Sample final exam in ethics law


The legal profession known as the noble and ancient profession has ethical tenets that require its votaries, the so called suitors of the law, to adhere and observe continuing fidelity to the ethical tenets of the profession. In fact in the Utopian sense, the success of a lawyer is and should always be measured by the way the votary of the law adheres to the ethical standards of the profession. If the law profession has to remain an honorable calling it is imperative that "those enrolled in its rank should not master its tenets and principles but should also, by their lives, accord continuing fidelity to them." (https://arellanolaw.edu/alpr/v10n1a.pdf citing Agpalo, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2002 Ed.,p.1, citing Docena vs. Limon, 98 SCAD 232; 295 SCRA 262)

Here's a 20-item sample examination in Legal and Judicial Ethics.

[1] Discuss briefly the following concepts in legal ethics:

a. The bedrock doctrine;
b. The revolving door doctrine;
c. Ambulance chasing;
d. Champerty;
e. Quantum meruit;
f. Disciplinary actions against lawyers and judges as sui generis; and
g. Dual function of disciplinary actions against lawyers and judges.

[2] XX, a court employee, was found by the IBP and the OCA to be a drug user. Although no criminal action was instituted against her, she was recommended to be dismissed from service. She argued, however, that under the anti-drugs law, first-time offenders such as her are not punished by imprisonment but by rehabilitation. She would want the Supreme Court to temper the recommendation and, instead, impose suspension in view of the liberal approach of the law toward first-time drug users.

You are the Supreme Court. Decide.

[3] Atty. X, who was admitted to the practice of law just 3 months ago, forgot to file allege the assessed value of the realty subject of a suit in the RTC. As a result, the case was dismissed. He approached his client and asked for another 150,000-pesos filing fee. Angry, the client went to the IBP to have Atty. X disbarred.

In disciplinary actions against lawyers what is the effect of being a new lawyer and that of being a seasoned lawyer?

[4] Mr. Kriminal committed a crime against Judge Biktima in the Municipality of Wala. The crime is within the jurisdiction of the MTC of which Judge Biktima is the presiding judge. Judge Biktima filed a criminal action against Mr. Kriminal in his own sala because it is the only court in that municipality. 

Later, Judge Biktima inhibited himself. QUESTION: Should Judge Biktima be fined or dismissed from service?

[5] Atty. D was required by Judge H of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt of court for shouting invectives at the opposing counsel and harassing his witness. Assuming that there was sufficient cause or ground, may Judge H suspend Atty. D from the practice of law? If Judge H finds that the actuations of Atty. D are grossly unethical and unbecoming of a member of the bar, may Judge H disbar Atty. D instead? Explain your answer.

[6] In a case between A and B, represented by Atty. X and Atty. Y, respectively, Judge Hukom received a motion for inhibition which seems to be supported by a valid ground. What he did was to hire Atty. Magaling to defend him and oppose the motion. This, Atty. Magaling did.

Atty. X, representing the movant, filed a disciplinary action against Judge Hukom and Atty. Magaling. Decide the case.

[7] The court ordered Atty. Z to testify as a witness for his client in the very case he is handling, but he refused on the ground that it would violate the rule on privileged communication. Atty. Z is guilty of?

[8] Atty. AAA advised his client that abortion is a legal option. Should he be disciplined? Explain fully.

[9a] Can a lawyer who lacks the number of units required by the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Board continue to practice his profession? 

[b] May a lawyer be held liable for damages by his clients for the lawyer’s failure to file the necessary pleadings to prosecute the client’s case and as a result of which the client suffered damages?
[c] Can a lawyer still practice his profession despite having arrears in his Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) dues?

[10] Why are Provincial Governors and Municipal Mayors who are lawyers MCLE exempt? Explain.

[11] Although not counsel in a particular case, Atty. Anthony asked Lisa, the RTC clerk of court, if the case records have already been remanded to the MTC as the Court of Appeals directed. Lisa said no, saying that the RTC had not yet received a certified copy of the Court of Appeals’ decision. When Lisa suggested that Atty. Anthony first secure such a copy, the latter scolded her. Shamed by this, Lisa filed a disciplinary action against him for encroaching on the work of the lawyers of record. Anthony defends his follow-up action by claiming good faith and the possibility of entering his appearance later. Is Anthony liable for his record follow up?

[12] Atty. Melissa witnessed the car accident that resulted in injury to Manny, a friend of hers. While visiting him at the hospital, she advised him about what action he needed to take regarding the accident. Is Atty. Melissa subject to disciplinary action if she eventually handles the case for him?

[13] Court Administrator's auditing team found that Judge Ruby used business cards which stated, in addition to her official title as presiding judge of her court, that she is bar topnotcher, her law school’s "class valedictorian," and "one of the most sought after private law practitioners" before she joined the judiciary, all of which are true. Asked to explain this seeming impropriety, Ruby pointed out that business cards can include the person’s "title" which is broad enough to include in her case her standing in the bar and all the honors she earned. Did Ruby commit an impropriety?

[14] Atty. Rey has been a professor in the Legal Management Department of Y University for thirty (30) years. He teaches Constitution, Obligation and Contracts, Insurance, Introduction to Law. Is he exempted from the MCLE requirement?

[15] What is the extent of the Supreme Court’s power to discipline law students? Explain fully. 

[16] Bong Tupak, a second year law student, was charged in the RTC for Forcible Abduction with Rape. Having knowledge of criminal law and procedure, he dismissed the counsel de oficio assigned and appeared for himself. He asserted that there was lack of force. Eventually, the RTC found him guilty of Consented Abduction and imposed the penalty. Bong Tupak now assails the decision, saying that there was a violation of due process because he was allowed to appear by himself and he did not know that Consented Abduction is a crime. Decide.

[17] Atty. Atras was the counsel for Mr. Abante. Soon after the case was submitted for decision, Mr. Abante got the files and informed Atty. Atras that he was hiring another lawyer. On that same day, a copy of the decision was received by Atty. Atras but he did not do anything anymore. He also' failed to file his withdrawal, and no appearance was made by the new counsel. When Mr. Abante found out about the adverse decision, the period to appeal had lapsed. Was service to Atty. Atras effective?

[18] Explain fully the doctrine of “service to one, service to all” in ethics law.

[19] Atty. Dude is the COMELEC Officer in a very distant municipality. He is. the only lawyer in that area. When election period is over, he has much spare time. Many people go to him for counseling, legal advice, preparation of documents of Sale, Mortgage and the like. He does not charge a fee in money, but he receives gifts which are offered. Is there impropriety?

[20] Atty. Bravo represents Carlos Negar (an insurance agent for Dormir Insurance Co.) in a suit filed by insurance claimant Andy Limot who also sued Dormir Insurance. The insurance policy requires the insured/claimant to give a written notice to the insurance company or its agent within 60 days from the occurrence of the loss. 

Limot testified during the trial that he had mailed the notice of the loss to the insurance agent, but admitted that he lost the registry receipt so that he did not have any documentary evidence of the fact of mailing and of the timeliness of the mailed notice. Dormir Insurance denied liability, contending that timely notice had not been given either to the company or its agent. Atty. Bravo’s client, agent Negar, testified and confirmed that he never received any notice.

A few days after Negar testified, he admitted to Atty. Bravo that he had lied when he denied receipt of Limot’s notice; he did receive the notice by mail but immediately shredded it to defeat Limot’s claim.

If you were Atty. Bravo, what would you do in light of your client’s (Carlos Negar’s) disclosure that he perjured himself when he testified?

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