Picazo Buyco Tan Fider and Santos (Picazo Law) is a full-service law firm recognized internationally as a leader in capital markets, banking and finance and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) practices in the Philippines. In addition to its expertise in other practice areas such as telecommunications, gaming, real estate, taxation, labor, litigation and other dispute resolution, Picazo Law is also retained counsel to a number of listed and unlisted companies belonging to the Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines. Picazo Law actively assists these clients comply with the reportorial, disclosure and other continuing listing requirements of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other government agencies.
From its inception more than three decades ago, Picazo Law has acted as counsel for both lenders or borrowers in hundreds of bank loans, project finance, loan syndications and other corporate finance projects. Many of these involve the country’s top tier companies and the biggest Philippine and foreign banks and in some instances, multiple currencies. Picazo Law is almost continuously involved in landmark investments, joint ventures, restructuring and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involving major Philippine players and foreign investors in various industries in the country.
Since 1987, Picazo Law has served as counsel to various participants and bidders in many privatization projects involving government securities and assets. Picazo Law also has expertise in build-operate-transfer (BOT) and public-private partnership (PPP) projects in, among others, energy and power, utilities and services.
The list of high profile and innovative projects handled by Picazo Law is testament to its extensive experience in capital markets, complex commercial transactions, corporate acquisition and restructuring, and its reliability as a firm that delivers professional legal services promptly and effectively.
As a full-service firm of some 60 lawyers, Picazo Law is able to provide the entire range of legal services necessary to establish and do business in the Philippines and ensure compliance with all legal conditions and regulatory requirements. These include: incorporation of the appropriate investment vehicles with the SEC, registration of foreign investment with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), processing with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) of pertinent work visas, and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) work permits of expatriate officers and staff, securing business permits and licenses from local government units (LGUs), and tax registration with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Picazo Law provides corporate secretarial services to thousands of Philippine corporations and branches of select multinational companies.
Picazo Law advises clients on a host of labor concerns and handle labor cases before the Labor Arbiters and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). It assists clients establish employment policies, compensation packages, organizational structures and labor manuals that provide for terms and conditions in accord with law. Picazo Law is experienced in collective barganing agreement (CBA) negotiations and in handling of labor relations conflicts, including strikes and lockouts.
Picazo Law handles various kinds of litigation and dispute resolution matters such as civil, commercial, rehabilitation, insolvency, administrative, criminal, arbitration, including construction arbitration, mediation and special proceedings, settlements of estates and family law. Picazo Law appears in all courts, quasi-judicial and administrative agencies, and other fora in the Philippines. The practice also includes matters affecting personal rights and family interests, such as those pertaining to civil status, property relations and family law issues.
Integral to these legal services is Picazo Law’s ability to protect the client’s trademark, patent and other intellectual property (IP) rights under Philippine laws and international IP conventions. Picazo Law has handled numerous IP registrations, as well as inter-partes cases, before the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
Picazo Law provides tax advisory services, establishment of trusts and estate planning for individual clients and for officers of its client companies.
Picazo Law is privileged to be the retained counsel of and to provide professional legal services to many prestigious and established companies and businesses in the Philippines, as well as to several foreign banks and multinational companies.
From its core expertise in corporate law, banking and securities, Picazo Law has been able to develop its practice into new fields of law to address the legal requirements of its clients, as they expand and grow into new businesses. In support of its clients, Picazo Law has developed its expertise in the fields of utilities, real estate, telecommunications, energy and power, mass media, information and communications technology, mining, gaming and offshore investments.
Picazo Law has a fully equipped modern offices at the top two floors, as well as other floors of the 18-storey Liberty Center – Picazo Law at 104 H.V. de la Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City, Philippines. The Partners and the legal staff of Picazo Law are supported by some 60 full-time non-legal personnel and support staff, including paralegals.
Picazo Law was conceived in 1987 when Antonio A. Picazo, top corporate and banking lawyer, and Antonio R. Bautista, highly respected litigator and law professor, both having then recently withdrawn as senior partners of a Makati-based law firm, decided to pool their respective expertise and clientele together, invite a few other promising legal minds to cast their lots with them, and establish what was originally known as Bautista Picazo Cruz Buyco & Tan Law Office. Joining as founding partners were labor expert Purisimo S. Buyco and corporate lawyer Silverio Benny J. Tan.
While Picazo Law was thus formally launched as a new law firm on 1 September 1987, it actually served to allow the Partners to continue uninterrupted their working relationships that had begun much earlier in 1983 when they were part of Cayetano Bautista Picazo & Reyes. The most senior associates at that time, Alex Erlito S. Fider and Gemma M. Santos, likewise both came from that law office. They would in time be promoted to Name Partners of Picazo Law.
Picazo Law started out as a 16-lawyer firm that operated in two offices. The corporate and labor practice group held office at the WIP Building along Buendia Avenue, Makati City, while the litigation and administrative practice group primarily held office at the Bautista Building in Scout Albano Street, Quezon City. The separate operation of the Makati and the Quezon City offices under one partnership lasted for 10 years.
In 1998, the two offices of Picazo Law parted ways amicably when Atty. Bautista and the Partners in the Quezon City office withdrew from the firm to independently continue their practice. The Makati office continued the partnership personality of the firm, as a full-service firm, under its current firm name Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos (Picazo Law).
From a 16-lawyer firm in 1987, Picazo Law celebrated its 31st year as one of the biggest and well respected law firm in the Philippines on 1 September 2018.
Setting the bar high
Believing in the nobility of the legal profession, Picazo Law closely adheres to strict ethical standards anchored on its core values of integrity, excellence, honesty and meritocracy. Picazo Law is committed and loyal to its clients; it fosters a culture of fairness and equity in the workplace; it celebrates individual talent and hard work; it rewards performance by committing to the individual growth of all in the firm; and it values the loyalty of its people.
Picazo Law takes pride in its being apolitical – it does not rely on political influences, preferring instead to grow its professional service based on good work and its reputation as a competent and independent law firm. Picazo Law makes sure that it maintains good internal relations, putting a premium on completing a job to clients’ satisfaction. Picazo Law’s hard work has been rewarded by the trust and confidence of its clients with whom it has grown over the years. Today, Picazo Law has a solid client portfolio consisting of a wide range of companies, many of which are among the top corporations in the Philippines.
An eye on the future
In the APAC region, the challenges that most establishments face, even in Picazo Law, are the nationality laws that limit foreign ownership in certain industries or business activities. These laws have a large impact on foreign investments and pose a real challenge to the legal practice.
On the brighter side, there is a possibility of greater cooperation especially in the ASEAN region, as this region is starting to slowly integrate its economies to give companies, like Picazo Law, more opportunities to grow and expand. In addition, the Philippines may enhance its diplomatic ties with China or open up those with other non-traditional countries to bring in more investments and economic growth. This will certainly give way to more foreign investments and joint ventures in the legal front in the future.
Locally, the Philippine anti-competition law recently has opened up new areas for specialized corporate legal practice. With its extensive involvement in mergers and acquisition (M&A) projects and experience in dealing with various issues in connection with said law, Picazo Law is well-positioned to provide clear direction for compliance with the law or otherwise to shepherd the transaction process for its clients. Picazo Law is also in a uniquely significant position in the current liberalized environment for unsolicited proposals for public-private partnership (PPP) or build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects involving infrastructure and utilities and information technology having the necessary expertise in public-private partnership (PPP) or build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects especially in unsolicited proposals.
In the last three decades, Picazo Law has steadily grown with its clients as they evolved from start-ups to successful top corporations, ensuring them of its loyalty and commitment as their business partner. In order to work more effectively and efficiently, and to best serve its clients, Picazo Law continuously improve its administrative system and technological support for its staff. Picazo Law also makes sure that its lawyers receive excellent training through a mentoring program that exposes them to the kind of work environment Picazo Law cultivates in the firm, and hones them not just as better lawyers, but better people as well. Picazo Law hopes that through these programs and upgrades, Picazo Law will consistently deliver to the highest standards, uphold its legacy and set the benchmark for future lawyers and firms.
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