DivinaLaw Managing Partner Atty. Nilo T. Divina favorite quote speaks volumes about the man as a leader: “We work as if everything depends on work, but we also pray as if everything depends on prayer.”
A seasoned corporate and banking lawyer with 31 years of experience in the industry, Nilo established DivinaLaw in 2006 and with faith, hard work, and commitment to excellence, he has led the aggressive growth of the Firm in a short span of time, making it one of the biggest law firms in the Philippines today.
Before he began his entrepreneurial journey, Nilo was the former Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of one of the leading banks in the country. Nilo is equally active with his roles in the academy, serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Civil Law of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) 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 has authored five books in Commercial Law that are considered as primary resource material for law students and lawyers alike. Because of his outstanding work and work expertise, the visionary has received numerous awards and citations as an academician, practicing lawyer, and managing partner. This year, he was among the 10 highly recommended lawyers in the inaugural list of Asian Legal Business (ALB) Philippines Client Choice Lawyers. He has also consistently been named among the Top 100 Lawyers in the Philippines by the Asia Business Law Journal since 2018.
DivinaLaw, Offering Prompt Proactive & Result-oriented Services
DivinaLaw 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.
Nilo further apprised, “We are not the traditional law firm, we are dynamic. Our mindset is to always find ways and means, to explore uncharted territory and do everything necessary to deliver superior results to our clients and give them peace of mind, of course, all within the bounds of the law, ethics, and reason.”
What Influenced Nilo’s Decision to be a Lawyer?
The eldest of four children, Nilo had always known he would be a lawyer. As early as the age of six, that had been his ambition. There was no other profession for him except to be a lawyer.
His father once told Nilo that he should be a lawyer because he loves to talk, he loves to discuss, he loves talking to crowds. That’s why when his father told him, ‘Perhaps you’re meant to be a lawyer.’ That stuck in his mind.
DivinaLaw is legal counsel to many top corporations and prominent personalities in the country. In 2006, the Firm started with only four clients: BDO Unibank, Inc., Equicom Group, Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp., and Premium Securities, Inc. They became the firm’s “ambassadors of goodwill,” promoting the firm by word-of-mouth endorsement.
Today, DivinaLaw has hundreds 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.
Major Hiccups on the Way
“There were no roadblocks. It was just simply good luck and great opportunities every step of the way,” according to Nilo. From 4 clients, DivinaLaw now has hundreds of clients. From 220 square meter office space, the team now occupies 2,400 square meter office. From 5 lawyers, they now have 72 and are still counting. “There is no other way to explain it, this phenomenon, this growth. It can be explained by one word, miracle. So, miracles still happen”, the man behind the brand shared.
The Driving Force
Aside from prayers and hard work, Nilo also believes he owes his success to his clients who become the firm’s marketing agents, the goodwill ambassadors of DivinaLaw. The firm has clients belonging to the top echelon – business leaders and titans – and they refer the team to their peers which is why the firm’s clients are conglomerates, top corporations, and high net worth individuals.
As Dean of UST Faculty of Civil Law, Nilo has been giving scholarships to deserving students for many years. He hires the cream of the crop, provided that they survive rigorous vetting and share the values of the Firm, especially when it comes to client care.
A Day the Nilo’s Life
“I wake up early and sleep late. I attend Mass, I try to exercise also when I can. I pray every day. I hear Mass every day. I say my rosary every day. It’s what helps me keep my perspective. Not that I am announcing it, but you need to pray so that you see things from a different perspective, especially with the demands of our profession. It’s so easy to stray off course. You need to be level-headed; you need devotion to God and prayer gives you moments of reflection.
I’m very much a family man and dote on my wife and children. I sleep late in the evening. As soon as I reach home, I have dinner, spend time with my family, take a bath, and then go back to work”, shared Nilo when asked about his daily routine.
Under the guidance of Nilo, DivinaLaw will continue to innovate and evolve. He launched a financial advisory company in September 2020.
“The driving force behind this new venture is change. We saw the need for businesses to adapt if they are to ride out turbulence in the global financial markets. Our vision is to identify and seize opportunities to breathe new life into businesses.”
“While some would argue that opening a company at the height of a pandemic is risky, we believe that it is our job to manage, minimize, and dissipate risks. That is why, amidst these uncertainties, we remain optimistic that better times are ahead of us.”
Nilo also 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 usually for a large discount. They are investing in technology. They have many more projects in the pipeline. They do not intend to run out of trailblazing initiatives.
Awards & Milestones
- The leading man and DivinaLaw both have received various awards and distinctions because of Nilo’s pioneering ways of managing a law firm and the firm’s brand of dynamic lawyering.
- 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.
- The Firm has also been conferred the Labor and Employment Law Firm of the Year in 2016 and Immigration Law Firm of the Year in 2018 in the Asian Legal Business Philippine Law Awards.
- The Firm is ranked among the best in the region, having been 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.
- The Firm 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.
- The Firm received numerous awards in the first Datos Privados awards in 2019, including the silver award for Data Privacy Law Firm from the National Association of Data Protection Officers of the Philippines.