In its inaugural ALB Philippines Client Choice list, we focus on the country’s top customer service lawyers. These lawyers were selected on the basis of client recommendations sent directly to ALB. The list is in alphabetical order and some lawyers have been profiled.
John Jerico L. Balisnomo
Danny E. Bunyi
Nilo T. Divina
Erwin Jay V. Filio
Mark S. Gorriceta
Simeon V. Marcelo
Maria Concepcion P. Simundac
Clarence Darrow C. Valdecantos
Danny E. Bunyi
senior partner, Divinalaw
Bunyi is a senior partner at Divinalaw in Makati City, Philippines.
He has 31 years of legal experience in a wide range of areas, including corporate law, banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, as well as drafting and reviewing commercial contracts.
His work serving the firm’s clients has been recognized with numerous awards in the areas of banking and finance, corporate and commercial law, private equity and venture capital. He was also recognized for his work as an external advisor.
Prior to joining Divinalaw, Bunyi was Senior Vice President and Secretary General of the Development Bank of the Philippines, one of the country’s largest public banks.
He solidified his banking education by helping one of the world’s largest banks establish a branch in the Philippines. He also managed the acquisition of the assets of a foreign bank on behalf of a Philippine bank and ultimately helped transform the Philippine bank into a fully-fledged commercial bank. Bunyi also acted as legal counsel for the issuance of preferred shares of a major real estate developer.
Despite the pandemic, he has remained active for the past year. Bunyi advised a large logistics company to get government approval for entry of a foreign shareholder, helped a local news bureau sell the majority of its shares to a foreign entity, and handled the creation of a ‘a trust company by the largest insurance company doing business in the Philippines.
“In my interactions with Atty. Bunyi over the years, I have always found him to be extremely professional, efficient and extremely knowledgeable, ”says one client. “More specifically, his knowledge of the law is exceptional and deserves to be admired. I would definitely recommend him for his services. ”
Nilo T. Divina
managing partner, Divinalaw
Divina is the Managing Partner of Divinalaw, the firm he launched in 2006 in the Philippines, halfway through a career focused on a wide range of corporate law.
Prior to founding Divinalaw, he was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Equitable PCI Bank, which is now BDO Unibank, Inc. – the largest bank in the country.
Divina is also a scholar. He has been dean of the Faculty of Civil Law at the University of Santo Tomas since 2009. He is also the author of four books in commercial law which are considered a primary resource for law students and lawyers, including the recently published “Questions & Answers on the Revised Corporation Code”, which features a foreword by then Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta. His latest opus, “Divina on Commercial Law: A Comprehensive Guide” (Volumes 1 and 2) is due out this month.
Divina has practiced law for 31 years in a wide range of areas, from immigration to estates and trusts, family law and insurance. During these decades he worked on a number of high profile cases and with big names as clients. Between 2004 and 2006, he acted as legal advisor for Equitable PCI Bank during its merger with Banco de Oro Universal Bank, then two of the largest banks in the Philippines.
Divina also acted as an advisor on a cross-border acquisition of a multinational company specializing in the manufacture of electrical components, worked with foreign companies to conduct due diligence on the organization of the company and commercial presence in several countries, acted as a consultant company of market research and analysis of data on the Internet in the harmonization of its contracts with the Philippine law.
Divina has been recognized for her work with numerous awards and is regularly listed in the Top 100 Filipino Lawyers list.
“You don’t need to talk to anyone else,” says one customer. “Atty. Divina can cover the legal, strategic and tax aspects of any business with excellent results.
Mark S. Gorriceta
Managing Partner, Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra
Gorriceta is the Managing Partner of Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra, and is also Group Leader and Group Leader of the Company’s Technology Media and Telecommunications Group.
He has extensive expertise and experience in complex corporate transactions, commercial contracts and regulatory matters.
ALB named Gorriceta Managing Partner of the Year at the 2020 ALB Philippine Law Awards and in the same year he was recognized with several other awards. With all of these accolades, it’s no wonder he’s widely regarded as one of the country’s leading tech advocates.
In fact, his pioneering work on digital assets, ﬁ ntech, blockchain, virtual currencies, e-commerce, data privacy, and artificial intelligence have made him a sought-after legal advisor for tech and online companies. most impactful in the Philippines.
Gorriceta is particularly versed in the areas of capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and securities law. He was a senior advisor to DM Wenceslao & Associates, Aseana City’s real estate developer, on its initial 8.1 billion pesos ($ 155 million) public offering. He was also the principal Filipino advisor to Universal Entertainment Corporation on its $ 600 million 8.5% senior bond issue.
Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra has also acquired a certain notoriety. In 2020, ALB named Technology Media & Telco Law Firm of the Year and Construction and Real Estate Law Firm of the Year at the Philippine Law Awards. In 2019, the firm was also named by ALB as Innovative Technology Law Firm of the Year and Technology Media & Telco Law Firm of the Year. In 2016, the firm won the Rising Law Firm of the Year award at the ALB Philippine Law Awards.
“Mark provides comprehensive treatment for our business to meet our requirements and challenges,” says one client. “He’s also very responsive and accessible, providing the time needed to resolve our legal needs. “
founding partner, Gulapa Law
With 17 years of legal experience behind him, Gulapa is the founding partner of Gulapa Law in the Philippines.
Throughout his career, Gulapa has made great strides for himself and his namesake company. A year after its inception, Gulapa Law was recognized by most international legal publications as a leading firm and Gulapa as one of the best lawyers in the country. ALB named Gulapa Law as one of the firms to watch in Asia in 2017 and one of the best boutiques in Asia in the same year.
Notably, Gulapa’s company is the first and to date the only company based in the Philippines to have a full-service office in New York City since 2017 as well as a representative office in San Francisco since 2018. The company has also opened a Cebu office in December 2020 and is expected to open a new office in an emerging city in Southeast Asia this year.
Over the years he has worked with renowned clients such as Asian Development Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Manila Water, Kyuden International Corporation, Megaworld Corporation, Filinvest Corporation and SM Group, among others.
Gulapa himself is quali ﬁ ed to practice law in the Philippines and New York. From 2006 to 2011, he was also licensed as a foreign lawyer in Vietnam. He received his JD degree (Honors) from Ateneo de Manila University Law School and his LL.M. degree in Business Regulation (as a Vanderbilt Fellow) from NYU School of Law. Gulapa’s specific areas of practice include project development, project finance, construction, corporate law and mergers and acquisitions, and competition law. Much of his experience has been in trade regulation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has enabled him to participate in major government projects in the Philippines, Singapore, in Vietnam and Japan.
“Work with Atty. Aris Gulapa gives me the confidence that we will find practical solutions to complex and seemingly impossible legal and business problems, ”says one client.
Greg Joseph SJ Tiongco
co-manager, Tiongco Siao Bello & Associates Law Offices
With a range of specialties spanning an 18-year career, Tiongco is the co-managing partner of the law firms Tiongco Siao Bello & Associates (TSB Law).
Tiongco is best known for his work in corporate law, with particular expertise in mergers and acquisitions. He has served as legal counsel to a number of local and international listed companies and their subsidiaries as well as to several well-known non-governmental organizations and foundations.
He also advised the acquisition of the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO), the largest privatization transaction in the Philippines. In addition, he supported China Telecom in its participation in the creation of the “Third Telco” of the Philippines – Dito Telecom. He worked on the creation of Emerging Power Inc. and advised it in its acquisitions, which facilitated the entry of Nickel Asia into the electricity sector.
Tiongco also has a long and in-depth practice in labor and management relations. He has acted as an advisor to one of the largest international labor agencies, large local labor agencies and several large business process outsourcing companies.
With its seasoned team, TSB Law has been involved in a variety of litigation over the past 15 years, including corporate takeovers, contract litigation as well as complex criminal cases.
Tiongco also has extensive experience in regulating data privacy, e-commerce and ﬁ nancial technologies, having provided advice to various healthcare, ﬁ nancial and technology companies, including the owner of one of the world’s largest. great super apps from Asia.
In 2017, he became an accredited referee of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center. Tiongco was previously special legal adviser to the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) and legal consultant to the city of Mandaue in Cebu.
“Greg has helped me and my team on strategic and extremely complex regulatory issues that required a solid knowledge of the law as well as pragmatism and business acumen,” says one client. “It was a pleasure working with him and learning the ins and outs of regulatory legal practice through him and his team. “
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