Legal Ethics

Donna Marie Aguirre vs Edwin Rana

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B. M. No. 1036 – 451 SCRA 428 – Legal Ethics – Practice of Law – Who May Practice Law – Unauthorized Practice Of Law

Edwin Rana passed the 2000 Bar Examinations. He was scheduled to take his oath on 22 May 2001. But on 21 May 2001, Donna Marie Aguirre filed with the Supreme Court a Petition for Denial of Admission to the Bar against Rana on the ground that Rana appeared as counsel for a local politician in an election case prior to taking his oath and signing the roll.

Rana defended himself by saying that he did not appear as a lawyer for the politician but he merely appeared as “a person who knows the law”.

ISSUE: Whether or not Rana engaged in unauthorized practice of law.

HELD: Yes. It appears that Rana, while a bar passer but has not yet taken his oath and has not yet signed the Roll of Attorneys, entered his appearance as counsel in the election case for the local politician, he submitted a pleading as counsel, has signed the pleading as counsel, and his legal services has been retained by his client. Clearly, Rana engaged in the practice of law without taking the lawyer’s oath and without signing the Roll. Rana was denied admission to the bar.

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NOTE: Rana was only admitted to the bar in December 2008.

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