Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Director of Religious Affairs vs. Bayot , 74 Phil. 579

Facts: Respondent is charged with malpractice for having published an advertisement in Sunday Tribunal on June 13, 1943 which reads as follows –

“Marriage license promptly secured thru our assistance and the annoyance of delay or publicity avoided if desired and marriage arranged to wishes of parties. Consultation on any matter free for the poor. Everything confidential.

“Legal assistance service
12 Escolta, Manila
Room 105, Tel. 2-41-60”

Issue: Whether or not the advertisement is ethical.

Held: It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was a flagrant violation by the respondent of the ethics of his profession, it being a brazen solicitation of business from the public. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that “the practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.” It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares. Law is a profession and a trade. The lawyer degrades himself and his profession who stoops to and adopts the practice of merchantilism by advertising his services or offering them to the public. As a member of the bar, he defiles the temple of justice with mercenary activities as the money-changers of old defiled the temple of Jehovah. “The most worthy and effective advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome of character and conduct.” (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.)

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