ATTY. MARVI ABO’S DAVID-AND-GOLIATH JOURNEY IN LAW

ATTY. MARVI ABO’S DAVID-AND-GOLIATH JOURNEY IN LAW

For Atty. Marvi R. Abo, celebrating the third anniversary of Abo and Peñaranda Law Firm at the luxurious Okada Hotel marks a milestone. It was only in 2018 when he and partner Atty. Jon Dominic Peñaranda started in a 40-square meter office, with walls so bare that Atty. Abo recalls even being able to familiarize himself with the ants that crawled on its surface.

But he and Peñaranda dared to dream big. For one, they chose as their office address the swanky Bonifacio Global City, where many multinationals and huge banks are headquartered, and where no doubt many other large and storied law firms also had offices.

There were only the two of them back then, assisted by a handful of interns. “It was by courage that I started the firm. That and the belief that the firm will succeed were the only things I had back then,” said  Abo.

A short three years later, what started as a dream is now a full-fledged journey to the pinnacle of legal practice in the Philippines. Today, the staff has more than quadrupled. The firm is now composed of eight lawyers and more than 20 support staff and Atty. Abo continues to lead the Firm to exponential growth. 

The Firm is always guided by Atty. Abo’s mantra, “What we lack in resources, we more than make up for it with our resourcefulness.” As the proverbial David in an industry filled with Goliaths, the young firm put its best foot forward every single time and tried harder than most. From the tiny office, Abo and Peñaranda, with the help of a few interns, gave each client their undivided attention.

Grit and the single-minded determination to prove that a small firm, eschewing the glamor of pedigree and focusing instead on giving clients the best legal advice, can rise and be on equal footing with the big boys.

Abo himself recalls being underestimated by the big law firms, which were run by graduates of the country’s top universities. He even recalls being called out for having the audacity to set up his law office in the same business district as the other storied law firms.

Today, Abo and Peñaranda Law offices are bigger and more luxurious, still in the heart of Bonifacio Global City. The Firm prides itself by having its own Bar and Gym at the office, thereby redefining the concept of a fun working environment. By next year, Abo revealed that they are planning to expand, both in terms of office space and  its reach to more clients.

Its practice areas have expanded to handling complex and various legal matters, whether they are civil, criminal, administrative, or corporate in nature. It has also honed its specializations in administration, criminal and civil litigation, family law, intellectual property, power and mining. immigration law, tax law, and corporate litigation.

He admits that when the pandemic struck, he was at a loss. “I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid that we will fade from memory and shall be forsaken by history, he said. “And then I realized, this is now the most opportune time. That enlightened stubbornness, unyielding firmness to purpose suddenly came to me. To rise amidst uncertainties will define the character of this Firm and by all means we will devour all difficulties and shall conquer all challenges,” he said.

And it is now reaping the benefits. Abo shared that their law firm is now being  recognized by different prestigious organizations. In 2020, Abo himself received the Southeast Asia Business Award as the best Corporate Lawyer in the Philippines. 

In 2021, he was nominated before the Asian Legal Business Law Awards as Young Lawyer of the Year and as Managing Partner of the Year. 

The firm he founded was also nominated as the Rising Law Firm of the Year and Boutique Law Firm of the Year by the same organization. 

Abo and Peñaranda Law also received an award from no less than the International Business Magazine for the Best Legal Consulting Firm of the Year. 

Despite the huge successes he and the firm have achieved, Abo said more needs to be done. “Our goal is not to be the biggest, but the greatest law Firm there is.”

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