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CANON 9 A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW Purpose: the purpose is to protect

the public, the court, the client and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the court (Phillippine Assn of Free Labor Union v. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co., 42 SCRA 302). Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character (Phillippine Assn of Free Labor Union v. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co., 42 SCRA 302). Can a lawyer delegate legal work to non-lawyers? According to jurisprudence, a lawyer should not delegate to a layman any work which involves the application of law, such as the computation and determination of the period within which to appeal an adverse judgment (Robinson v. Villafuerte 18 Phil. 121). Thus under Rule 9.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing. Is this rule absolute? NO, the following are the certain instances that a lawyer may delegate his work to others: 1. Lawyers can employ lay secretaries, lay investigators, lay detectives, lay researchers, accountants or non-lawyer draftsmen, to undertake any task not involving the practice of law 2. Lawyers may also avail themselves of the assistance of law students in many fields of the lawyers work such as: a. Examination of case law b. Finding and interviewing witnesses c. Examining court records d. Delivering papers, and e. Similar matters (Comments of IBP Committee that drafted the Code, pp.44-48). Can a lawyer allow his professional services to be controlled by any lay agency?

According to Agpalo, Canon 9 prohibits a lawyer from allowing an intermediary to intervene in the performance of his professional obligations (Legal and Judicial Ethics, Ruben Agpalo, 2009). The responsibilities and qualifications of a lawyer are individual. The lawyers relation to his client is personal and his responsibility is direct to the client. He should avoid all relations which direct the performance of his duties by or in the interest of such intermediary (Canon 35, Canons of Professional Ethics). Example: Attorney A accepted the employment from Team A, an automobile club, which, in soliciting membership, offers free services of its legal department to its members. However, B, one of the members had a dispute with Atty A and consequently in order to get back to Attorney A, B filed a suit that Atty A violates the Code of Professional Responsibility. Decide. Answer: It is improper for atty A to accept employment from an automobile club which, in soliciting membership, offers free services of its legal department to members (A.B.A. Op. 8, April 25, 1925). Thus, the above example violates the rule that a lawyer cannot allow an intermediary to intervene in the performance of his professional obligations. Is the agreement between a lawyer and a layman to divide equally the attorneys fees of the former valid? NO. Under Rule 9.02 of the Code of Professional responsibility, a lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal services with a person not licensed to practice law. Similarly, a contract between a lawyer and a layman granting the latter a percentage of the fees collected from clients secured by the layman and enjoining the lawyer not to deal directly with said clients is null and void, and the lawyer may be disciplined for unethical conduct (Tan Tek Beng v Davidm 126 SCRA 389). Is the above rule absolute? No, there are three (3) exceptions: 1. Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a partner or associate that, upon the latters death, money shall be paid over a reasonable period of time to his estate or to persons specified in the agreement 2. Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer 3. Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer employees in a retirement plan, even if the plan is based in whole or in part on a profit sharing agreement.

There is nothing improper in the above arrangements. It would be improper where the estate or heir is to receive a percentage of the fees that may be paid from future business of the deceased lawyers clients because such fees no longer represent compensation for past services of the deceased lawyer (Comments of IBP Committee that drafted the Code, p.49, In re Sycip 92 SCRA 1).

CASE: Lijuaco v Terrado: In the instance case, an administrative complaint was filed by Lijuaco against ATTY. Terrado for gross misconduct, malpractice and conduct unbecoming of an officer of the court when he neglected a legal matter entrusted to him despite receipt of payment representing attorneys fees. The complaint was referred to the IBP for investigation, report and recommendation. Respondent openly admitted that he divided the attorneys fees to other individuals as commission/referral fees. Ruling: The Court ruled that Terrado violated Rule 9.02 of Canon 9 by admitting that he divided his attorneys fees to non-lawyers. The Court stated that a lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law, except in certain cases.

BAR QUESTIONS: 1. The Supreme Court suspended indefinitely Atty. Fernandez from the practice of law for gross immorality. He asked the Municipal Circuit Trial Court Judge of his town of he can be appointed counsel de officio for Tony, a childhood friend who is accused of theft. The judge refused because Atty. Fernandezs name appears in the Supreme Court List of Suspended Lawyers. Atty. Freelances then inquired if he can appear as a friend for Tony to defend him. Supposing tony is a defendant in a civil case for collection of sum of money before the same court, can Atty. Fernandez appear for him to conduct his litigation?

Suggested Answer: Even if Tony is a defendant in a civil case, Atty. Fernandez cannot be allowed to appear for him to conduct his litigation; otherwise, the judge will be violating Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a

lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law (2006 bar examination). 2. You had just taken your oath as a lawyer. The secretary to the president of a big university offered to get you as the official notary public of the school. She explained that a lot of students lose their identification Cards and are required to secure an affidavit of loss before they can be issued a new one. She claimed that this would be very lucrative for you, as more than 30 students lose their Identification cards every month. However, the secretary wants to give her one-half of your earnings therefrom. Will you agree to the arrangement? Explain. Suggested answer: No, I will not agree. Rule 9.02 of the Code of Professional responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal service with persons not licensed to practice law. The secretary is not licensed to practice law and is not entitled to a share of the fees for notarizing affidavits , which is a legal service.