Question 12, 2017 Legal Ethics Bar Exam


(Question XII, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2017 Bar Exam)

Atty. Simplicio published the following advertisement in a local newspaper: “Annulment of Marriage, Competent Attorney, Reasonable Fees, Call 221-2345.”

A Justice of the Supreme Court saw the advertisement and thereafter called the attention of his colleagues. The Supreme Court directed the Bar Confidant [to] investigate the matter. When directed to explain why no disciplinary action should be taken against him for the improper advertisement, Atty. Simplicio contended that: (a) the advertisement was not improper because his name was not mentioned; and (b) he could not be subjected to disciplinary action because there was no complaint filed against him.

Rule on Atty. Simplicio’s contentions. (4%)

Suggested Answer:

Atty. Simplicio’s contentions are not correct. Answer

Under the Code of Professional Responsibility and jurisprudence, advertising legal services is prohibited, even if the lawyer’s name is not reflected on the ad itself but there is an identifiable information such as contact details. Further, administrative cases against lawyers are suis generis and thus may proceed motu proprio even if there is no complainant. Rule

In the case at bar, the ad was advertising legal services and provided a contact detail. Prospective clients would thus be able to reach out to Atty. Simplicio via the phone number provided. A complainant is not necessary for him to be subjected to disciplinary action. Apply

Thus, it is incorrect for Atty. Simplicio to make such contentions. 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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