Lawyers and Legal Assistance in the Philippines
General Advice on Legal Services
Americans who require legal services in the Philippines may find it useful or necessary to engage the services of a Philippine attorney. Attorneys in the Philippines may provide legal services to Americans in criminal cases, civil or commercial suits, child custody cases, property and estate disputes.
Americans often expect the Embassy to provide them with an Embassy attorney to protect their interests. Embassy officers are not lawyers qualified to practice law in the Philippines, however, and are prohibited from offering legal advice. If you become involved in litigation, you should be prepared to retain a lawyer from your own personal funds. In cases where you face charges and cannot afford the services of a private attorney, the court may appoint one for you, but in practice, many of the court-appointed counsels do not devote as much time and effort in pursuing their cases as those where the client is willing and able to pay the fees charged. The Embassy recommends that you hire a competent, private attorney.
If you desire the services of a law firm in the Philippines, the Embassy suggests that a definite agreement on the matter of fees be resolved before the services are actually engaged. This is important for the client as well as for the attorney and can prevent possible future misunderstanding.
If you plan to stay in the Philippines for an extended period, or plan to engage in legal business operations, the Embassy recommends that you establish a relationship with a reliable attorney at the beginning of your residence. This step will enable you to work closely and more effectively with your legal counsel should you require emergency legal services.
The Embassy has prepared a list of local attorneys (PDF 246KB) who have indicated an interest in representing Americans in the Philippines. The Embassy assumes no responsibility for the integrity or professional ability of the persons or firms whose names appear in the following list. In addition, the Embassy cannot guarantee that attorneys included in the list will be able or willing to provide legal services in every case.
The names are listed alphabetically. Provincial attorneys have been included for the sake of convenience. The Embassy would appreciate receiving comments on these individuals and firms for use in their periodic revisions of this list.
If this list is published, it must be accompanied by the following statement:
These names have been furnished by the American Embassy Manila, Philippines. American consular officers at any foreign post will furnish such names directly to any American firm or individual requesting them.
American consular officers are prohibited by regulations from serving legal process emanating from any court, whether in the United States or abroad, and are prohibited from appointing others to do so, except in certain cases in the United States federal courts involving service of process on United States citizens abroad (28USC 1783 and 1784),
Service of process in the Philippines may be accomplished by various methods (depending on the circumstances of the case), such as by registered mail to the last known address, by publications, and personal service which may also be made by other officers of the court, including attorneys. Most American law firms have found it helpful, and in many cases necessary, to engage the service of Philippine attorneys to advise and assist them in effecting service of process in the Philippines.
You may view the entire list here, divided by geographic area.