Question 4, 2018 Legal Ethics Bar Exam

IV

(Question IV, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2018 Bar Exam)

Atty. Cornelio Carbon, 36 years of age, had always dreamed of becoming a judge, and eventually, a justice, but his legal career took a different turn. Upon graduation, he joined a government-owned financial institution where he worked in the Loans and Claims Division. He also taught Negotiable Instruments Law in a nearby law school at night. He has been active in his IBP Chapter and other law organizations. However, in his 12 years of practice, he has never done trial or litigation work.

(a) Is Atty. Carbon engaged in the “practice of law”? (2.5%)

(b) Is Atty. Carbon qualified to become a Regional Trial Court Judge? (2.5%)

Suggested Answer:

(a) Yes. Answer

Under jurisprudence, practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. Rule

In the case at bar, Atty. Carbon taught law and presumably handled/reviewed loan contracts and claims. These are activities which require the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. Apply

Thus, Atty. Carbon engaged in the practice of law. Conclusion

(b) Yes, provided he is a natural-born citizen. Answer

Under the 1987 Constitution and B.P. Blg. 129, the following are the requisites to be a Regional Trial Court Judge:

1) A natural-born citizen of the Philippines;

2) At least thirty-five (35) years of age; and

3) Has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite, for at least ten (10) years. Rule

In the case at bar, Atty. Cornelio is 36 years old and thus meets the age requirement. He has been in the practice of law for 12 years and thus meets the minimum years of law practice. As to the first requirement, if he is a natural-born citizen, then he also meets the natural-born citizen requirement.  Apply

Thus, Atty. Cornelio is qualified to become a Regional Trial Court Judge provided he is a natural-born citizen. 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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