Philippines > Legal market overview
The Philippines remains a relatively buoyant market, with predicted GDP growth of 5% in 2012. There continues to be high activity in the natural resources sector, although the mining industry will suffer if there is ever a slowdown in China’s market.
Power and road projects have been prevalent as the country updates its creaking infrastructure, while a significant demand for business process outsourcing services (BPO), has invariably created a larger need for employment and immigration law advice.
Foreign firms with a strong Asia presence continue to see value in having Philippines desks, with lawyers typically focusing on capital markets and project finance mandates to tap into the market. Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance are among the international players to have established very strong track records for work in this jurisdiction. Few firms have chosen to establish an on-the-ground presence, with Baker & McKenzie the only exception as a full service firm with a local affiliation to Quisumbing Torres.
This lack of direct foreign competition has allowed the domestic market to flourish. Among the several leading full service firms, Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW), Romulo, and SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan provide the most consistent across the board service. Mid-sized firms that compete closely with the leading pack include Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos, Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra & Sison, Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose and Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices. Notable specialist firms include niche shipping practice Del Rosario & Del Rosario.