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A member of the Philippine Bar is commonly known by the term lawyer or attorney. There is no distinction between the two terms in this jurisdiction.* The term has a fixed and general signification and refers to that class of persons who by license are officers of the court and who are empowered to appear, prosecute, and defend and on whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.
A person who is a member of the Philippine Bar and who, by warrant of another, practices law or who acts professionally in legal formalities, negotiations or proceedings, by authority of his client, is an attorney within the meaning of the term. A counsel is an adviser, a person professionally engaged in the trial or management of a cause in court; a legal advocate managing a case at law. (Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, p. 3)
In the Philippines, a lawyer is one who:
1. passed the bar exams,
2. taken an oath,
3. registered in the roll of attorneys,
4. received a certificate of license to practice law from the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court.
After admission to the bar, the lawyer must:
1. Remain a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in good standing by regularly paying the IBP dues and other assesments,
2. Pay the annual privilege tax,
3. Observe the rules on proper ethics.
*In some jurisdiction, a lawyer is usually referred to as someone who finished a law degree. Meanwhile, an attorney is someone who has passed that said jurisdiction’s bar exams and was subsequently given a license to practice law.