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Freedom from improper consideration & external influences, C1S3 CPRA

Section 3, Canon I

SECTION 3. Freedom from improper considerations and external influences. – A lawyer shall not, in advocating a client’s cause, be influenced by dishonest or immoral considerations, external influences, or pressure. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)

Consideration – means “the inducement to a contract or other legal transaction.” (Meriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Dishonest – means “characterized by lack of truth, honesty, or trustworthiness.” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Dishonest considerations – refer to inducements that are dishonest, untruthful, or untrustworthy.

Immoral – means “conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles.” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Immoral considerations – refer to inducements that are generally against prevailing morals.

1. Freedom from improper considerations and external influences

a. Not be influenced by dishonest or immoral considerations

1) Dishonest considerations

When it comes to advocating a client’s cause, lawyers should not be influenced by dishonest considerations, such as being compensated or rewarded with a share from the proceeds of a criminal activity.

2) Immoral considerations

Similarly, lawyers should not be persuaded or convinced to advocate a client’s cause for immoral considerations, such as taking on an undertaking in exchange for something immoral (e.g., sexual congress) or to enact vengeance or retribution against another.

A member of the bar should have moral integrity in addition to professional probity. (Arciga v. Maniwang, A.C. No. 1608, 14 August 1981)

Immoral conduct has been defined as “that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community.” (Arciga v. Maniwang [1981], supra.)

Immoral conduct is gross when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree, or when committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the community’s sense of decency. (Garrido v. Garrido, En Banc, A.C. 65983, 04 February 2010)

Membership in the legal profession is bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in law, but also known to possess good moral character. Lawyers should act and comport themselves with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach, in order to promote the public’s faith in the legal profession. (Jimenez v. Francisco, A.C. No. 10548, 10 December 2014)

a) Gross immorality

For misconduct to warrant disciplinary action, the same must be “grossly immoral, that is, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.” (Fabugais v. Faundo, G.R. No. 10145, 11 June 2018)

Immoral conduct and gross immorality are distinguished from each other as the supreme penalty of disbarment arising from conduct requires grossly immoral, not simply immoral, conduct. (Garrido v. Garrido [2010], supra.)

Not be influenced by external influences or pressure

External influences or pressure can come from various sources, usually from people that the lawyer is already familiar with.

These include:

1) Clients;

2) Family and relatives;

3) Friends;

4) Fraternities, sororities, and other similar organizations;

5) Professors, teachers, etc.;

6) Colleagues or co-workers, whether current or former;

7) Employers, managers, supervisors, whether current, former, or expected; and

8) Analogous therewith.

See related:

Independent, accessible, efficient, & effective legal practice, C1S1 CPRA

References

Canon I, 2023 Code of Professional Responsibility

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