in the unauthorized practice of law

Chapter 3.
The lawyer and the courts.
Canons 10-13
10. Owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court
11. Observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers and insist in similar conduct
12. Duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice
13. Rely upon the merits of his cause, refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence courts, or give
the appearance of influencing the courts

Chapter 4.
The lawyer and the client.
Canons 14-22
14. Not to refuse his services to the needy;

15. Observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with clients
16. Hold in trust all the moneys and property of his client that may come to his possession
17. Owes fidelity to clients cause and be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him
18. Serve client with competence and diligence
19. Represent client with zeal and within the bounds of law
20. Charge only fair and reasonable fees;
21. Preserve the confidence and secrets of client even after the attorney-client relation is terminated
22. Withdraw services only for good cause and upon notice

Q: What is the first and most important duty of an attorney? Why?


A: The first and most important duty of the lawyer is his duty to the court. The reason is that the attorney
is an officer of the court. He is an officer of the court in the sense that his main mission is to assist the
court in the administering of justice. His public duties take precedence over his private duties.

Q: How should a lawyer view representation of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed
before our courts of justice?
A: As an officer of the court, the lawyer has the duty of representing the poor, the marginalized and the
oppressed without expecting to be compensated for his services. One of the main duties of the lawyer is to
maintain the rule of law. The rule of law cannot be maintained if the poor, the marginalized or the
oppressed are not afforded legal services to protect their rights against the rich and the privileged. The
lawyer should consider it as a duty and not as a charitable work. (1988 Bar Question)