(Question XVI, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2017 Bar Exam)
Determine if the following advertisements by an attorney are ethical or unethical. Explain your answer.
(a) A calling card, 2 inches x 2 inches in size, bearing the attorney’s name in bold print, office, residence and email addresses, telephone and facsimile numbers. (2%)
(b) A business card, 3 inches x 4 inches in size, indicating the aforementioned data with his 1 inch x 1 inch photograph. (2%)
(c) A pictorial press release in a broadsheet newspaper made by the attorney showing him being congratulated by the president of a client corporation for winning a multi-million damage suit against the company in the Supreme Court. (2%)
(d) The same press release made in a tabloid by the attorney’s client. (2%)
(e) A small announcement that the attorney is giving free legal advice on November 30, 2017 published in Balita, a tabloid in Filipino. (2%)
(a) It is ethical. Under jurisprudence, the use of an ordinary simple professional card is permitted.
(b) It is unethical. Under jurisprudence, the professional card should be ordinary and simple to be allowed. In this case, a 3-inch by 4-inch card with a 1-inch by 1-inch photograph is not ordinary and simple.
(c) It is unethical. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any self-laudatory statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services. In this case, the press release made by the attorney is a form of self-laudation. Which is prohibited.
(d) It is ethical. In this case, the act is attributable to the client. The attorney did not commit any act that would result in a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
(e) It is unethical. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility and jurisprudence, advertising and self-laudation are prohibited. In this case, the announcement of free legal advice on a publication is a form of advertising legal services and a self-laudation, both of which are prohibited.
(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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