A distinguished personality, Nilo T. Divina is a seasoned Corporate and Banking Lawyer with rich experience from more than three decades in the industry. He founded DivinaLaw in 2006 and worked meticulously towards the growth and development of the firm. With his determination and competency, DivinaLaw stands today as one of the biggest law firms in the Philippines.
Before he entered private law practice, Nilo was the former Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of a leading Philippine bank. Nilo is equally active with his roles in the academic forefront, serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Civil Law of the University of Santo Tomas from 2009 to the present. He also teaches at the University of the Philippines College of Law. He was formerly president and chairman of the Philippine Association of Law Schools.
Nilo is the author of five Commercial Law books which serve as primary resource material for law students and lawyers alike. Recognized for his exceptional work, Nilo became one of the top 10 highly recommended lawyers in the inaugural list of Asian Legal Business (ALB) Philippines Client Choice Lawyers 2021. He has also consistently been named among the Top 100 Lawyers in the Philippines by the Asia Business Law Journal since 2018.
With sheer dedication and excellent performance, he was recently recognized as Managing Partner of the Year in the 2021 Asian Legal Business (ALB) Philippine Law Awards in a virtual ceremony held last November 19, 2021. Asian Legal Business magazine, a leading legal publication owned by Thomson Reuters, received more than 270 entries for the competition which was evaluated by a panel of judges from the legal academia, in-house lawyers, firms, and legal associations in the region.
Nilo received this award in recognition of his leadership, professional accomplishments, community development initiatives, and his contribution to the firm, the Bench and Bar, and the general public.
Turning a Childhood Dream into a Lifelong Reality
Nilo wanted to be a lawyer as early as the age of six. There was no other profession for him except to be a lawyer. Nilo’s source of motivation was his dad. His dad told him that being a lawyer was an ideal profession for him as he loves to talk, discuss, be in front of crowds, and more. His dad told him, ‘perhaps you are meant to be a lawyer’.
“Of course, we do not know what life would present along the way. So many opportunities presented themselves along the way but what is clear to me is that at the very outset, I knew what I wanted in life, I wanted to become a lawyer,” said Nilo.
“My vision is that I want to be the best lawyer that I can be, not necessarily the best lawyer in the Philippines, but the best lawyer I can be, given the talent and the skills that God has given me.”
A Journey to the Forefront
When he established the firm in 2006, Nilo never expected that within 15 years, it will become one of the biggest law firms in the country. All he envisioned was to establish a boutique law firm that would focus on select areas of practice and make enough money to live a comfortable life.
However, opportunities came one after the other and before he knew it, the boutique law firm metamorphosed into a full-service law firm.
It is a full-service law firm in the Philippines that provides prompt, proactive, and results-oriented service to ensure client satisfaction. The firm offers depth and range in experience and resources while fostering a professional and collaborative work ethic.
The firm’s 10 major practice areas are Litigation, Corporate & Special Projects, Labor, Arbitration & Alternative Dispute Resolution, Tax, and Estate Planning, Intellectual Property, Immigration and Naturalization, E-Commerce & Technology, Risk & Crisis Management, and Legal Education, Legislative Advocacy & Policy Reform.
A Top-Notch Client Base
DivinaLaw clients belong to the top echelon – business leaders and titans. These industry experts refer DivinaLaw to their peers, which is why the firm’s clients are conglomerates, top corporations, and high net worth individuals.
The firm has a wide range of clients, including leading corporates in banking and finance, manufacturing, retail, power, oil and gas, education, health care and insurance, realty and property development, technology, construction, hospitality, mining, transportation, shipping, and media.
Standing out amongst the Peers
Dynamic Lawyering encapsulates the philosophy of the firm. DivinaLaw will do everything necessary within the bounds of ethics to deliver outstanding results to its clients, to make them happy, smiling, and victorious. So, the firm focuses on innovating, thinking out of the box, and exploring uncharted territory. The firm believes in finding ways, opening doors, seeking solutions, and more. Client satisfaction is the burning passion of the organization.
“Back in 2006, this was fairly novel because many law firms were into, and I suppose they still are, the traditional approach. Lawyers should tell you what the law is. We will tell you what the law is, and how we can use the law to suit your objectives consistent with the law. We find solutions for the clients. We don’t just tell the clients what the law is, but we tell them there’s a legal and ethical way of finding solutions.”
Moments of Triumph
Inspired by the quote, “Work as if everything depends on work, but also pray as if everything depends on prayer.”
DivinaLaw started with 80 cases and four clients in 2006. Today, it is handling almost 3,000 cases and has hundreds of clients. From having only five lawyers (including Atty. Divina), today the firm has 80 lawyers. Over the years, it has received recognition for its exceptional work in law. Here are a few of them:
- The Asia Business Law Journal has recognized DivinaLaw as an award-winning firm in the categories of Banking and Finance, Corporate and Commercial, Litigation, Private Equity and Venture Capital, and Restructuring and Insolvency in 2020
- Immigration Law Firm of the Year in 2018 in the Asian Legal Business Philippine Law Awards
- Recognized as the Labor and Employment Law Firm of the Year in 2016 by ALB
- The firm is ranked among the best in the region, honored as a finalist for the SE Asia Law Firm of the Year category of Asian Legal Business Southeast Asia Law Awards in 2018 and 2019
- It was also a finalist for Regional Litigation Law Firm of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and Tax and Trusts Law Firm of the Year in 2019
- Employer of Choice for 2018, 2019 & 2021 from Asian Legal Business magazine
- Data Privacy Law Firm — Silver Award in the 2019 Datos Privados Awards of the National Association of Data Protection Officers of the Philippines
- Silver Anvil, 54th Anvil Awards of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines
The Path to Cover Ahead
DivinaLaw continues to innovate. It has recently organized a financial advisory company. The firm intends to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that the Financial Institution Strategic Transfer (FIST) law is likely to bring. This law allows banks and financial institutions to dispose of their bad loans and assets to an SPV for a large-scale discount. It is investing in technology and has many more projects in the pipeline. With an active presence and aiming towards a bright future, the firm does not intend to run out of trailblazing initiatives.