B. M. No. 1036, June 10, 2003 – DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE vs. EDWIN L. RANA.

Fact:

Complainant filed a complaint against the respondent for illegal practice of Law. Complainant aver that respondent appeared in multiple occasion and signed pleadings as a “counsel”. Respondent how recently passed the bar examination in 2000 averred that he appears for the alleged clients as a person who knows the law and not as a counsel.

Issue:

Whether the respondent act constitute grave misconduct and misrepresentation for appearing as counsel without signing the Roll of attorney.

Held:

Yes, The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a privilege. It is limited to persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The exercise of this privilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge, educational attainment, and even public trust4 since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person seeking admission had practiced law without a license. True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyer’s oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only qualification to become an attorney-at-law. Respondent should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyer’s oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys. Hence respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the Philippine Bar

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