Legal Ethics

Director of Religious Affairs vs Estanislao Bayot

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A.C. No. L-1117 – 74 Phil. 579 – Legal Ethics – Malpractice – Ambulance Chasing – Lawyer must not solicit cases – Lawyers must not advertise their services

In June 1943, Atty. Estanislao Bayot advertised in a newspaper that he helps people in securing marriage licenses; that he does so avoiding delays and publicity; that he also makes marriage arrangements; that legal consultations are free for the poor; and that everything is confidential. The Director of Religious Affairs took notice of the ad and so he sued Bayot for Malpractice.

Bayot initially denied having published the advertisement. But later, he admitted the same and asked for the court’s mercy as he promised to never repeat the act again.

ISSUE: Whether or not Bayot is guilty of Malpractice.

HELD: Yes. 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 thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.” The advertisement he caused to be published is a brazen solicitation of business from the public. It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares. The Supreme Court again emphasized that best advertisement for a lawyer is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust. But because of Bayot’s plea for leniency and his promise and the fact that he did not earn any case by reason of the ad, the Supreme Court merely reprimanded him.

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