Becoming a top legal adviser requires firms to go beyond giving solid legal advice and ensure timely completion of tasks. Asia Business Law Journal names the top firms in the Philippines for 2018. We have identified one law firm of the year

Philippines-law-firm-awards-iconSycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Manila-based Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan (SyCipLaw) is one of the most recognizable names in the Philippines’ corporate legal market. SyCipLaw has had a wonderful year, having worked on headline-grabbing deals such as Singaporean taxing hailing app Grab’s acquisition of US peer Uber’s Southeast Asian business in a deal worth approximately US$1.6 billion.

The firm also worked on the largest ever renewable sector deal, Global Infrastructures Partners’ (GIP) US$5 billion acquisition of Singapore’s Equis. SyCipLaw was also the adviser to Union Bank of the Philippines’ rights offering of up to 200 million common shares with an offer size of PHP10 billion (US$190 million).

The Grab-Uber deal, the largest deal of its kind in Southeast Asia, was a landmark case from a competition and antitrust perspective as it was the only transaction subjected to a motu proprio review (a case taken for review without notifications from either of the parties) by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC). SyCipLaw in co-ordination with Grab developed voluntary commitments that the PCC accepted through the issuance of its commitment decision.

SyCipLaw also worked in what might well be the only successful Philippines initial public offering of the year – property developer DM Wenceslao’s US$154 million offering in June 2018.


The firm’s attentiveness to its clients and responsiveness was lauded by respondents to our survey. “SyCipLaw lawyers are very responsive to our concerns, and are good not only in identifying problem areas, but more importantly, in providing solutions,” says Joan A De Venecia-Fabul, general counsel, Philex Mining Corporation. “They also flag to us possible issues even before they become full-blown disputes, helping prevent them from happening, as for instance, in our union issues.” Philex had hired SyCipLaw for advice on labour and employment issues.

Philippine National Bank (PNB), one of the country’s largest lenders, has retained SyCipLaw for its various deals and the firm seems to have earned their trust. “The law firm ensures that it covers all bases from a regulatory and legal framework, and explains to us the commercial implications on certain issues,” says Allan Ang, senkor vice president and head of corporate banking group, PNB, on the firm’s banking and finance practice. “They have in-depth expertise and knowledge on how to handle big-ticket and complex deals.”


Christine M Joy Licup, also of PNB, says the SyCipLaw team showed expertise in conducting due diligence, especially for complicated deal structures, “giving valuable advice on how we can protect ourselves as a bank”.

“The team always attend our closing calls to make sure everything is in place. Even if one member of the team is outside the country (and hence, with a time difference), they make sure that they all attend the closing call,” says Licup.

The seven-decades-old firm, led by managing partner Hector M De Leon Jr, adopted its pro-bono guidelines a year ago, formalizing the firm’s commitment to provide legal services to worthy causes or to deserving persons of limited means.


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The winners of Asia Business Law Journal’s Philippines Law Firm Awards were selected based on votes, references and qualitative information received from in-house counsel and other legal professionals in the Philippines and around the world.

A voting form was posted on our website and thousands of in-house counsel, lawyers at international law firms and other Philippines-focused professionals were invited to vote. At the same time, Philippine law firms were asked to make submissions in support of their candidacy for awards. These submissions, combined with research by Asia Business Law Journal’s editorial team, played a supporting role in the judging process.

All Philippines law firms were automatically eligible for inclusion in the awards process. As always, there were no entry fees or any other requirements for entry. Read the full list of The Philippines Law Firm Awards 2018 here


The Philippines Law Firm Awards