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Improper claim of influence or familiarity, C2S15 CPRA

Section 15, Canon II

SECTION 15. Improper claim of influence or familiarity. – A lawyer shall observe propriety in all dealings with officers and personnel of any court, tribunal, or other government agency, whether personal or professional. Familiarity with such officers and personnel that will give rise to an appearance of impropriety, influence, or favor shall be avoided.
A lawyer shall not make claims of power, influence, or relationship with any officer of a court, tribunal, or other government agency. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)

1. Improper claim of influence or familiarity

a. Observe propriety in all dealings with officers and personnel of any court, tribunal, or other government agency

Propriety – means “the quality or state of being proper or suitable.” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Whether personal or professional, lawyers are required to observe propriety in all dealings with officers and personnel of any court, tribunal, or other government agency,

In personal dealings, or out of work situations, lawyers are expected to continually observe propriety with officers and personnel of any court, tribunal, or other government agency. Meaning, in socializing, lawyers should avoid bringing up cases pending before them, convincing or persuading them to their client’s cause, or any other similar improprieties.

b. Avoid familiarity with such officers and personnel that will give rise to an appearance of impropriety, influence, or favor

Familiarity – means “a state of close relationship.” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Lawyers are duty-bound to avoid familiarity with such officers and personnel that will give rise to an appearance of impropriety, influence, or favor.

Public perception matters. Thus, lawyers should refrain from making it appear that they can gain influence or favor from such officers and personnel due to their familiarity with them.

Lantoria v. Bunyi, A.C. No. 1769, 08 June 1992:

• The subject letters indeed indicate that respondent had previous communication with Judge Galicia regarding the preparation of the draft decisions in Civil Case Nos. 81, 83, and 88, and which he in fact prepared. Although nothing in the records would show that respondent got the trial court judge’s consent to the said preparation for a favor or consideration, the acts of respondent nevertheless amount to conduct unbecoming of a lawyer and an officer of the Court.

c. Avoid claims of power, influence, or relationship with any officer of a court, tribunal, or other government agency

Further, lawyers should avoid making claims of power, influence, or relationship with any officer of a court, tribunal, or other government agency.

Hence, lawyers should not be making claims or statements that they have the power or influence to obtain desired results from any officer of a court, tribunal, or other government agency. Neither should they make any representations that they have some form of relationship with these officers. In other words, lawyers should avoid influence peddling.

References

Canon II, 2023 Code of Professional Responsibility

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