(Question IV, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2017 Bar Exam)
Atty. Jessa was the counsel for Mr. Nolan, a cantankerous millionaire, in the latter’s personal case. Soon after the case was submitted for decision, Mr. Nolan withdrew the files from Atty. Jessa and informed her that he was engaging another lawyer. On that same day, a copy of the decision in the case was received by Atty. Jessa but she did not do anything anymore with the decision. She did not also file a withdrawal of her appearance. Mr. Nolan’s new counsel did not file any notice of his appearance. By the time Mr. Nolan found out about the adverse decision, his period to appeal had lapsed.
Was the service of the decision on Atty. Jessa still effective? Explain your answer. (4%)
Under jurisprudence, until the withdrawal of counsel shall have been approved by the court, the lawyer remains counsel of record who is expected by his clients, as well as by the court, to do what the interests of his clients require. S/he must still appear before the court to protect the interest of his/her clients by availing himself of the proper remedy, for the attorney-client relations are not terminated formally until there is a withdrawal of record. Rule
In the case at bar, Atty. Jesa did not file a withdrawal of counsel and thus she remained as counsel on record. She has to discharge her duties and responsibilities as the counsel-on-record until she is properly discharged via a withdrawal of record. Apply
Thus, the service of the decision on Atty. Jessa is still effective. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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