Top Law Firms in the Philippines

Last Updated – Nov 10, 2021 @ 7:39 am

Have you been thinking about hiring a lawyer to help with your legal problems, but are unsure of which one to go for? You’ve come to the right place. This article will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on who is best suited for your needs. 

Lawyers vary greatly in the type of services they offer. More expensive ones may not be any better than cheaper ones. Before we get into the factors that might influence your decision, it’s important to know which lawyers are considered to be the best of the best by many Filipinos.

When choosing a lawyer, you will want one who is reputable and has a good track record. Rather than basing their success on gaining large profits, these lawyers focus on a lesser number of high-value cases. The result is a sound success rate and an abundance of positive reviews from their clients.

We’ve compiled this list to help you find the law firm that suits your needs. These law firms have experts who will cater to your every need, they offer fast turnaround rates and competitive rates, and they provide personalized service tailored specifically for you. 

We walk you through the best law firms in the Philippines in more detail below.

Top Law Firms in the Philippines

If you’ve ever tried shopping for a lawyer before, you already know how difficult it can be. Everyone knows a lawyer, but which one is the best for your specific case? There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a law firm, and you want to make sure that each potential firm has what you need. 

Law firms specialize in specific practice areas, but they also have individual lawyers that are experts in different fields of law as well. What you want is a firm that has both knowledgeable specialists and generalists who can handle anything. When you’re shopping around for the best Filipino law firms, make sure to research each one before you make a final decision.

The best law firm will always be the best one that works for your specific needs. 

We highlight the top ten law firms generally rated as the best in the country. If others know they are the best, they obviously do, too, so don’t expect any big bargains. You will, however, have peace of mind that your case is in the best possible hands.

Not everyone can afford to have these firms in their corner, but checking them out is still a great way of pinning down what, exactly, you need from your legal dream team.

Chan Robles Law Firm

Chan Robles began in 1991 with Attys. Joselito Guianan Chan and Reynaldo Bustos Robles. The firm has over a dozen full-time lawyers in its employ, backed by a full team of paralegals, consultants, and other support staff.

Despite its relatively smaller operation, Chan Robles takes pride in its round-the-clock, hands-on approach. Its office will always have at least one lawyer present, with a full support team behind them, to provide emergency legal assistance to clients. 

The firm has retained many of its clients throughout the years due to the close, personal relationships they foster with them.

This is in line with the Chan Robles belief that clients are not just sources of income, but rather partners for life. As such, they are always dealt with candidly, loyally, and honestly—and always with the client’s best interest at heart. 

The firm’s clients, though diverse in other ways, are mainly corporations.

Chan Robles is linked with Chan Robles & Wy, CPAs, which means its clients also have access to an accounting and auditing arm in-house. 

Chan Robles’ specialties include:

  • Intellectual property law
  • Tax law
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Contract law
  • Banking law
  • Wills and estate planning
  • International trade
  • Labor and industrial relations
  • Litigation

Some of their key services include:

  • Financial, investment, and legal advisory services
  • Wills and estate planning
  • Political and election consultancy
  • Collective bargaining negotiations
  • Patent and trademark registration
  • Intellectual property licensing or franchising agreements
  • Management advisory services

Contact Details:

  • Chan Robles’ head office: Suite 2205-B, 22nd Floor, Philippine Stock Exchange Centre, Tektite East Tower, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
  • Phone numbers:
    • (632) 8634 0741
    • (632) 8634 0742
    • (632) 8634 0743
    • (632) 8634 0744
    • (632) 8634 0745
    • Fax them at (632) 8634 0736
  • Website: https://lawfirm.chanrobles.com/

DivinaLaw

DivinaLaw prides itself on dynamic lawyering centered on a timely, proactive, and results-oriented approach to its work. 

The firm was launched in 2006 by Atty. Nilo T. Divina with five lawyers, each of whom specialized in different legal fields. DivinaLaw now has 70 lawyers on its team, in addition to a full support team. 

DivinaLaw is one of the most active Filipino firms on the world stage. It is the only firm from the Philippines in Lawyers Associated Worldwide as well as LEGALINK, both top-ranked international legal associations. Several of its lawyers have received individual awards from the Asia Business Law Journal. 

The firm itself was awarded by the same journal for being the top law firm in the following areas: litigation, banking and finance, private equity and venture capital, restructuring and insolvency, and corporate and commercial. 

DivinaLaw was also named Employer of Choice in 2021 by Asian Legal Business.1

DivinaLaw’s main practice areas are:

  • Litigation
  • Labor
  • Corporate & Special Projects
  • Arbitration & Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Intellectual Property
  • Tax and Estate Planning
  • E-Commerce & Technology
  • Immigration and Naturalization
  • Legal Education, Policy Reform, and Legislative Advocacy
  • Risk & Crisis Management

The firm made its name on a wide range of corporate law areas, distinguishing itself from competitors in just 15 years with its work on:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Corporate take-overs
  • Corporate rehabilitation

Other noteworthy services DivinaLaw provides are:

  • Labor disputes
  • Collective bargaining
  • Union disputes
  • Local government, election, and administrative litigation
  • Professional liability and malpractice
  • Mediation and alternative modes of dispute resolution
  • Corporate restructuring
  • Anti-money laundering compliance
  • Tax advisory
  • Copyright
  • Patent and trademark registration
  • Legal risk assessment and advisory
  • Bills, policies, and position papers

Contact Details:

  • Metro Manila office: 8th floor of the Pacific Star Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, corner Makati Avenue
  • Metro Cebu office address: Unit 1504 Ayala Life- FGU Center, Mindanao Avenue, corner Biliran Road, Cebu Business Park.
  • Phone Numbers:
    • Metro Manila: 632) 8822 0808, fax them at (632) 8822 7878
    • Cebu: (6332) 416 8018
  • Email: info@divinalaw.com
  • Website: https://www.divinalaw.com/

Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices

Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices is the brainchild of Attys. Krisanto Karlo E. Nicolas and Norieva De Vega. 

The firm is particularly renowned for its expertise in Information Technology law, which is one of Atty. Nicolas’ strongest areas, particularly with data privacy compliance. It is also highly rated in intellectual property law, which is the main area of practice for Atty. De Vega. 

Since its beginnings in 2007, Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices has kept its mission of providing individuals as well as small- and medium-sized businesses first-rate legal representation for reasonable prices. 

Nicolas & De Vega’s chief areas of practice are:

  • Litigation
  • Information Technology law
  • Family law
  • Corporate law
  • Labor law
  • Intellectual Property law
  • Entertainment law
  • Administrative, criminal, and civil litigation
  • Election law
  • Maritime law
  • Data privacy law and compliance
  • Competition and antitrust law

The firm can help you handle a wide variety of legal needs, such as:

  • Wills
  • Estate planning
  • Business due diligence
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Incorporation and business registration
  • Immigration and citizenship
  • Local and international taxation

Contact Information:

  • Nicolas & De Vega’s office: AIC Burgundy Tower: 16th floor, Suite 1607. ADB Avenue, corner Sapphire and Garnet Road, Ortigas Center 1605, Pasig City.
  • Phone Number: (632) 847 06126, fax number is (632) 8470 6130 
  • Email: info@ndvlaw.com
  • Website: https://ndvlaw.com/

ACCRALAW

ACCRALAW is one of the most established firms on this list. The firm launched way back in 1972 with five founding partners, spearheaded by Attys. Edgardo J. Angara and Manuel G. Abello. They were later joined by three more lawyers: Attys. Teodoro D. Regala, Jose C. Conception, and Avelino V. Cruz.

ACCRALAW quickly made its mark on the industry. The firm has aggressively grown with each passing year: it is presently comprised of 160 lawyers, 44 of whom are partners, with 130 support staff. ACCRALAW has reaped numerous awards for its excellence. Most recently, asialaw named it the top law firm in the Philippines for 2021.2 

The firm has employed dozens of lawyers who later transitioned to public service, working as Executive Secretaries, Senate Presidents, Senators, members of Congress, Securities and Exchanges (SEC) Chairpersons, and a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner. 

Due to its size, potential clients can expect a wide range of legal expertise. Some of the areas ACCRALAW specialize in are:

  • Corporate law
  • Litigation
  • Constitutional law
  • Agricultural law and agrarian reform
  • Taxation
  • Securities and capital markets
  • Public budding and procurement
  • Privacy, cybersecurity, and data protection
  • Criminal law
  • International law
  • Antitrust and trade regulation
  • Business process outsourcing
  • Trademark, servicemark, and tradename

ACCRALAW offers a full suite of legal services to meet your needs, including:

  • Wills and probate
  • Trust and estate planning
  • Partnerships
  • Anti-bribery, corruption, and anti-money laundering
  • Contracts
  • Insurance
  • Professional liability and consumer protection
  • Patents, utility models, and designs
  • Tariff and customs
  • Torts and damages
  • Zoning, planning, and land use

ACCRALAW has offices in Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Davao City.

Contact Information:

  • Metro Manila office: 22nd floor of the ACCRALAW building, 2nd Avenue corner 30th Street, Crescent Park West, Bonifacio Global City, 1635, Taguig.
    • Phone Number: (632) 8403 7007 or fax them at (632) 8403 7007 or (632) 8403 7009.
    • Email: accra@accralaw.com
  • Cebu City office: 6th floor of the Cebu Holdings Center Building, located at Cebu Business Park (Ayala), 6000 Cebu City.
    • Phone Number(s): (6332) 231 4223, (6332) 231 1449, (6332) 231 4266, and (6332) 231 1032. Its fax number is (6332) 231 3614.
    • Email: accralawcebu@accralaw.com. 
  • Davao City office: 11th floor of the Pryce Tower, located at the Pryce Business Park, J.P. Laurel Avenue, 8000 Davao City.
    • Phone Number(s): (6382) 224 0996, (6382) 224 0997, (6382)224 0998, (6382) 224 0984. Its fax number is (6382)224 0983.
    • Email: accralawdavao@accralaw.com
  • Website: https://accralaw.com/

Avenida & Diaz Law Office

Avenida & Diaz Law Office was previously known as Fernando Lagman & Avenida Law Offices. Unlike other firms in this list, this firm has a narrower focus, specializing mainly in two fields:

  • Immigration law
  • General business laws

Atty. Robenson D. Avenida handles the firm’s immigration and corporate teams, as well as its daily operations, while Atty. Carlo Artemus V. Diaz handles the firm’s trial and litigation teams. 

Avenida & Diaz Law Office is one of the country’s most renowned firms for immigration law and is an accredited partner of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. The firm has two decades’ worth of experience in visa and work permit applications, making it a key partner for multinational companies entering the Philippine market. 

If your legal needs are in the following areas, Avenida & Diaz Law Office is sure to be a good fit:

  • Tourist visa extension
  • Working permits
  • Working visas
  • Alien registration and other long-term visas
  • Naturalization
  • Company incorporation
  • Business registration
  • International visas and immigration services

Contact Information:

  • Manila office: 2nd floor of the ACT Tower in Makati City.
  • Phone Number: +632 8817 8920
  • Email: info@avenidalawoffice.com
  • Website: https://avenidalawoffice.com/

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan Law

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan was founded in 1945 and is one of the oldest, most prestigious firms on this list. In its seven decades of existence, the firm has maintained its top position in the industry, as evidenced by the firm’s consistent placements in industry publications’ yearly best-of lists.

Most recently, the firm was recognized as the Philippines’ top law firm in the Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2020.3

As one of the country’s largest firms, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan can handle a diverse array of legal needs. While the firm prides itself on its consistency across all legal fields, its several principal departments can be taken as an indication of its specialized areas:

  • Banking
  • Finance and securities
  • Corporate services
  • Intellectual property
  • Labor
  • Litigation
  • Special projects
  • Tax

Within these fields are even more specialized sub-fields of law such as immigration, maritime law, power, and shipping. 

The firm’s main clientele is comprised of domestic, foreign, and multinational business corporations in industries such as construction, mining, insurance, real estate, and energy.

Other key legal services SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan can assist you with are:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Litigation and arbitration
  • Privatization
  • Trade law and customs regulation
  • Tax
  • Investments
  • Environmental law
  • Corporate services

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan maintains four offices: one each for Metro Manila, Cebu City, Davao City, and Olongapo City. 

Contact Details:

  • Manila office: SyCipLaw Center, 105 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City.
    • Phone Number(s): +632 8982 3500; +632 8982 3600; and +632 8982 3700. Fax them at +632 8817 3145 or +632 88173896,
    • Email: sshg@syciplaw.com. 
  • Cebu office: 406 Keppel Center, Cardinal Rosales Avenue, corner Samar Loop, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City.
    • Phone Number(s): +6332 233 1211 to 13 and +6332 233 1950. For faxes, the number is +6332 233 1682.
    • Email: sshgcebu@syciplaw.com. 
  • Davao office: The Penthouse, 17th floor Landco Corporate Center, J.P. Laurel Avenue, Bajada, Davao City.
    • Phone Number(s): +6382 221 3917 or +6382 224 2742, as well as fax them at +632 224 2743.
    • Email: sshgdavao@syciplaw.com.
  • Olongapo office: Rooms 134 to 136 of the Alpha Building (888), Subic International Hotel, Central Business District, Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
    • Phone Number(s): +6347 252 3983 or +6347 252 3985. The fax number is +6347 252 3986.
    • Email: sshgsubic@syciplaw.com. 
  • Website: https://www.syciplaw.com/Home

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos

Also known as Picazo Law, Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos is one of the Philippines’ foremost firms when it comes to the fields of capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and banking and finance. 

Picazo Law is one of the best firms for corporations seeking to comply with the myriad requirements of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSG), the SEC, and other government agencies. Among the firm’s many illustrious clients are several companies—both listed and unlisted—included in the list of Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines. One of its most famous clients is Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc., the company that built the Solaire Resort and Casino. 

Despite its smaller size, Picazo Law and its team of roughly 60 lawyers is decidedly a full-service firm. In addition to its full coverage of corporate law, the firm also maintains a well-rounded team of lawyers to cover a wide range of practice areas, such as:

  • Telecommunications
  • Real estate
  • Gaming
  • Labor
  • Taxation
  • Litigation
  • Dispute resolutions

Some of the legal services and areas that Picazo Law is most renowned for are:

  • Business services
  • Capital markets
  • Estate planning
  • Energy and natural resources 
  • Business process outsourcing
  • Ports, tollways, and other utilities
  • Intellectual property
  • Intellectual property
  • Immigration

Contact Details:

  • Manila office: Penthouse of the Liberty Center – Picazo Law, 104 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
  • Phone Number(s): +632 8888 0999 or +632 8888 0311. Fax numbers: (632) 8888 1012, (632) 8844 6167, and (632) 8844 6169.
  • Email: picazolaw@picazolaw.com and picazolaw@picazolaw.com.ph
  • Website: https://picazolaw.com/

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles

The firm’s long and storied history can be traced back to a small commercial law pioneered by two volunteers from the US who elected to remain in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War: Attys. Allison D. Gibbs and William Kincaid. 

Later joined by Attys. Charles McDonough, Findley Gibbs, and Allison J. Gibbs, as well as the firm’s first Filipino partner Roman Ozaeta, the firm quickly expanded from its initial focus on corporate law to trial work and appellate practice, all leading up to its full-service status today. 

Since its beginnings in 2002, the firm has been part of several landmark cases that have since become jurisprudence that continues to be studied by contemporary law students, such as U.S. v. Ah Chong 15 Phil 488 (1910)4, Yu V. Trinidad U.S. 500 (1926)5, and the case of Ray Conley, a police detective alleged to have received bribes from Manila-based gamblers6

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles presently has over 90 lawyers on its roster. It is the only local member of the independent law firm organization Lex Mundi.

The firm keeps an old tradition of naming a law office based on the living and active partners but continues to pay homage to its roots. Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles celebrated its centennial anniversary in October 2002, with the descendants of Atty. Allison D. Gibbs present. 

The areas of practice Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles are most renowned for are:

  • Banking and finance
  • Intellectual property
  • Labor
  • Immigration
  • Corporate law
  • Technology, media, and telecommunications
  • Real estate and natural resources

Some of the legal services the firm can help you with are:

  • Taxation
  • Securities
  • Litigation and arbitration
  • Transportation
  • Project development
  • Estates
  • Family law 

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles has two local offices, in Metro Manila and Cebu City, as well as a Hongkong office. 

Contact Information:

  • Metro Manila office: 21st floor of the Philamlife Tower, 8767 Paseo De Roxas, Makati City.
    • Phone Number(s): (632) 8855 9555 and (632) 8848 0114. For faxes, (632) 8815 3172, (632) 8810 3110, (632) 8813 0906, and (632) 8818 0206.
    • Email: romulo@romulo.com
  • Cebu office: Unit 1204 Insular Life, Cebu Business Centre, Mindanao Avenue corner Biliran Road, Cebu Business Park.
    • Phone Number(s): (6332) 266 5930 or fax them via (6332) 266 5932
  • Hongkong office: 505 Inter Continental Plaza, 94 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon.
    • Phone Number(s): (852) 2866 2292 and its fax number is (852) 2866 1601.
    • Email: romulo@romulohk.com.
  • Website: http://www.romulo.com/

Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose

Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose launched in 1981 with 17 lawyers. The firm presently has over 50 lawyers on its team and a full complement of support staff, in line with its policy of judicious growth and expansion. 

The firm serves both local and international clients, consisting primarily of both local and international corporations. Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & SanJose’s avowed client-oriented approach has assisted dozens of multi-sectoral clients in all areas of corporate law. 

Among the firm’s main areas of practice aside from corporate law are:

  • Special projects
  • Litigation
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Intellectual property
  • Labor
  • Immigration
  • Taxation
  • Banking and finance
  • Power, oil, and gas
  • Manufacturing and trading
  • Chemicals

Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose is widely recognized for its work on:

  • Corporate restructuring
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Debt restructuring
  • Data privacy management
  • Settlement of estate and trusts
  • Union grievances
  • Mass tort
  • Securities regulation
  • Illegal dismissal cases
  • Unfair labor practices claims
  • Work permits and visas
  • Trademarks and patents
  • Tax advisory services

Contact Details:

  • Manila office: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 9th floors of The Valero Tower, 122 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
  • Phone Numbers:
    • (632) 8817 6791
    • (632) 8817 6792
    • (632) 8817 6793
    • (632) 8817 6794
    • (632) 8817 6795
    • (632) 8810 4371
    • (632) 8810 4372
    • (632) 8810 4373
    • Its fax numbers are (632) 8819 2724 and (632) 8819 2725.
  • Email: counsel@cltpsj.com.ph
  • Website: http://www.cltpsj.com.ph/

PunoLaw

PunoLaw was founded by Justice Ricardo Puno, Sr. in 1984, who is one of the few lawyers who also served in the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches of the Philippine government.

The firm’s original core practice areas were litigation and dispute resolution, but transitioned to a full-service firm soon after, with a particular focus on business law across several key local industries, such as infrastructure, project development, and mining. 

Widely regarded as the country’s top firm in energy practice, the firm has played a leading role in nearly all major energy and power transactions made within the last two decades. PunoLaw’s clients include industry titans such as Meralco, ATLAS Mining, Phenix, RP Energy, risco energy, Cebu Energy Development Corporation, and Visayan Electric Company. 

Some of PunoLaw’s other main practice areas are:

  • Real estate
  • Litigation and alternative dispute resolutions
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Taxation
  • Banking and finance
  • Corporate law
  • Commercial law
  • Privatization and private-public partnerships
  • Family law
  • Intellectual property
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Regulatory and legislative advocacy
  • Taxation
  • Cybercrime
  • Election law

PunoLaw’s roster of legal services covers multiple practice areas. These include:

  • Tax advocacy
  • Election protests
  • Project development
  • Contract drafting and negotiation
  • Licensing
  • Bid preparation and qualification
  • Transfer pricing services

Contact Information:

  • Manila office: 33rd floor of The Podium West Tower, 12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.
  • Phone number(s):
    • (632) 8631 1261
    • fax number is (632) 8631 7585
  • Email: info@punolaw.com
  • Website: https://www.punolaw.com/

Law Firms in the Philippines FAQs

What is a Law Firm?

Simply put, a law firm is simply a group of lawyers. More precisely, it is a business entity comprised of several lawyers.

Law firms advise their clients on their rights and obligations, as well as represent them in business transactions and criminal or civil cases. The lawyers within a law firm usually share office space and other resources to work more efficiently, although several have their own offices.

Law firms are organized around “partners”, who are the joint owners and business directors of their firms’ legal operations. Beneath them are associates, who are employees of firms that have been singled out as potential partners in the future. Law firms also employ a vast array of support staff, such as paralegals and clerical staff to assist their lawyers. 


How much does it cost to hire a lawyer in the Philippines?

In the Philippines, there is no set rate for legal services that law firms have to follow. Some chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) release guidelines on how specific legal services might cost, but law firms in that area are not compelled to adhere to them.7 

Also adding to the complexity are several factors that influence fees, such as a lawyer’s reputation, experience, and the nature and complexity of a given case. 

A legal consultation refers to a session with a lawyer regarding a legal concern of yours. This is normally quite informal: you just tell a lawyer about your problem and they will give their opinion on what you can do next. 

For legal consultations, you can expect to pay a general hourly rate of PHP 2,500 in Metro Manila or PHP 1,000 in provinces. This is simply a ballpark estimate; if you go with a famous lawyer, the consultation fees will likely be much higher. Some lawyers even offer free consultations. 

Remember that lawyers aren’t obliged to take these rates. If you’re worried about your budget, it might be best to clarify the consultation fees with the firm before moving forward. 

For documents that require legal advice, the going rates will again be based on complexity.

Some documents, like a deed for sale, may be priced based on a percentage of the sale. In the provinces, for example, the standard rate for a deed of sale is 2% of the purchase price or PHP 1,500, whichever is higher. Obviously, the rate will likely be higher in Metro Manila or other big cities.8 

Related: Top Business Services in the Philippines


What are the types of lawyers in the Philippines?

Lawyers in the Philippines typically specialize in one or more of these fields:

  • Administrative, Criminal, & Civil Litigation
  • Employment & Labor Law & Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Law & Litigation
  • Entertainment Law
  • Corporate Services, Business Organizations, Corporate Transactions, Commercial Law, and Litigation
  • Family Law, Estate Planning, Wills and Succession
  • Immigration & Citizenship
  • Admiralty and Maritime Law & Litigation
  • Local Government, Election Law, and Administrative Law
  • Local and International Taxation
  • Competition & Antitrust Law
  • Data Privacy Law & Compliance

Your choice of lawyer will ultimately depend on your legal needs. While any lawyer can help you notarize a “lost driver’s license” affidavit, for instance, not just any lawyer can help you draft more complex documents or if you’re involved in an ongoing court case. 

If your needs are not very complex, then any lawyer that you find through referrals or general research can be your best option. If you need more specialized services, it might be better to ask for recommendations among family, friends, or lawyers you already know.

We take a look at some of the common kinds of attorneys and the kinds of things you can expect them to help you with:

Corporate Lawyers 

A corporate lawyer handles the company’s business affairs and transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, going public or going out of business, intellectual property protection, and licensing contracts.

They also draft articles of incorporation for new companies as well as agreements on how partners can withdraw from existing businesses. In many cases, they also handle compliance with government regulations. 

Commercial Lawyers 

A commercial lawyer handles all sorts of contractual disputes between companies, such as breach of contract or product warranty cases. They also draft and negotiate contracts for the sale and purchase of goods, leasing agreements for real estate properties, and translation services, among others. 

Immigration Lawyers

An immigration lawyer will primarily advise Filipino ex-pats on immigration issues. They also advise non-Filipino nationals who are looking to reside or work in the country, for example. 

Family Lawyers

Family lawyers usually handle legal disputes between couples and among partners, partners’ children and in-laws, wills and estates planning (e.g. preparing a will for a client), adoption, guardianship, and other matters that usually come up in family court. 

Intellectual Property Lawyers

These lawyers specialize in intellectual property law (IP law) and are responsible for protecting and maintaining the ownership of patents, trademarks, trade names, and copyrights. They handle cases like an infringement on intellectual property rights and unfair competition. 

Criminal Lawyers

Criminal lawyers defend clients against criminal charges such as crimes against a person, crimes against property, a crime involving illegal drugs, or any other criminal offense. 

Employment Lawyers

Employment lawyers usually handle cases involving unfair dismissal or illegal termination of employees, non-payment of salaries and benefits, trade union disputes, and other similar grievances.

Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy lawyers help clients file for court protection when in dire financial straits and saddled with debt and other financial obligations. 

Tax Lawyers

Tax lawyers deal with income taxes, estate and property taxes, customs taxes, value-added taxes, and any other kinds of taxes. They make sure you or your company isn’t paying more taxes than you are legally liable for. 

Civil Litigation Lawyers

Civil litigation lawyers provide legal advice and representation to clients in all kinds of civil cases. They may also work on land use and zoning or recover properties by filing quiet title or ejectment cases. Some litigators specialize in certain areas like construction, insurance, banking, and finance, among others.


Types of Law in the Philippines

There is no one way to categorize the types of law in the Philippines.

For your reference, these are the subjects covered in the most recent Bar Exam:

  • Political Law
  • Labor Law
  • Taxation Law
  • Civil Law
  • Mercantile Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Remedial Law
  • Legal & Judicial Ethics

How can I get a free Lawyer in the Philippines?

While getting the best representation you can get will likely be expensive, there’s still hope if you find yourself ensnared in a legal snafu without the budget for top-flight legal counsel. 

There are several ways to get a free lawyer in the Philippines, from government organizations, law schools, and legal aid groups. We provide a short primer on some of these options below:

Public Attorney’s Office (PAO)

The PAO is a government agency under the Department of Justice (DOJ) that offers free legal representation to indigents.

The PAO fulfills the Philippines’ constitutional promise for its citizens to have due process and free access to the courts. 

Before getting free legal assistance, however, you will have to prove two things: the merit of your case and your indigency status. 

To establish the merit of your case, you must show that you have a valid cause of action against the person or entity that caused you to suffer or be deprived of some right or interest. You must also prove that the case can be won. 

If you are facing a criminal case, the PAO will represent you because all accused individuals are treated as innocent until proven guilty. 

To establish your indigency status, your net income must not exceed PHP 14,000 a month (Metro Manila), PHP 13,000 (other metropolitan areas), or PHP 12,000 (provinces). 

You will also have to provide an Affidavit of Indigency with the following documents:

  • Your latest Income Tax Return, payslip, or any other proof of income
  • A Certificate of Indigency obtained from the Department of Social Welfare and Development
  • A Certificate of Indigency from your Barangay Chairman

Once you pass both tests, the PAO has a list of cases that are “provisionally accepted”, which means such cases will generally be accepted except for rare instances.

Such “provisionally accepted” cases are when a warrant of arrest has already been issued, requiring immediate assistance for posting your bail bond, or when a pleading has to be filed immediately. 

You will be able to find the full list on the PAO’s website here.

Ateneo Legal Services Center (ALSC)

Just like the PAO, the ALSC only accepts cases from indigent clients—the same indigency criteria (net monthly pay) is used here as well. In addition, they also examine the following factors:

  • Nature of your case – Because of the ALSC’s focus on indigent clients, only cases that make sense for indigents are accepted. The ALSC will likely not take cases such as annulments and forfeitures, for instance. 
  • Venue of action – The ALSC generally accepts only cases that were filed or are pending in Mandaluyong or Makati. There will be some exceptions but we wouldn’t count on it unless your case ticks all the other boxes we mention here. 
  • Instructional value – The ALSC will be more likely to take your case if they feel that it has the potential to be a precedent or to be used as a teaching tool for law students. 
  • Merits of the case – The ALSC is more likely to take your case if they believe that your case has merit, similar to the PAO’s guidelines. 
  • Ethical consideration – Your case must conform to the ethical ideals of the ALSC and the Jesuit Brothers to be considered. 
  • Caseload – Finally, even if you have a case that meets all the other requirements, the ALSC may have to reject your case if they have no available volunteer lawyers. 

To receive free legal assistance from the ALSC, you will have to submit:

  • An Affidavit of Indigency (same requirements as the PAO)
  • Your latest Income Tax Return or payslip

A Certificate of Indigency from the DSWD

Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG)

FLAG is one of the oldest networks of human rights lawyers in the Philippines. Its founders are legal luminaries and Senators: Jose W. Diokno, Lorenzo M. Tañada, and Joker P. Arroyo. 

If you believe your human rights have been violated, you may be eligible to receive free legal assistance from FLAG.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)

DOLE offers an online legal assistance program through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that goes after illegal recruiters.

Since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, DOLE’s legal assistance program is online-only.

If you have a case that involves contract violations, employers reneging on promised wages and benefits, or disputes with employers, you might be able to receive free legal assistance from DOLE. 

DOLE also has another program, called Assist WELL, which caters to repatriated workers, covering issues like conciliation proceedings, counseling for preliminary investigations, and legal advice. 


How do you check if someone is a Lawyer in the Philippines?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between real lawyers and unqualified people masquerading as legal professionals, especially if you’re not familiar with our courts or the legal system.

This is why we cannot recommend searching for a lawyer online unless you already know the telltale signs to look for, or by going to one of the legitimate law firms or groups we mentioned previously. 

If you still want to look for a lawyer online, we suggest taking the time to do your due diligence before making any decisions.

First, all Philippine lawyers must register as a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). Check your prospective lawyer’s name against the IBP’s list or the Supreme Court’s Roll of Attorneys, which is regularly updated.

Next, you may want to examine your lawyer’s physical office. If this isn’t possible for you, try at least to look at the law office’s social media accounts for any signs that something is amiss. You should be able to see if a law office is legitimate based on pictures from their office. 

You can even ask a Lalamove or Grab driver to receive something from the law office you’re speaking to if you want to make sure. 

Your prospective lawyer might also be able to provide you with a list of former clients you can talk to. For some lawyers, this might not be possible given the profession’s Code of Ethics, which mandates attorney-client privilege.

It doesn’t hurt to ask, but don’t take your lawyer’s refusal to provide details regarding her former clients as sketchy, as you will be afforded the same privilege once you hire them.

Lastly, you might want to check if your prospective lawyer is affiliated with groups or networks of legal professionals. If he or she belongs to a group like FLAG, the DOLE’s Legal Assistance Group, or others mentioned in this article, you can be fairly sure they are a real lawyer. 

Sources

  1. DivinaLaw
  2. asialaw
  3. Chambers.com
  4. LawPhil.net
  5. Library of Congress
  6. CourseHero
  7. IBP.ph
  8. LegalTree

About Chuckie Manio

Chuckie Manio is a Business and Tech columnist at Grit PH. Proud owner of a useless Philosophy degree, as well as several cats---also useless. His favorite one is named Grendel.

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