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Legal Counselling and Social Responsibility

Assignment: Group Seatwork

Group 3: Abugho, Ariane | King, Daniel | Lacandalo, Franco | Lorenzo, James| Magsumbol,
Guiller | Nacpil, Gerald

1. Definition of Practice of Law


From “Legal Counseling for Practicing From the Case of Cayetano vs. Monsod
Lawyer” by Judge Recaredo P. Barte (ret)
Chapter 1, pg. 9-10 of
“law practice is more than an isolated The practice of law is not limited to the
appearance, for it consists of frequent and conduct of cases or litigation in court; it
customary actions, a succession of acts of the embraces the preparation of pleadings and
same kind. On is said to be engaged in the other papers incident to actions and special
practice of law if he is customarily or habitually proceeding, the management of such actions
holding himself out to the public as a lawyer, and proceedings on behalf of clients before
and demanding payment for such service. The judges and courts, and in addition, conveying.
appearance as counsel on one occasion, is In general, all advice to clients, and all action
not conclusive as determinative of taken for them in matters connected with the
engagement in the private practice of law. law incorporation services, assessment and
Preparing documents and rendering legal condemnation services, contemplating an
services are within the term practice of law”. appearance before judicial body, the
(People vs. Villanueva, GR No. L-19450, foreclosure of mortgage, enforcement of a
5/27/1965) creditor’s claim in bankruptcy and insolvency
proceedings, and conducting proceedings in
Practice of law is not limited to the conduct of attachment, and in matters of estate and
cases in court. guardianship have been held to constitute law
practice. Practice of law means any activity, in
The following are considered practice of law: or out court, which requires the application of
 Preparation of pleadings and other law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and
papers incidental to actions and special experience. (reiterating the doctrine set forth in
proceedings, the drawings of deeds the case of Philippine Lawyers Association vs.
and other instruments and Agrava).
 confers with clients, advises them as to
legal rights and then takes the
business to an attorney and asked the
latter to look after the case in court.
 Rendering an opinion as to the proper
interpretation of statute and receiving
pay for it.
 Ordinary preparation and drafting of
legal instruments which involves the
determination by a trained legal mind
of the legal effects of facts and
conditions, or whenever such acts
involved the use of skill and intellect by
a legal mind trained in schooled in a
legal school of learning.

While the following are not considered

practice of law:
 Occassional drafting of simple deeds
and other instruments when not
conducted as an occupation .
 Gratuitious furnishing of legal aid to the
poor and unfortuantes who are in
pursuit of any civil remedy, as a matter
of charity.
 The search for records of realty to
ascertain what they may disclose
without giving any opinion or advice as
to the legal effects of what may be
found therefrom.
 The work involves only the clerical
labor of filling the blanks on
stereotyped form or a mere mechanical
act of copying from a file copy or
finished document, which involves no
legal thing.

OUR COMMENT as to more preferred definition of “Practice of Law”:

The Case of Cayetano vs Monsod, GR No.10011113, September 3, 1991, provides a
better definition of the term “Practice of Law” as it does not limit the definition of practice as
pertains to frequent and customary acts associated with the practice of the Legal profession per
se, it also includes the necessary legal knowledge and skill in rendering such services to the
public. The Practice of Law means any activity in or out of court which requires the application
of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience, which includes the performance of
acts usually performed by members of the legal profession. In general sense, the practice of law
is the rendering of any kind of service which requires the use of legal knowledge and skill.

On the other hand according to Judge Recaredo P. Barte, the author of the book in
Legal Counselling for Practicing Lawyers, “where someone has acquired sufficient knowledge
through self-study having gained experience as an apprentice or office helper in a law office,
and in the process learned the rudiments of drafting of documents and legal contracts and
collects reasonable fees for his services, it to a certain extent is allowable and is not considered
practice of law.” In a sense, Judge Barte didn’t actually tackle on what the practice of law really
is, instead he cited the classic definition of Practice of Law in the case of People v Villanueva,
GR. No. L-19450, May 27, 1965. Wherein it confined the definition of the practice of law to those
acts performed by members of the Legal profession, such as preparation of legal documents
and the rendition of legal services. This very definition is restricted, as the Practice of Law is
only associated to acts and profession only, it being frequent, habitual or customary in character
for the holding of legal service and demanding payment for such service. Such is not the case in
Cayetano v Monsod, wherein the definition is all encompassing, as the Practice of Law includes
and is not restricted to acts alone, but the legal skill and knowledge necessary for it to be
considered as practice of the profession.


The case of Cayetano v Monsod,GR No.10011113, September 3, 1991, cited the Black’s
Law Dictionary definition of “Practice of Law” which embraces the term “Legal Advice” which is
defined as the rendition of legal services requiring the knowledge and application of legal
principles material to the legal needs of the client. This in itself encompasses the drafting of
legal documents or contracts that will affect the rights of persons; the rendition of such Legal
Advice creates a lawyer-client relationship, and its incidents material and consequential in a
litigation suit in behalf of the client seeking advice.

On the other hand, Legal Information can be given by any person who has knowledge on
the law. It is a simple statement of what the law is, without necessarily applying such knowledge
to a practicable situation. The distinction lies in the application of such legal knowledge, the
Legal knowledge is used for a practicable situation then in is rendition of Legal Advice, but if it
merely states what the law is, or what is/ are the rights under a certain law, such legal
knowledge rendered is purely Legal Information.