Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano > Manila, Philippines > Firm Profile

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano
33RD FLOOR, THE ORIENT SQUARE
F. ORTIGAS JR. ROAD, ORTIGAS CENTER
1600 PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA
Philippines

Philippines > Banking and finance Tier 1

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano advises a number of local and foreign banks in the Philippines. Experts in regulatory compliance, it also has a strong reputation for its work in credit enforcement, security arrangements, refinancings and debt capital market transactions. Increasingly active in renewable energy projects, the team handles a substantive number of related loan syndications and is also regularly sought out for high-value domestic bond issuances. Co-leads Mark Vergara  and Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo are respective specialists in project finance and M&A while Elmer Serrano and Erika Paulino are other key members of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Mark Vergara; Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo

Other key lawyers:

Elmer Serrano; Erika Paulino

Testimonials

The team provides sound legal advice to its clients and delivers swiftly on their commitments.’

The team members are able to think out of the box and are able to deliver legal solutions through recommending structures that ensure clients are protected.’

Key clients

BDO Unibank, Inc.

P.A. Alvarez Properties and Development Corporation

Asia United Bank

Union Bank of the Philippines

Development Bank of the Philippines

Land Bank of the Philippines

Farallon Capital

Security Bank Corporation

Century Pacific Group, Inc.

Century Pacific Food, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised BDO Unibank on the recovery of a loan while simultaneously planning for its exit in 2GO in order to avoid the further impact of losses to its subsidiary.
  • Advised Farallon Capital on the grant of $140 million and $70 million mezzanine facilities to the Udenna Corporation group.

Philippines > Capital markets Tier 1

Equally proficient in the debt and equity markets, Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano frequently handles headline capital market deals, most notably for many of the largest Philippino banks. Manuel Gonzalez  leads the ‘very collaborative and very responsive’ team, which has primarily earned its reputation from handling initial public offerings, follow-on and rights offers, tender offers, reverse takeovers of publicly listed firms and issuances of global depositary receipts. On the debt front, it also acts as local counsel to domestic and international financial institutions and issuers in issuances of corporate notes, bonds and debt securities. Other key names include Elmer Serrano , Janice Co  and Gwyneth Ong .

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

The team is very collaborative and very responsive to the client’s needs.’

Key clients

BDO Unibank, Inc.

SM Investments Corporation

BDO Capital & Investment Corporation

Chinabank Capital Corporation

Sta. Lucia Land Inc.

SM Development Corporation

Solar Power Tarlac Corporation

SB Capital Investment Corporation

DoubleDragon Properties Corp.

DDPC Worldwide Pte. Ltd.

Basic Energy Corporation

Citicore Renewable Energy Corporation

MAP 2000 Development Corporation

Steniel Manufacturing Corporation

MerryMart Consumer Corp.

DDMP REIT, Inc.

Suncity Group Holdings Limited

Security Bank Corporation

KEB Hana Manila Branch

Shinhan Bank Manila Branch

LDA Capital Limited

LDA Capital LLC

Bank of Commerce

Work highlights

  • Advised DDMP REITon its initial public offer of 5,942,488,469 common shares, with an over-allotment option of up to 594,248,847 common shares of DDMP.
  • Advised MerryMart Consumer Corp on its Initial Public Offering of up to 1,594,936,709 primary common shares at an offer price of PHP1.00 per share.
  • Advised BDO Unibank, Inc. on the upsize of its Bond Program to PHP365bn.

Philippines > Immigration Tier 1

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano provides comprehensive advice on immigration matters and transactions, coordinating with government agencies such as the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Justice in the Philippines. Its services include the processing and securing of immigrant or non-immigrant visas and permits, the representation of clients in immigration transactions and compliance with the terms of stay of foreigners. The firm also occasionally represents clients in blacklisting and deportation proceedings. The firm notably processed an application for Travel Ban Exemption and the issuance of special 9(a) entry visas to allow Invicta Cyber Defence Corporation’s President and his family to enter the country. The immigration team is headed by Shirley Alinea and Phil Ivan Chan.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘They have a personal touch to every engagement. Everyone is easily accessible, from the partners down to the associates.’

‘Knowledgeable and efficient.’

 

Key clients

Invicta Cyber Defence Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Invicta on applications for Travel Ban Exemptions, AEP Exclusion, PWP, 9(g) visa and visa downgrading for a high-ranking officer assigned in the Philippines and his family.

Philippines > Labour and employment Tier 1

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano acts for employers and employees across the key areas of labor standards, labour relations and immigration. Specifically, this includes expertise in matters such as pay and benefits, working hours, termination, union formation and the employment of foreign nationals. Reynaldo Dizon leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘They have a personal touch to every engagement. Everyone is easily accessible, from the partners down to the associates.’

‘Great people to work with, very efficient and knowledgeable. ’

Key clients

Citigroup Business Processing Solutions, Pte., Ltd.

Ubiquity Global Services, Inc.

Teleperformance Global Services Philippines, Inc. (formerly Intelenet Global Philippines, Inc.)

ADP (Philippines) Inc.

Sixtrees Viz Comms Pte. Ltd

Visa Philippines Business Processing Center, Corp.

Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPro)

AO247 Fitness Management Consultancy, Inc.

Malayan Insurance Co., Inc.

Sungears Sales, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Sungears Sales, Inc. on COVID-19 policies.

Philippines > Projects and energy Tier 1

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano advises private project proponents and financiers on infrastructure, energy and natural resources projects. The firm also acts for sponsors and bidders, providing advice on the relevant bidding processes, coordinating with regulatory authorities, structuring and preparing all necessary legal and financial documents for projects. The firm is currently advising MAP 2000 Development Corporation on its subscription to at least 67% interest in Basic Energy Corporation, a publicly listed company that develops power and renewable energy projects. Practice head Manuel Gonzalez is an expert in the field of public infrastructure projects and has previously advised publicly-listed Megawide Construction Corporation on its winning bid for five PPP projects.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Asia United Bank

Union Bank of the Philippines

BDO Unibank

Development Bank of the Philippines

Land Bank of the Philippines

Citicore Renewable Energy Corporation

Security Bank Corporation

KEB Hana Manila Branch

Shinhan Bank Manila

Map 2000 Development Corporation

Basic Energy Corporation

CSW-Iloilo

Anchor Land Holdings

Aboitiz Equity Ventures

Aboitiz Infrastructure

Work highlights

  • Advised Aboitiz Infracapital on its investment agreement with Terra Digital in relation to the acquisition, construction, development and operation of at least 5,000 macro towers all over the Philippines.
  • Advised Anchor Land Holdings on the implementation of its joint venture with the local government of Parañaque City (local PPP) for the development and operation of a commercial mixed-use project in Parañaque City on a 9,937 square meter land owned by the City.
  • Advised SB Capital Investment Corporation (SB Capital) and the syndicate of lender financial institutions arranged by SB Capital on the corporate notes facilities granted to PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp., one of the country’s premier water utility companies.

Philippines > Real estate and construction Tier 1

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano advises individuals and institutional clients on various real estate transactions, working across its other strong practice areas to provide advice on a wide range of matters, from simple property transfers, leasing and mortgaging, to more complicated transactions involving structuring of acquisitions and divestments, infrastructure development and financing, and taxation issues. The real estate and construction team is praised as ‘knowledgeable on updates and on regulations pertaining to real estate and construction’. Among the firm’s clients in the property development sector are Crown Equities and Property Company of Friends. Co-head of the practice group, alongside Mark Vergara, Erika Paulino has experience handling the real asset portfolio divestment of one of the largest global banks and has advised on the funding of projects to construct hotels, casinos, and residential subdivision developments.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team is very knowledgeable on updates on regulations pertaining to real estate and construction’.

‘The team members are easy to work with, are very effective in communicating to the client the legal implications of certain scenarios/structures, and provide solutions addressing the legal risks’.

Key clients

Property Company of Friends

Crown Equities

Anchor Land Holdings

Aboitiz Infracapital

Suntrust Home Developers

Torre Lorenzo Development Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advising Anchor Land on the implementation of the joint venture for the development and operation of a commercial mixed-use project in Parañaque City on a 9,937 square meter land owned by the City.
  • Advised Aboitiz Infracapital on its investment agreement with Terra Digital in relation to the acquisition, construction, development and operation of at least 5,000 macro towers all over the Philippines.
  • Advised Suntrust Home Developers on the execution of a co-development agreement for a project site located in Paranaque City.

Philippines > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

The corporate and M&A team at Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano handles a diverse set of services, which includes high-profile mergers, assisting publicly-listed companies with acquisitions and divestments of subsidiaries, and advising foreign and domestic entities on legislation and regulation. It assists with all stages of transactions, from initial structuring and due diligence review, documentation, securing approvals, to transition. The team is led by Elmer Serrano , an expert in mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector. Manuel Gonzalez specialises in the public infrastructure sector, while Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo is experienced at competition law and handles joint ventures involving a broad spectrum of industries.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

MVGS is able to respond to our queries and concerns immediately. I particularly wish to point out the ready and willing assistance provided by Atty. Tephanie M. Gandia.’

MVGS is very good at coming up with ideas to properly structure transactions to make it work in the most efficient arrangement. The partners are always available, have a good network and always finds ways to make the transaction work with the client’s best interest in mind.’

Senior partner Elmer B. Serrano has good relationships and connections with the business community. He is very good at structuring transactions and finds ways to overcome whatever obstacles that may come up.’

Key clients

BDO Unibank, Inc.

BDO Leasing and Finance, Inc.

BDO Finance Corporation

BDO Life Assurance Company, Inc.

BDO Securities Corporation

BDO Capital & Investment Corporation

SM Investments Corporation

SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

Citibank N.A. – Philippine Branch

Premium Leisure Corp.

MelcoResorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corporation

Pacific Online Systems Corporation

Anchor Land Holdings, Inc.

2GO Group, Inc.

Udenna Corporation

Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp.

Clark Global City Corporation

Global Gateway Development Corp.

MegaLink, Inc.

Hitachi Digital Payment Solutions Limited

Invicta Cyber Defence Inc.

Nexif Energy Philippines Holdings B.V.

China-ASEAN Marine B.V.

USAID E-PESO Activity-Chemonics International

Maison Noble Holdings, Inc.

Bankers Association of the Philippines

Philippine Payments Management, Inc.

Farallon Capital

ACX3 Capital Holdings Inc.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

Greenkraft Group of Companies

Nickel Asia Corporation/Emerging Power, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Udenna Group and SMIC in the sale and purchase of their equity interests in 2GO Group, Inc.
  • Advised BDO Unibank on the privatisation of its leasing business and balanced its corporate objectives with the interest of the investing public, particularly the minority shareholders.
  • Assisted BDO Unibank and BDO Securities Corporation with their securities brokerage business through the merger of its two securities brokerage businesses, BDO Securities Corporation and BDO Nomura, with BDO Securities as surviving entity.

Philippines > Dispute resolution Tier 2

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano has a strong alternative dispute resolution team with members who are accredited arbitrators and mediators. The team is well complemented by its extensive practice in commercial, debt restructuring, civil, criminal, and tax litigation. Eduardo Martinez heads the team and specialises in family law and succession law. Reynaldo Dizon handles arbitration disputes between corporations and employees involving dismissal cases and monetary claims. Shirley Alinea has extensive experience in debt restructuring, including rehabilitation and liquidation.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘They have a personal touch to every engagement. Everyone is easily accessible, from the partners down to the associates.’

‘Great people to work with, very knowledgeable and efficient.’

 

Key clients

BDO Unibank, Inc.

Cohaco Merchandising & Dev. Corporation

Lucerne

Sungears Sales, Inc.

Teleperformance Global Services Philippines, Inc.

CF Sharp Crew Management, Inc.

Crown Equities, Inc.

Malayan Insurance Co., Inc.

Pan-Malayan Group

Grepalife

Hans Brumann, Inc.

Sixtrees Viz Comms Pte. Ltd

Arendelle Cold Logistics, Inc.

Eisberg Cold Logistics, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Port Users’ Confederation of the Philippines in the proceedings before the Shippers’ Protection Office questioning the charges imposed by international shipping lines.

Philippines > Intellectual property Tier 2

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano advises clients across various industries on their intellectual property rights, from rights protection to administration and maintenance. The firm further advises clients on contractual concerns with licensees and other third parties. Well-respected in the intellectual property field, Shirley Alinea heads the practice, and is also an accredited arbitrator of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). Manuel Gonzalez is a go-to contact for drafting, negotiating, and reviewing IP-related transactions and contracts.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Spoiled Mummy Corporation

Torre Lorenzo Development Corporation

Torre Lorenzo Holdings

Institute For Inner Studies Publishing Foundation

ISOC Holdings

Philippine Payments Management

BDO Unibank

BDO Capital & Investment Corporation

Michael Cacnio

Work highlights

  • Advised Philippine Payments Management on its registration of the PESONet and instaPay trademarks.
  • Advised BDO on negotiating reasonable terms and periods to complete the removal of Nomura’s name in the “BDO Nomura” name, trade names, and brand.
  • Advising Michael Cacnio on the registration and protection of his trademark which figures prominently in his artworks.

Philippines > Tax Tier 2

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano’s ‘professional, knowledgeable and experienced‘ tax practice, which is jointly led by Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo and Mary Elizabeth Belmonte, stands out for its broad tax advisory and tax advocacy capabilities. Challenging assessments and claiming refunds from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, general tax planning, estate planning and settlements, as well as due diligence on projects and corporate transactions are among the key areas of strength for the department.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘By working in teams, we are always in the loop and get timely updates on the project at hand.’

The MVGS team has very diverse legal expertise, has a very good network both in the private and public sectors.’

‘The MVGS team is very professional, knowledgeable and experienced. They offer very practical solutions to issues that we raise.’

Lawyers are accessible at any reasonable time to provide the necessary legal opinion. The law firm is backed up with a pool of competent, able and knowledgeable lawyers ready to take on the task and legal work assigned to them.’

Key clients

Lorenzo Development Corporation

Organisational Support Services, Inc.

Guild Securities, Inc.

Steniel Manufacturing Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented Organisational Support Services Inc.  in its claims for refunds of excess and unutilized input value-added tax (VAT) on purchases of goods and services attributable to zero-rated sales of services for the period July 2018 to June 2019.
  • Represented Guild Securities, Inc. in its dispute against the assessment of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the alleged deficiency VAT, expanded expanded withholding tax, final withholding tax, and compromise penalty for the taxable year 2017.
  • Advised Steniel Manufacturing Corporation on a share-swap transaction with three corporate entities and two individuals which qualifies as a tax-free exchange under Section 40(C)(2) of the Tax Code of 1997, as amended.

Philippines > Antitrust and competition Tier 3

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano has a well-established practice that provides advice on issues related to representing clients in all stages of PCC merger control, including pre-notification consultations, phase reviews, and voluntary commitments negotiations. The firm is particularly active in the mergers and acquisitions space and was involved in many notable transactions in the region. Elmer Serrano heads the team and has extensive experience in handling contentious matters related to the PCC. Phil Ivan Chan specialises in corporate M&A and immigration law. Senior associate Tephanie Gandia is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

The team is very experienced in handling tasks related to antitrust and competition. Their proposals are very innovative and well within the bounds of the law.’

Elmer Serrano in particular is very versatile in his legal practice. He also handles banking and insurance-related legal tasks very well.’

Key clients

BDO Unibank, Inc.

BDO Leasing and Finance, Inc.

BDO Life Assurance Company, Inc.

SM Investments Corporation

Udenna Corporation

Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp.

2GO Group, Inc.

Bankers Association of the Philippines

Work highlights

  • Represented BDO Group before the PCC in its notification of the proposed sale of its publicly-listed leasing arm, BDO Leasing and Finance, Inc. to third party buyers.
  • Advised Udenna Corporation and its counterparties, third-party buyers, on applicable rules of the PCC for Chelsea’s divestment of its entire effective interest in publicly-listed company, 2GO Group, Inc.
  • Advised the Bankers Association of the Philippines on the parameters for the proposed PCC notification and review exemption (incorporated into the enacted “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act”).

Philippines > Legal Market Overview

The firm: With the combined experience of the firm’s partners, MVGS takes pride in having established itself as a leading law firm, providing excellent legal services in the areas of corporate and commercial, banking, securities, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, labour and employment and immigration.

Areas of practice
Banking and finance: a core practice area, the firm acts as retained counsel for many leading local and foreign banks and financial institutions in the country. Special interest areas in banking operations, particularly regulatory compliance, are the firm’s strong suit.

Corporate finance: the firm and its individual partners have participated in numerous loan syndications and project finance transactions across the spectrum of industries, acting for financial institutions, borrowers and project proponents.

Debt restructuring: the firm and its individual partners have participated in restructuring in varied industries, acting for financial institutions and borrowers. Debt restructuring projects include legal advisory on related debt relief strategies.

Capital markets (equity): its team of securities practitioners has handled a wide spectrum of securities-related issues, ranging from initial public offerings (IPOs), rights and follow on offers, top-up placements, tender offers, reverse takeovers of publicly listed firms and issuances of global depositary receipts, as well as private equity.

Capital markets (debt): the firm acts as counsel to international and local financial institutions, and issuers in connection with the issuance of notes, bonds and similar debt securities. It has also been involved in the private and public issuances of bonds and commercial papers, both long term and short term. The firm works closely with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the regulatory authority tasked with implementing the Securities Regulation Code (SRC), and the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc (PSE), a private organisation afforded self-regulatory status.

The firm also assists clients in structuring, drafting and obtaining approval for equity based employee benefit plans, from employee stock options and stock appreciation rights, to stock purchase plans, restricted stock units and other capital accumulation programs.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A): the firm’s partners have significant experience in the consolidation of the banking and financial sector, as well as acquisitions involving both equity purchase and asset sale. In its M&A deals, the firm is involved in all stages of the transaction, from initial structuring and due diligence review, documentation of the merger or acquisition and related agreements, securing the relevant regulatory approvals, to transition.

Litigation and alternative dispute resolution: the litigation and dispute resolution group handles the full range of dispute resolution and mediation, covering criminal, civil and administrative litigation and includes appellate practice and advocacy. The firm has a strong arbitration team, headed by a partner who is concurrently a trustee of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc.

Intellectual property (IP): the firm handles the IP requirements of its domestic and international clients, including registration of trademarks, copyrights and patents, legal advisory on contractual concerns and prosecution and defense of intellectual property infringement actions.

Labour and employment: the firm’s labour practice includes advisory services on various labour issues, authoring employment manuals and serving as counsel in negotiations for Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs). The firm also provides advice and assists in implementation of hiring programs, training, retrenchment, redundancy, closure of companies and employee movements. The firm also handles labour litigation, arbitration, conciliation and mediation.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Corporate and commercial
Banking
Securities
Corporate finance
Mergers and acquisitions
Intellectual property
Litigation and alternative dispute resolution
Labour and employment
Immigration

Elmer B. Serrano, Managing Partner/Senior Partner

Elmer B. Serrano, Managing Partner of Martinez Vergara Gonzalez and Serrano (MVGS), explains how MVGS is adapting to its clients’ changing needs brought about by globalisation and developments in technology.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate MVGS from your competitors?

With the unique background of the partners and our lawyers, MVGS shares the commercial perspective of its clients. We are able to appreciate the transactional goals and eventual business profile that our clients seek to achieve in all their dealings on which MVGS is consulted.

This commercial perceptiveness allows MVGS to tailor its solutions and to professionally empathize with the needs and goals of its clients, improving even the returns and benefits to our clients from their transactions. This partnership of effectivity between MVGS and its clients is reflected in the loyalty of clients to MVGS and the  constantly repeating business referrals over the years.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

>While a number of emerging practice areas are gaining focus, some of the notable areas of growth in the near term are:

Banking and Securities, with the rising interest rates and the tightening economic condition, banks and issuers will explore alternative means of raising funds, including issuance of bonds, CDs, and quasi-capital.

In Project Development and Finance, with the Philippine government’s thrust towards rapid infrastructure development and the country’s clear requirement for such, clients will seek MVGS’ distinct advisory services and assistance in securing project development contracts and in acquiring the corresponding funding.

In M&A, I see that as the Philippine economy grows, many industries will continue to consolidate and new businesses will develop. Competition law is particularly interesting.  In the last 2 years, we see more complexities in M&A execution, and as deals become more intricate, anti-trust regulations will quickly evolve. Many industries are young and need to thrive. It is my view that there must be a healthy balance between regulation and business so that growth in not stunted, or that competition regulations are not indiscriminately applied.

There are, of course, other practice areas I see emerging or growing. Stricter adherence to corporate governance standards and protection of intellectual property rights  have become more relevant of late. Local clients are also warming up to local or international arbitration and to areas of alternative dispute resolution.

We have also observed that some local clients overlook the importance of their brands and other IP rights in the past. However, as they grow, and enter into more cross-border transactions, protecting their IP rights and putting value to their brands havebecome more significant.

Globalization also drives our local clients to adhere to stricter corporate governance best practices and to new regulatory requirements such as data privacy rules. The legal guidance of MVGS is being tapped in all of these areas.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

MVGS is a young firm, and we continue to improve our services to meet our clients’ expectations.

We have begun to restructure our organizational set-up mainly geared to enhance institutional training of our lawyers and become more responsive to their professional requirements so they can be more effective in the delivery of legal services to our clients.

Over the years, we have improved our IT system and security protocols and we have instituted more efficient use of our resources.

We have also  invested in technology that makes available to us data on the work and time use of our lawyers.  This will allow us to allocate our resources, manage our lawyers’ time and to focus our attention on the more pressing requirements of our clients. As some clients say, “I want my handling lawyer to drop everything.”  You can’t do that unless you can quickly re-allocate resources to suit the immediate needs of clients and projects.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Yes. as technology improves, MVGS has become more efficient.

In the Philippines,  given the problem of traffic congestion and lack of efficient public transportation, improved technology minimizes undue waste of time and resources.

In terms of client communication, email is becoming a secondary means of communication, as mobile phone apps like Viber, WhatsApp and Messenger are preferred more and more by our clients due to the immediacy and real-time communication.  Transactions are now even more borderless.

Research has likewise become more efficient and verifiable information is readily available.

Leapfrogs in technology has made practice more interesting and challenging because of the legal issues that comes with the territory.  Practice has also expanded at an equivalent pace and we have to keep up.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

In a recent acquisition, we pointed out to the client how the group structure of the acquired company and its subsidiaries foster duplication.  We worked with them to merge companies and streamline their overall organization and creating even more efficiencies.  They have managed to substantially reduce cost and improve their bottomline.  They have since  involved us more in their organizational and business direction and policies.

In one litigation, instead of protracted proceedings, we advised the client to adopt a remedy and that client was able to collect almost Php2.0 Billion now rather than later, reduce its expenses and minimize the loss of opportunity.  Client was able to deploy those funds immediately and earn money from it now rather than wait what reasonably could be expected to have been a minimum of 5 years.

One of our strengths is that we are not just “lawyers” but are our clients’ partners in their businesses.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Yes, more and more, our clients require organizational responsiveness and dependability from us.  In fact, certain clients have established minimum standards for engaging lawyers.  Clients require a level of predictability from their service providers, including lawyers, in order to project future business and assess potential transactions.  Clients therefore require a higher standard of professionalism and we, at MVGS, continue to plan strategically so that our size, skills and processes will match the developing requirements of our clients. In fact, clients actually expect counselling beyond normal lawyering standards.   We welcome this challenge as we believe in growing with our clients.

In three years, I see MVGS, bigger, with better foundations and more specialized skills.  Our lawyers are maturing with us and as laws multiply and become more complicated, I see our lawyers more responsive.  We are learning and acquiring the skills for the future legal environment and the issues we, as lawyers, will face.  I see MVGS developing even more specialized departments and our lawyers focusing more on particular practices.  I see our client base even more diversifying and growing. I envision the trust of our clients deepening.  I see MVGS and its lawyers becoming even more conscientious of our obligations to our clients and wanting to constantly improve and become the law firm of choice – ALWAYS at the top of our clients’ mind.