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PROBLEM AREAS IN LEGAL ETHICS

Alcantara, Rodell King


Cruz, Irene
Frias, Maricel
Magno, Julius

Palua, Charmie
Raneses, Don
Reyes, Arnaldo

Lawyers, as guardians of the law, play a vital role in the preservation of society. The fulfillment of this
role requires an understanding by lawyers of their relationship with and function in our legal system.
The consequent obligation of the lawyers is to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct

Situation 1
Don Raneses is administrative staff of ABC Manpower and Allied Services. He was terminated by his
employer due to redundancy. He was one of the employees affected by the right-sizing program which
results to reduction of employees and abolition of certain departments.
A letter dated November 4, 2016 through its Human Resource Manager Maricel Frias informed
Raneses of his termination from employment effective December 4, 2015.
Raneses alleged that neither he nor the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) were formally
notified of his termination. ABC claimed that Raneses refused to accept his termination and report for
work and was barred from entering ABCs premises.
Based on the above facts of the case, the following problems may be posed:
a. If Raneses seeks the service of Atty Reyes but declines to accept as his counsel because of
his capacity to pay.
Discussion:
a. If Raneses seeks the service of Atty Reyes but declines to accept as his counsel because of
his capacity to pay.
Answer: Yes.
CANON 14 A Lawyer shall not refuse his services to the needy.
Rule 14.01 A lawyer shall not decline to represent a person solely on account of the latters race,
sex, creed or status of life, or because of his own opinion regarding the guilt of said person.
Rule 14.02 A lawyer shall not decline, except for serious and sufficient cause, an appointment as
counsel de oficio or as amicus curae or a request from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any of
its chapters for rendition of free legal aid.
Rule 14.03 A lawyer may refuse to accept representation of a client if:
1.a.
He is not in position to carry out the work effectively and competently.
2.b.
He labors under conflict of interest between him and the prospective client or between a
present client and the prospective client.
Rule 14.04 A lawyer who accepts the cause of a person unable to pay his professional fees shall
observe the same standard of conduct governing his relations with paying clients.
Situation 2

On January 4, 2016, Raneses filed complaint for the illegal dismissal of his employment by engaging
services of Attorney Arnaldo Reyes as his counsel. The Labor arbiter ruled in favor of Raneses,
however on Appeal, National Labor Relation Commission (NLRC) reversed the arbiters decision and
dismissed the case due to failure to prove that dismissal was illegal and in bad faith.
Raneses filed a Motion for extension to file petition for review through his counsel who paid the docket
fees. He then after called Atty Reyes about the status of his case but was advised to call on the next
day so he could advise the development of the case. However , when Raneses personally verified the
status of his case in the Court of Appeals , he found out that his counsel never filed a petition for
review of his labor case.
Consequently, NLRCs decision became final and executory .Raneses decided to file an
administrative complaint against his counsel for suspension or disbarment due to negligence.
Based on the above facts of the case, the following problems may be posed:
a. Is the counsel negligent on the services he rendered and violating the canons 17 and 18 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR)?
b. Does counsels actions evidently prejudicial to his clients interest deserves the penalty of
suspension
Discussion
a. Is the counsel negligent on the services he rendered and violating the canons 17 and 18 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR)?
Answer:
Yes. He is negligent when he failed to file an appeal within the allowed period for the decision
rendered against his client. His action constitutes negligence and malpractice prescribed in Rule
18.03 which provides(a) lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and
his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. This is a motion for reconsideration.
CANON 17 - A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE
MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM.
CANON 18 - A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.
b. Does counsels actions evidently prejudicial to his clients interest deserves the penalty of
suspension
Answer:
Yes. A penalty of suspension is rendered for actions evidently prejudicial to his clients.

References:
Comments on Legal and Judicial Ethics
PALE teaching Manual on Legal Ethics

ROLE PLAY:

SCENE 1: Premises of ABC Manpower Corporation


SCENE 2: Law Firm and Court
SCENE 3: Integrated Bar of the Philippines

Characters:
Narrator : Rodell King Alcantara
Employer : ABC Manpower and Service ,Human Resource Manager Maricel Frias
Employee/Complainant- Don Raneses
Counsel : Arnaldo Reyes
Labor Arbiter and NLRC- Irene Cruz

SCENE 1 with in ABCs Premises


Maricel

: Mr. Raneses , Can you give me a minute? Ill discuss something with you.

Don

: Yes. Maam
[Don gets inside the Office]

Maricel

: Sit down Mr. Raneses


[ Don Sits ]

Don

: Thank you maam.

Maricel

: [hands over the letter to Don]


The company is in doing a program for right sizing due to some losses
.Unfortunately, you are one of the staff affected by this program. This serves a 1
month notice. Your benefits shall be computed and paid accordingly.
Kindly sign both copies as acceptance.

Don

: I will not accept the termination. This is an illegal dismissal.

Maricel

: We are very sorry but this is part of the procedure.


[Don gets out from the office]
[The next day Don continuous to go to work until the day after last day of work but
upon entering the ABCs premises he was barred by the guard to enter]

Don

: Seeks a lawyer as his counsel for a complaint to be filed for illegal dismissal

SCENE 2At a Law firm

[ Don while walking, he saw a law firm and enters]


Don

: Good Morning. Is Attorney Reyes available for today?

Atty Reyes

: Good Morning. Anything I can help you with?

Don

: I need to seek a counsel for an Illegal dismissal complaint but 1 st of all Id like to ask
how much will the Lawyers Fee?
[Atty Reyes is explaining about the pertinent fees when engaging his service]
[They both agreed on the Fees]

Atty Reyes

: Since were done and had agreed. Can you give me the details of this complaint.

Don

: [Don was giving the details of his termination and that he was illegally dismissed]
[Atty Reyes filed before the Labor arbiter a complaint for illegal dismissal]
[During the process, Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of Don]
[NLRC reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter and so the appeal]

Don

: I want to make an appeal

Atty Reyes

: We will file a petition for review of the case.


[ the next day Don called Atty Reyes , for follow-up of the petition in the Court of
Appeals and was advised to call the following day so he could make a status update]
[

Don