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  CHAPTER 1 Requirements “before admission to the bar” or for continuous “practice of law”, etc. What is practice of law? ã   The Court ruled that the term “practice of law” implies customarily or habitually holding oneself out to the public as a lawyer for compensation as a source of livelihood or in consideration of his services. The Court further ruled that holding one’s self out as a lawyer may be shown by acts indicative of that purpose, such as identifying oneself as attorney , appearing in court in representation of a client , or associating oneself as a partner of a law office for the general practice of law. -  Atty.  Noe-Lacsaman v. Atty. Busmente, A.C. No. 7269 [2011]   ã   Any activity, in and out of court, that requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. Moreover, we ruled that to engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession ; to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge  or skill. - Query of Atty. Silverio-Buffe, A.M. No. 08-6-352-RTC [2009]   ã   The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court ; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings , the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveyancing. ã   In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law xxx. -  Aguirre v. Rana, B. M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003   Who may practice law? ã   Section 1, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides: Who may practice law. – Any person heretofore duly admitted as a member of the bar , or thereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of this Rule, and who is in good and regular standing , is entitled to practice law. Passing the bar exam is not enough ã   A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar examinations . The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld even from one who has passed the bar examinations , if the person seeking admission had practiced law without a license. ã   True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyer’s oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer.  The fact that respondent passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only qualification to become an attorn ey-at-law. Respondent should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyer’s oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys. –  Aguirre v. Rana, B. M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003 Signing of the Lawyer’s Oath is not equivalent to “taking the oath” ã   Respondent Abad should know that the circumstances which he has narrated do not constitute his admission to the Philippine Bar and the right to practice law  thereafter. He should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyer's oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys. (Rule 138, Secs. 17 and 19, Rules of Court.) -  Re: Elmo Abad, A. M. No. 139 [1983]   Whether or not a lawyer is entitled to exemption from payment of his IBP dues during the time that he was inactive in the practice of law ã   Thus, payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the IBP , of which no one is exempt. This means that the compulsory nature of payment of dues subsists for as long as one’s membership in the IBP remains regardless of the lack of practice of, or the type of practice, the member is engaged in.    ã   There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from payment of membership dues.  At most, as correctly observed by the IBP, he could have informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his intention to stay abroad before he left. In such case, his membership in the IBP could have been terminated and his obligation to pay dues could have been discontinued. -  Letter of Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo Jr. B.M. 1370 May 9, 2005   Is IBP membership fee a form of tax? ã   For the court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not mean that the Court is attempting to levy a tax. ã   A membership fee in the Bar association is an exaction for regulation , while tax purpose of a tax is a revenue . If the  judiciary has inherent power to regulate the Bar, it follows that as an incident to regulation, it may impose a membership fee for that purpose. It would not be possible to put on an integrated Bar program without means to defray the expenses. The doctrine of implied powers necessarily carries with it the power to impose such exaction. -  Letter of Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo Jr. B.M. 1370  May 9, 2005   There is no provision under the CPR which prohibits the unauthorized practice of law   ã   CANON 9 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law. ã   While a reading of Canon 9 appears to merely prohibit lawyers from assisting  in the unauthorized practice of law, the unauthorized practice of law by the lawyer himself is subsumed under this provision , because at the heart of Canon 9 is the lawyer's duty to prevent the unauthorized practice of law. - Petition to sign in the Roll of Attorneys, Medado, B.M. No. 2540 [2013]   Examples of unauthorized practice of law ã   In the cases where we found a party liable for the unauthorized practice of law, the party was guilty of some overt act like: 1.   signing court pleadings on behalf of his client; 2.   appearing before court hearings as an attorney; 3.   manifesting before the court that he will practice law despite being previously denied admission to the bar; or 4.   deliberately attempting to practice law and 5.   holding out himself as an attorney through circulars with full knowledge that he is not licensed to do so. - Normatan & Pagayokan v. Balajadia, G.R. No. 169517 2006 Pre-law requirements ã   Rule 138 Sec. 6. Pre-Law. - No applicant for admission to the bar examination shall be admitted unless he presents a certificate that he has satisfied the Secretary of Education that, before he began the study of law , he had pursued and satisfactorily completed in an authorized and recognized university or college , requiring for admission thereto the completion of a four-year high school course , the course of study prescribed therein for a bachelor's degree in arts or sciences with any of the following subjects as major or field of concentration: political science, logic, english, spanish, history and economics. Violation of Rule 138 section 6   ã   “[b]y utilizing the school records of his cousin and name-sake, Juan M. Publico when, in actual fact, petitioner had not completed Grade VI of his elementary schooling, much less, First and Second Year High School.” ã   For all the foregoing, we find and so hold that respondent falsified his school records, by making it appear that he had finished or completed Grade VI elementary and First and Second Year high school , when in truth and in fact he had not, thereby violating the provisions of Sections 5 and 6, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court, which require completion by a bar examinee or candidate of the prescribed courses in elementary, high, pre-law and law school, prior to his admission to the practice of law. -  In re: Juan Publico,Petition for Reinstatement in the Roll of  Attorneys February 20, 1981    Applicant should be ready to present evidence of good moral character ã   When applicants seek admission to the bar, they have placed their character at issue. Therefore, the applicant bears the burden of producing information proving good moral character. -  Mitchell Simon , Nick Smith and Nicole Negowetti Grossly immoral act ã   A grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree. It is a willful, flagrant, or shameless act which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the community. - Figueroa v. Barranco,  Jr. SBC Case No. 519 1997    Is breach of promise to marry gross immorality? !   Respondent was prevented from taking the lawyer’s oath in 1971 because of the charges of gross immorality made by complainant. To recapitulate, respondent bore an illegitimate child with his sweetheart, Patricia Figueroa, who also claims that he did not fulfill his promise to marry her after he passes the bar examinations. !   We find that these facts do not constitute gross immorality warranting the permanent exclusion of respondent from the legal profession. His engaging in premarital sexual relations with complainant and promises to marry suggests a doubtful moral character on his part but the same does not constitute grossly immoral conduct.  The Court has held that to justify suspension or disbarment the act complained of must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. - Figueroa v. Barranco, Jr. SBC Case No. 519 1997    Good moral character v. Rehabilitation ã   When an applicant for admission to the bar has committed first-degree murder, a crime that demonstrates an extreme lack of good moral character , he must make an extraordinary showing of present good moral character to establish that he or she is qualified to be admitted to the practice of law xxx. ã   To show rehabilitation, [one] must show that he has accepted responsibility for his criminal conduct. ã   Rehabilitation is a necessary, but not sufficient, ingredient of good moral character of bar applicant who had been convicted of a serious felony; applicant must establish his current good moral character , independent of and in addition to, evidence of rehabilitation . -  In re: James Joseph Hamm 123 P.3d 652 [2005]   Rehabilitation is not enough !   Even assuming that [one] has established rehabilitation, showing rehabilitation from criminal conduct does not, in itself, establish good moral character. !   Rehabilitation is a necessary, but not sufficient, ingredient of good moral character. An applicant must establish his current good moral character, independent of and in addition to, evidence of rehabilitation. !   Even assuming that he has established rehabilitation, showing rehabilitation from criminal conduct does not , in itself, establish good moral character. -  In re: James Joseph Hamm 123 P.3d 652 [2005]   What is an “upright character” ? ã   'Upright character' is something more than an absence of bad character. It means that he [an applicant for admission] must have conducted himself as a man of upright character ordinarily would, should, or does. Such character expresses itself not in negatives nor in following the line of least resistance, but quite often in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is wrong. -  In re: James Joseph Hamm 123 P.3d 652 [2005]   Past and Present moral character ã   We also agree with Hamm that, under the Rule applicable to Hamm's application, our concern must be with the applicant's present moral character. In Greenberg, we explained that it is [the applicant's] moral character as of now with which we are concerned. xxx Past misconduct, however, is not irrelevant.    Rather, this Court must determine what past bad acts reveal about an applicant's current character. -  In re: James Joseph Hamm 123 P.3d 652 [2005]   Effect of prior criminal conviction ã   “Although a prior conviction is not conclusive of a lack of present good moral character , ... it adds to his burden of establishing present good character by requiring convincing proof of his full and complete rehabilitation.”-  In re: James  Joseph Hamm 123 P.3d 652 [2005]   Can a lawyer-detainee practice law?   ã   As a matter of law, when a person indicted for an offense is arrested, he is deemed placed under the custody of the law. He is placed in actual restraint of liberty in jail so that he may be bound to answer for the commission of the offense. He must be detained in jail during the pendency of the case against him, unless he is authorized by the court to be released on bail or on recognizance. Let it be stressed that all prisoners whether under preventive detention or serving final sentence can not practice their profession nor engage in any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive, while in detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and detention. – PP v. Hon.  Maceda and Javellana G.R. No. 89591-96 January 24, 2000   What is the effect of non-payment of IBP dues? ã   Rule 139-A, Section 10 which provides that default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys .” - Santos, Jr. V. Atty. Llamas A.C No. 4749 [2000]   Misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had paid his IBP dues !   By indicating IBP-Rizal 259060 in his pleadings and thereby misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had paid his IBP dues to the Rizal Chapter, respondent is guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides: !   Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. !   CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION, AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR. !   CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT. !   Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any court; nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled by any artifice. - Santos, Jr. V. Atty. Llamas A.C No. 4749 [2000]   Is a “senior citizen” lawyer exempted from payment of ITR also exempted from payment of IBP dues? ã   While it is true that R.A. No. 7432, §4 grants senior citizens exemption from the payment of individual income taxes: provided, that their annual taxable income does not exceed the poverty level as determined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for that year, the exemption does not include payment of membership or association dues . - Santos, Jr. V. Atty. Llamas A.C No. 4749 [2000]   Intent is necessary to be guilty of unauthorized practice of law ã   In several cases, we have ruled that the unauthorized practice of law by assuming to be an attorney and acting as such without authority  constitutes indirect contempt which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. The liability for the unauthorized practice of law under Section 3(e), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court is in the nature of criminal contempt  and the acts are punished because they are an affront to the dignity and authority of the court, and obstruct the orderly administration of  justice. In determining liability for criminal contempt, well-
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