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Dacanay vs. Baker & McKenzie [A.C. No. 2131 May 10, 1985]

16 Aug

Ponente: AQUINO, J.

FACTS:

[R]espondent Vicente A. Torres, using the letterhead of Baker & McKenzie, which contains the names of the ten lawyers, asked a certain Rosie Clurman for the release of 87 shares of Cathay Products International, Inc. to H.E. Gabriel, a client. Attorney Dacanay, in his reply dated December 7, 1979, denied any liability of Clurman to Gabriel. He requested that he be informed whether the lawyer of Gabriel is Baker & McKenzie “and if not, what is your purpose in using the letterhead of another law office.” Not having received any reply, he filed the instant complaint. As admitted by the respondents in their memorandum, Baker & McKenzie is a professional partnership organized in 1949 in Chicago, Illinois with members and associates in 30 cities around the world. Respondents, aside from being members of the Philippine bar, practicing under the firm name of Guerrero & Torres, are members or associates of Baker & McKenzie.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Baker & McKenzie, an alien law firm, could practice law in the Philippines.

HELD:

NO. Respondents were enjoined from practicing law under the firm name Baker & McKenzie.

RATIO:

Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules of Court).

[R]espondents’ use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie constituted a representation that being associated with the firm they could “render legal services of the highest quality to multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and investment”. This was unethical because Baker & McKenzie was not authorized to practice law here.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

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