SECTION 50. Separate funds. – A lawyer shall keep the funds of the clients separate and apart from his or her own and those of others kept by the lawyer. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)
Lawyers are required to “keep the funds of the clients separate and apart from his or her own and those of others kept by the lawyer.”
[U]sing a client’s funds for the lawyer’s personal use and depositing the same in his personal account is prohibited. (Aguilar-Dyquiangco v. Arellano, En Banc, A.C. No. 10541, July 12, 2016, Per Caguioa, J.)
Aguilar-Dyquiangco v. Arellano, En Banc, A.C. No. 10541, July 12, 2016, Per Caguioa, J.:
• In this case, Respondent admitted that she commingled her money and those of the Complainant for the bracelet business by opening an East West Bank joint account for the said purpose. To be sure, Commissioner Cachapero noted that Respondent has not shown that she had made any effort to separate her funds from Complainant’s money and properly account for the same, including any withdrawals Respondent made therefrom.
[A] lawyer is obliged to hold in trust money of his client that may come to his possession. As trustee of such funds, he is bound to keep them separate and apart from his own. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as for the filing and processing of a case if not utilized, must be returned immediately upon demand. Failure to return gives rise to a presumption that he has misappropriated it in violation of the trust reposed on him. And the conversion of funds entrusted to him constitutes gross violation of professional ethics and betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession. (Bondoc v. Licudine, En Banc, A.C. No. 12768, June 23, 2020, Per Gesmundo, J.)