“Lawyers’ services are still needed despite online legal advice and dispute resolution” – Manila Bulletin

CJ Alexander G. Gesmundo at the Joint Regional Convention of the Eastern and Western Visayas Regions of the Integrated Bar Association of the Philippines in Cebu City on October 13, 2022.

Lawyers’ services will always remain relevant and necessary despite the dawn of the digital age affecting all human activities, including legal processes and proceedings, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo said Thursday, October 13.

Speaking at the Joint Regional Convention of the Eastern and Western Visayas Regions of the Integrated Bar Association of the Philippines (IBP) in Cebu City, Gesmundo challenged members of the legal profession to “address developments in information technology which have a particular impact on traditional routine legal tasks”. and activities.

Gesmundo told IBP members that since the digital age has emerged in the legal profession, there is now a trend towards new models of legal service delivery that are more technology-driven than “intensive labour”, such as in drafting contracts, collecting data, and obtaining a license from administrative bodies, among others.

But Gesmundo stressed that practicing law will remain important even as traditional tasks become fully automated.

“Conflicts never cease in human society, and courts exist to resolve them in the light of the particular facts and the laws in force at the time…. As long as governments cannot function without a judicial system, the legal profession remains as lawyers and barristers have an indispensable role in the administration of justice,” he said.

He said that prosecuting and defending criminal cases are tasks that cannot be standardized in a computer program.

“Lawyers can be overwhelmed by computer applications that involve routine tasks and those that provide basic information about the provisions of the law and procedural rules. But [such computer applications] cannot defend a client’s case or assess the evidentiary values ​​in a given case,” he stressed.

“Indeed, as long as arbitration involves a process of human reasoning in the application and interpretation of the law, the legal profession will never fade into a virtual future,” he said.

The Chief Justice also pointed out that the interface of technology and justice systems involves more than the infusion of technology into justice processes.

“As lawyers and counsel, you are first and foremost officers of the court, whose duty it is to defend your client’s case only by fair, lawful and honorable means. It involves honesty and good faith in gathering and presenting evidence in court to allow the judge to consider all the facts and the law (even if they are not favorable to your side) and make judgments. fair and correct decisions,” he also said.

Citing the equal importance of courts and lawyers, Gesmundo said:

“Indeed, counsel and lawyers (Law Bar) play a crucial role as key players – alongside judges (Bench) – in the administration of justice as two wheels moving together in the same direction. Failure of either wheel results in a catastrophic miscarriage of justice.

The Chief Justice also issued a reminder to lawyers:

“All these innovations, even the latest technologies, will not guarantee that justice will be done for litigants. Because the quality of justice rendered by the courts depends largely on the services of lawyers.

“And while the provision of legal services may have moved online, lawyers should remember that they remain strictly bound by their oath and the ethical rules of the legal profession.”

The theme for the Cebu City convention is “Lawyers Bridging Relevance

and resilience in a changing world.