April 15, 2023

The International Bar Association (IBA) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) recently organized a webinar to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Philippine law practice amidst ASEAN integration.

DivinaLaw Senior Partner Atty. Enrique V. Dela Cruz Jr. was joined by Atty. Kelvin Lester K. Lee, commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines, and Atty. Patricia Cristina Ngochua, senior partner at Tayag & Ngochua and a membership officer of the IBA Asia Pacific Regional Forum which co-organized the webinar with IBP. Hideaki Roy Umetsu, partner at Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, and Atty. Andre C. Palacios, chair of the International Law Committee of IBP, both moderated the discussion.

Asked to weigh in on how IBA and IBP can still improve their partnership, Atty. Dela Cruz suggested the accreditation or certification of lawyers which will give them a competitive edge to be placed in any ASEAN country or multinational company.

“As of now, there is no universal association for lawyers practicing data privacy or anti-money laundering, for example. These are practices which are cross-border by nature and companies hiring lawyers for these roles in their jurisdictions often hire based on people they know (by referral). If you could have an international certification – for example, you are certified by the IBA as a specialist in fintech or data privacy or arbitration – then it will be like a stamp that you have passed a quality test or you have undergone training.”

IBA is the world’s leading organization of international legal practitioners, bar associations, and law societies, with a membership of over 80,000 individual lawyers and some 190 bar associations and law societies spanning more than 170 countries. IBP is the official organization of all Philippine lawyers whose names appear in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Atty. Dela Cruz is the head of DivinaLaw’s Data Privacy, Arbitration, Intellectual Property, and Fintech practice groups.