Attorney; Lawyer-Client Relationship. Respondent Obias was charged for grave misconduct and/or gross malpractice. The Supreme Court held that since respondent publicly held herself out as lawyer, the mere fact that she also acted as a real estate broker did not divest her of the responsibilities attendant to the legal profession. In this regard, the legal advice and/or legal documentation that she offered and/or rendered regarding the real estate transaction subject of this case should not be deemed removed from the category of legal services. Case law instructs that if a person, in respect to business affairs or troubles of any kind, consults a lawyer with a view to obtaining professional advice or assistance, and the attorney voluntarily permits or acquiesces with the consultation, then the professional employment is established.
Moreover, according to the Court, respondent grossly violated the trust and confidence reposed in her by her clients, in contravention of Canons 17 and 18 of the Code. Records disclose that instead of delivering the deed of sale covering the subject property to her clients, she wilfully notarized a deed of sale over the same property in favor of another person. It is a core ethical principle that lawyers owe fidelity to their clients’ cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in them. Thus, respondent was disbarred by the Court.