Know Your Lawyer

I’m not talking about track record, competence, degree of confidence and the high level of trust that comes with the attorney-client relationship. Of course, these considerations are crucial because a client entrusts his properties, even his liberty and life, to the able hands of his lawyer.

What I’m referring to is something that I never imagined I would encounter. Only members of the Philippine Bar of good standing, or those who passed the bar exams (scheduled every September of each year) given by the Supreme Court and have taken the lawyer’s oath, may practice law (every lawyer is a compulsory member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines). Only recently, we discovered that the opposing “counsel” in a criminal case is apparently not a lawyer (well, that’s what the certification from the Office of Bar Confidant stated).

Of course, there are exceptions. For instance, 4th year law students may practice law under a Supreme Court-sanctioned clinical legal education program, just like the U.P. College of Law Office of Legal Aid (OLA).

How to initially check if someone who claims to be a “lawyer” is really a lawyer? You can check the Law List at the Supreme Court website. Please note that the Law List is only up to a certain date (so make sure to check the list those who passed the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 bar exams are in the SC website). Please also note that someone who passed the bar exams, without having taken the oath, is not yet a full-fledged lawyer. To be sure, however, check with the SC Office of the Bar Confidant. They have the complete record.

It may happen that a person in Law List: (a) is already dead; (b) had been suspended from the practice of law; or (c) disbarred. It may also happen that the name is registered in the Law List, but the identity of that lawyer is being used by a non-lawyer.

One thought on “Know Your Lawyer

  1. Pingback: Annulment in the Philippines: Questions and Answers (Part 4) at Philippine e-Legal Forum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *