Updated: Oct 10
By: Atty. Archiebald Capila
In the country, there are a handful of lawyers who establish law offices or law firms. The fast-growing family of law firms have caught the eyes of young lawyers who want to build a career involving the practice of law through a private firm. From firms engaged in general practice to specifically focusing on niche areas of the law, offices all over the country have emerged to provide legal services in their best capacity.
However, putting up a law firm is and will always be easier than it looks. The same requires a lot of effort, not only from the starting point but in the process of maintaining the office as well. Several factors, internal and external, need to be considered in order to put up a firm that will eventually stand the tests of time.
In order to understand on how a law firm works, there is a need to look at their respective narratives. There is a need to know the story behind a law firm that encapsulates the essence of private practice.
One of the emerging law firms in Davao was able to give a glimpse on how the life of lawyers engaged in the private practice work. The Villarica Coronel Pojas Caharian Law Office, or more commonly known as VCPC Law, stands as one of the prominent firms in the South. In an exclusive interview with Barrista Solutions, the partners of VCPC Law shares the story behind their firm, their fields of expertise, and their message to aspiring lawyers who want to put up their own law firms in the future.
Barrista Solutions: How did Villarica Coronel Pojas Caharian (VCPC) Law Office Start? What is the history behind your firm?
VCPC Law Office: The VCPC Law Office began in February 2010 with the leadership of managing partner Atty. Jeffrey Jefferson Coronel and senior partners Atty. Philip John Pojas and Atty. Thomas Kristino Caharian. Our office was initially located in CVA Bldg., Jacinto corner CM Recto Sts., Davao City. With the firm's expanding practice and continuous growth, we relocated to our current office at 2F Door A Consuelo Bldg. Monteverde corner Suazo Sts Davao City in 2018.
Barrista Solutions: What were the problems that you encountered in putting up the VCPC Law Office? How did you and your partners overcome the same?
VCPC Law Office: As a new firm, one of our biggest challenges was finding new clients. For our firm to thrive and remain competitive, we need to bring in new clients to replace those whose cases have been resolved. We solved this problem by expanding our professional networks and enhancing our reputation. By delivering superior legal services to our clients and achieving positive results, we increase the likelihood that they will recommend us to others.
Another challenge that we faced was balancing administrative tasks with practicing law. We overcame this by taking in competent and knowledgeable administrative staff on our team. Because of their support, our lawyers are free to focus on working on legal matters rather than being sidetracked by other tasks.
Barrista Solutions: How did VCPC Law Office grow as a law firm in the long run?
VCPC Law Office: For over ten years, we have been dedicated to providing top-notch legal services to the people of Davao city and across the whole country. When the firm first opened its doors, it catered to the legal needs of various clients, ranging from residents to owners of small businesses. Today, we're still serving the same clients, and they're joined by companies from all over the country and the world that represent practically every sector of the economy.
With an ever-expanding and more diverse clientele, we are prepared to accommodate any legal needs that may come our way. As we grow, we will never stray from our commitment to prioritizing experience, integrity, and results; these are core values that have guided the firm ever since it was founded.
Barrista Solutions: What are the fields of specialization that VCPC Law Office offer?
VCPC Law Office: At VCPC Law Office, we provide services that encompass essential disciplines of legal advocacy, and our attorneys provide representation and guidance on virtually the entire spectrum of Philippine legal matters. Among our areas of expertise are civil and family law, criminal law, and labor law, as well as corporate law, administrative, and election law.
Our clients can rely on our dedicated team of well-versed practitioners with multidisciplinary knowledge and competent associates to provide them with in-depth insights and comprehensive solutions that are specifically designed to meet their unique needs.
Barrista Solutions: During the height of the pandemic, what were the measure that VCPC Law adopted in order to stay afloat in providing legal services?
VCPC Law Office: Like the rest of the world, the VCPC Law Office also had to adapt to the drastic changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In our case, technology proved to be our most effective tool. We put forth a lot of effort to learn and become accustomed to alternate work and billing arrangements and tools for videoconferencing and participation in online hearings. Our law firm became more active online and maximized all the tools and resources available, such as emails and social media.
Once the situation improved and restrictions were lifted, our law office has been strictly adhering to the government's health and safety protocols, such as social distancing and frequent cleaning.
There has indeed been plenty of challenges involving health and safety, financial management, the productivity and efficiency of our office, and responding to our client's issues. However, we are proud to say that the VCPC Law Office not only stayed afloat during the pandemic but rather flourished by keeping an open mind and finding opportunities amid adversity.
Barrista Solutions: What are your thoughts on the growing number of private law firms all over the country with their respective field of specialization?
VCPC Law Office: We believe this is a good thing and a very welcome development. Even though general practices are necessary, legal practices that focus on a particular area will be better prepared to serve clients with specific requirements. Being able to work with experts who are well-versed in niche areas is certainly good news for the people. Working through legal proceedings may be a much less difficult and more fruitful task with the help of specialized lawyers. Because of this, the judicial process may become more efficient, and the system will be less congested.
Barrista Solutions: What do you think is the greatest impact, both positive and negative, in this sudden shift to online and digital platforms in terms of the study and practice of law?
VCPC Law Office: One of the primary benefits of shifting to the digital realm is the improved efficiency of law practices. Since almost everything can now be done online, it's much easier to communicate with our staff, colleagues, and clients. Having the option of videoconferencing instead of face-to-face meetings can help us save time and focus more on providing excellent legal services. Additionally, maximizing file sharing tools can help disseminate information faster.
However, moving online also has its risk, especially regarding security. Cyberattacks and data breaches have always been a threat since before the pandemic and can be devastating, especially in law practice. Because of this, our firm always takes precautions and adheres to stringent cyber security standards to ensure the safety of sensitive information.
Barrista Solutions: If given the chance, what would the partners and associates of VCPC Law say to their former selves who are just starting at the law firm?
VCPC Law Office: Learn to adapt and embrace change. If you want to thrive and advance in today's technologically driven world, you must constantly focus on reinventing yourself, and having the ability to shift gears when necessary is critical to your long-term success as a lawyer. Take chances and promote innovative ideas to take advantage of your strengths and opportunities while mitigating or eliminating weaknesses and threats. Consider the counsel of your colleagues and trustworthy team, as change can be frightening, but it can also be an opportunity for growth. It's important to remember that these breakthroughs can emerge from the most unexpected places, so always keep an open mind.
Barrista Solutions: What is your message to the new lawyers who are thinking of starting their own private firms in the near future?
VCPC Law Office: Having faith is among the most significant pieces of advice that every new lawyer needs to learn. Things can get extremely tough, even impossible, at times. The only way to bring your goals into reality is to have trust in the process. That doesn't mean you have to be idealistic. However, you must keep in mind that things usually work out for the best in the end.
As the world goes through so much uncertainty, it's easy to become overwhelmed by your current situation. However, you're also on the cusp of a profession that's undergoing a radical transformation. The way things are might not be okay today, but you'll have a long career ahead of you. You're going to grow and change, all while adapting and learning along the way.
Barrista Solutions: What are your tips to all law students out there dreaming of passing and even topping the Bar exams?
VCPC Law Office: The best tip we can give is to start preparing for the Bar exam as soon as you enter law school. Law school graduates have a very short window of time before their Bar exam date to review what they learned while in school. Consider that a law student typically needs four years to complete all their coursework, while a recent grad has only around five or seven months to go over all they learned in four years.
In addition, having a good foundation in the law will help you do better on exam day. Being well-versed in a given subject will allow you to quickly and accurately articulate the answer even if time is limited. However, you won't be able to master a subject if you only study for it in the months leading up to the bar exam. As such, law school is an excellent time to learn it like the back of your hand.