The Firm understands the impact of a major litigation. Often costly and inconvenient, the Firm is committed to helping clients avoid them. When litigation becomes unavoidable, the Firm strategizes and determines the best course of action to fully protect the client’s interests or to contain the risks and minimize its effects. Equally proficient in non-adversarial approaches and full-blown trials, the Firm’s lawyers are competently equipped to represent clients in all areas of litigation practice in any part of the country. It has won landmark cases which eventually found their way in the annals of Philippine jurisprudence.
CORPORATE AND CIVIL LITIGATION
The Firm is known for its excellent track record in corporate and civil litigation and has ﬁgured in several landmark decisions that have delineated and clariﬁed important legal concepts in corporation law and civil law. It has represented and won intra-corporate disputes on behalf of both corporate and individual clients. It has represented both creditors and debtors in corporate rehabilitation proceedings, as well as receivers in liquidation/dissolution proceedings. The Firm also has expertise in handling the whole gamut of civil cases arising from contractual and family disputes, tort, and product liability. While these cases may take years to resolve, the Firm has been known for creative legal strategies that afford clients the most efﬁcacious means of securing relief within the constraints of legal processes.
CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND DEFENSE
The Firm also maintains an active criminal prosecution and defense practice. It counsels clients undergoing preliminary investigation or facing other governmental inquiries. Retired members of the judiciary, who serve as counsels to the firm, are ready to assist in trials, appeals and other court proceedings of various criminal offenses.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND ARBITRATION
The Firm prefers to advocate early settlement of disputes over a prolonged legal war of attrition. Where appropriate and to reduce the costs and delays often associated with litigation, the Firm recommends the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques to bring about prompt and efficient resolution to complex legal disputes.
With respect to arbitration, it is able to assist in two ways: 1) help determine whether arbitration is a time and cost efficient way of settling a dispute; and 2) providing the expertise and resources necessary to conduct a full-fledged arbitration proceeding.
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
The Firm’s lawyers have cutting edge experience in dealing with various labor issues including matters relative to human resources development, conditions of employment, labor organization, unfair labor practices, collective bargaining agreement, strikes and lockouts as well as post-employment issues.
The Firm helps companies draft as well as implement personnel policies and procedures which are tailor fitted to suit the client’s business objectives and compliant with labor laws. Likewise, the Firm guides clients in complying with various government regulations pertaining to occupational safety and health standards and social security as well as help clients cope with labor and employment issues presented by mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and other commercial transactions.
The Firm actively assists in maintaining industrial peace in the workplace. Its lawyers are adept at negotiating fair, just and reasonable collective bargaining agreements and effectively implementing such agreements. In all of these areas, the Firm makes every effort to meet the clients’ needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
The Firm’s practice extends to providing legal assistance on issues involving family and domestic relations, and advising them on the proper and the most judicious remedies in every given situation. The Firm has in its roster lawyers who have in-depth knowledge of family law and are equipped with strong people skills and the ability to handle stressful family situations, whose expertise and experience are crucial in assisting clients of their various concerns which include domestic violence, petition for temporary and permanent protective orders, legal separation, annulment and declaration of nullity of marriage, property settlements, adoption, matters of paternity and filiation, and custody.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ELECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
The Firm’s lawyers have had extensive dealings with various local governments in the country, such as negotiations involving local and community taxation, processing of local government permits and licenses, and real property assessment and taxation.
Also, the Firm has seasoned election lawyers who have planned and handled successful election strategies for hopeful and incumbent elective officials during the campaign period and elections. These services include conducting seminars for watchers and campaign staff, pre-election, counting of ballots, canvassing, representation in pre-proclamation controversies and election protests.
NATURALIZATION AND IMMIGRATION
The Firm provides general legal immigration and alien registration services. It also represents foreigners who desire to be granted Filipino citizenship through judicial naturalization proceedings or the Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000. It also provides legal assistance to former natural-born Filipino citizens planning to re-acquire their citizenship under the retention and re-acquisition act.
B. CORPORATE AND SPECIAL PROJECTS
BANKING AND FINANCE
The Firm has extensive experience in banking and financial transactions and has worked on various securitizations, structured and project financing. In addition to structuring and negotiating treasury and trust products, the Firm also assists institutional investors on their investment management mandates and securities-lending programmes. Its comprehensive expertise in this field of practice ensures clients of outputs and results that are efficient and custom-tailored to suit each client’s peculiar needs.
The Firm is likewise engaged in advisory work for corporate trustees and agency service providers in relation to the general exercise of trustee powers and discretions. It has represented both creditors and borrowers in complex and simple loan and facility syndications.
GENERAL CORPORATE SERVICES
Formation of business entities, contract drafting, review and negotiations as well as the provision of corporate secretarial and director-nominee services are some of the corporate legal services offered by the Firm. The Firm’s active participation in various legal and regulatory corporate matters enables it to provide pinpoint legal advice.
The Firm’s expertise includes advising on and negotiating the documentation of complex corporate business ventures, leveraged and management buy-outs, mergers and acquisitions, as well as the initiation or thwarting of corporate take-overs. It likewise provides competent representation in corporate workouts, corporate rehabilitation and debt restructurings. The Firm also handles joint venture transactions and debt and equity public offerings.
The Firm assists clients throughout all stages of a project; providing legal advice and strategies which are practical and cost-efficient. The Firm also performs extensive due diligence and suggests constructive ways to adequately protect the interests of the client.
The Firm provides innovative approaches to ensure that the clients’ desired results and objectives are attained without violating the requirements laid.
From small businesses to large multinationals, the Firm negotiates—and if necessary litigates—on both life and non-life insurance claims, including the preparation and review of various insurance contracts.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
The Firm’s merger and acquisition team has the experience and expertise in acting as counsel for either the surviving or absorbed corporation in a merger. It has assisted clients in negotiating the terms of the merger, drafting the plan and articles of the merger, obtaining regulatory approvals, securing BIR rulings on tax-free exchanges and carrying out post-merger implementation.
The Firm also advises on a full range of deal structures from initiating and thwarting take-overs, leveraged and management buy-outs, proxy solicitations, tender offers and divestments.
CORPORATE REHABILITATION AND INSOLVENCY
The Firm is skilled in providing practical and commercial advice on how to deal with corporate rehabilitation and insolvency. It has also been involved in major litigations representing the creditor or the financially distressed debtor. A significant number of cases which resulted in success for the firm’s clients now form part of the Philippines.
The Firm’s vast experience in structuring foreign investments stems from its involvement in various transactions for different industries, e.g., power, financial, retail, steel, and realty.
The Firm’s investment services include setting up offshore companies; the documentation of fixed rate corporate notes, fixed rate note sub participations, and asset-backed securities, convertible bonds, trade finance facilities and debt assignments; international swaps and derivatives (schedule and transactions); registration, incorporation and capitalization of representative and branch offices.
POWER GENERATION AND ENERGY (OIL, GAS AND PETROLEUM)
The Firm caters to the different legal and regulatory needs of various oil and gas industry players by providing the necessary legal assistance and advice on various regulatory requirements, pricing matters, energy project development, tax-related issues, as well as securing government permits, approvals and endorsements.
The Firm’s environmental law practice embraces the ﬁelds of environmental management and regulations, securing permits, clearances and licenses; special liaisons with state regulatory agencies and local government units; land use and titling, and exploration of natural resources.
The Firm is well versed in the legal developments pertaining to the Philippine information technology sector. Hence, it is able to provide advice on the implementation of electronic commercial transactions. It has been involved in the negotiation and drafting of information technology contracts and technology transfer arrangements.
The Firm likewise acts as adviser to many leading IT companies and interconnection service providers in the country.
The Firm’s environmental law practice embraces the fields in environmental management and regulations, securing permits, clearances and licenses; special liaisons with state regulatory agencies and local government units; land use and titling, and exploration of natural resources.
The Firm provides a wide array of legal services for the registration, protection and enforcement of patents, trademarks and copyrights. It facilitates application and registration of intellectual property rights and extends legal assistance and support in the prosecution of copyright infringement, counterfeiting, unfair competition and other forms of intellectual property rights violations.
In this regard, the Firm regularly appears before lower and appellate courts, as well as the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.
From small businesses to large multinationals, the Firm negotiates, and if necessary litigates, on both life and non-life insurance claims, including the preparation and review of various insurance contracts.
TRANSPORTATION AND MARITIME LAW
The Firm handles negotiations and litigation work involving loss of cargo and property, bills of lading claims, general and particular average claims, arrest of vessels and cargo, insurance claims involving partial or total loss, liability for repairs, salvage, towage, collision, and claims of employees and crew members against the vessel and other maritime accidents.
The Firm also assists in the preparation of regulatory documentation of vessels, including registration and licensing, as well as various maritime contracts such as bills of lading, charter parties, and contracts for the purchase, sale, charter, financing and construction of ocean-going vessels.
C. TAXATION AND ESTATE PLANNING
The Firm assists in ensuring compliance with tax laws, minimizing tax implications, and rendering tax planning advice and opinions on various commercial and financial matters. The Firm likewise assists clients in securing tax rulings, opinions and clearances from the Bureau of Internal Revenue and other appropriate agencies. It also handles tax litigation before Philippine Courts. In addition, the Firm handles tax assessments, tax protests, and claims for refund..
The Firm has been involved in all aspects of estate planning including the drafting of wills, the appointment of executors and the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. In this regard, the Firm always endeavors to provide the most cost-efficient advice that would inure to the benefit of the estate and its beneficiaries.
D. CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION
Through the collaborative efforts of the different departments of the Firm, DivinaLaw has developed complementary programs for risk and crisis management.
Risk management involves a thorough review of possible regulatory and legal risks of a client. Documents with legal implications are subjected to audit and proposed modifications, when applicable, are made.
Red flags are identified and addressed in close coordination with management to avoid potential crisis situations. The Firm can likewise update clients on all issuances affecting its business and provide briefings or trainings to key personnel an issuances that affect them. For crisis management, the Firm has a team composed of its in-house public relations experts and lawyers adept at handling crisis situations.
Crisis management has not traditionally been thought of as a separate field of specialization for private practitioners. However, with the rising prominence of social media, netizen journalism, recent changes in technology and the advent of the digital space, the firm took a bold move to familiarize itself with crisis situations that require not just purely legal responses but have public relations dimension as well.
Before a crisis even occurs, DivinaLaw’s crisis management team helps its client craft a crisis management plan. Once the crisis occurs, DivinaLaw’s crisis management team interfaces with the client’s management, particularly officers from the operating unit concerned to conduct post crisis fact finding; provide swift response to stem the crisis or minimize damage; and recommend short and long term solutions to management. The team monitors and "controls" information that comes out; crafts and disseminates message for the stakeholders and the public; and proceeds
to repair any damage to public image and assure stakeholders that recovery is underway.
From crisis management planning to actual implementation, DivinaLaw has been able to assist its clients in situations of potential or actual crisis, both from legal standpoint and PR standpoint.
E. LEGAL EDUCATION AND POLICY REFORM
Part of the services the Firm renders to clients is the conduct of trainings and seminars on various topics within their areas of concern. Due to increasing clamor, however, the Firm has begun opening its doors to the public, especially on current legal developments. It is in response to this need that the Firm has decided to institutionalize its Legal Education arm.
As lawyers steeped in legal practice, the Firm is in an ideal position to help educate its clients and the public on various legal topics and developments. Fostering a better grasp and appreciation of laws and regulations ensures better compliance on the part of stakeholders. Thus, legal education has an important CSR dimension.
Policy reform was a logical next step. An acute understanding of existing laws and regulations is necessary to be able to propose meaningful legislative changes or reform measures for policy-making agencies.
As practitioners, the Firm's lawyers often encounter loopholes or areas that need improvement or enhancement in our laws and regulations. There are also many instances when a client's problems can best be addressed by legislation or policy reform. The Firm has a competent and experienced team that can draft policy measures and proposed legislations which can be brought to the attention of the pertinent governmental bodies.
The Firm follows through by providing the necessary research or other information that will help policymakers act on the proposed changes. Apart from providing longer-term solutions to clients' problems, the Firm's policy reform work also serves as an avenue for lawyers to pursue their advocacies such as consumer protection, women's issues, etc.