Atty. Marie Christine Duran-Schulze has been a practicing corporate attorney for over 14 years in the Philippines. Atty. Duran-Schulze holds a master’s degree in business administration from Dela Salle University and a Juris Doctor degree from Far Eastern University. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She is also a licensed Real Estate Broker. Atty. Duran-Schulze worked for a senator in the Philippines before establishing her law firm.
She established Duran & Duran-Schulze Law in March 2013 with her sister, Atty. Mary Wendy Duran. Duran & Duran-Schulze Law is in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Philippines. Duran & Duran-Schulze Law, under Atty. Marie Christine Duran-Schulze’s guidance, has helped clients form multiple startup companies and supported them with local permits and special licenses. The law firm also supports its clients as regards their corporate secretarial and compliance needs, making it easy for the clients to continue doing business, secure investments, or financing, and even divest or sell to investors.
You are the Managing Partner at Duran & Duran-Schulze Law. Tell us about the firm.
Duran & Duran-Schulze Law is a dynamic law firm in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Philippines, a thriving business hub of business and innovation. Our firm is well-positioned to serve as a trusted legal partner for companies seeking reliable and efficient legal services. With our deep understanding of the local legal framework, our primary goal is to provide comprehensive legal support to clients, whether businesses or individuals, assist them in achieving their objectives, and ensure they overcome any legal challenges they face, whether it’s regulatory compliance, contract negotiations, or dispute resolution. We are committed to providing practical and strategic advice to guide our clients toward favorable outcomes.
At the heart of our practice is a dedication to understanding each client’s unique needs, as each operates within their own set of circumstances and requirements. By tailoring our approach to individual situations, we ensure that our clients receive personalized attention and solutions that align with their goals.
One distinctive advantage of our firm lies in my strong business background. Being a serial entrepreneur myself who has successfully established and managed businesses well, coupled unique vision, passion, and unafraid personality to venture into something new, enables the firm to comprehend and appreciate each client’s specific business models.
Also heading our team is Atty. Mary Wendy Duran is an experienced litigator with over a decade of practice in the trial courts. Her expertise in litigation allows us to provide robust representation and advocacy for our clients in various legal proceedings.
At Duran & Duran-Schulze Law, we see ourselves as more than just legal advisors. We are strategic partners, advocates, and problem solvers. We strive to offer the best solutions for each challenge and foster long-term relationships built on trust, integrity, and a shared commitment to success.
What is your practice focus?
Duran & Duran-Schulze Law specializes in providing comprehensive legal services tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients. With a team of highly skilled and experienced attorneys, we are equipped to handle a wide range of legal matters.
Our areas of specialization include:
- Corporate and Business Law: We assist businesses of all sizes, from startups to established companies, in navigating the complex legal landscape of corporate and business law. Our services include business formation, contract review, drafting and negotiation, due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, reportorial, and compliance with various regulatory agencies.
- Litigation: When disputes arise, our litigators are skilled in representing our clients’ interests in court. We handle civil litigation, commercial disputes, employment disputes, and real estate litigation.
- Family Law: Our dedicated family law litigators provide compassionate and effective legal representation in matters of declaration of nullity of marriage, annulment, child custody and visitation, child support, property division, and prenuptial agreements. We understand the sensitive nature of family law issues and strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.
- Labor Management and Human Resource Services: We provide comprehensive support and guidance to businesses in effectively managing their workforce and ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations, such as minimum wage requirements, working hours, and employee benefits, and aim to mitigate risks and avoid legal issues. We assist in drafting and reviewing employment agreements and handling employee relations matters, including addressing workplace conflicts, conducting investigations, and implementing dispute resolution mechanisms.
- Real Estate: Our Senior Partners are both licensed real estate brokers, who provide residential and commercial real estate property transactions, lease agreements.
- Immigration Laws: Our Visa team experts guides and assist in securing the necessary visas, whether it be working visas, retirement visas, visa extensions, and renewals, of foreigners wanting to stay in the Philippines. We help navigate the application requirements, document preparation, and submission processes. We further offer guidance and support to individuals and employers in ensuring compliance with visa requirements, such as reporting obligations, visa conversions, and other immigration-related matters.
We are committed to exceptional legal service representation, personalized attention, and strategic advice to our clients. We are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes and guiding our clients through every step of the legal process. These are just a few examples of the areas in which our firm specializes.
What key management challenges and opportunities do you face as a managing partner?
As the Managing Partner, I face several key management challenges and opportunities.
- Strategic Decision-Making: One of the primary challenges is making strategic decisions that align with the firm’s long-term goals and vision. This involves analyzing market trends, assessing competition, and identifying growth opportunities while managing risks.
- Financial Management: Managing the firm’s finances can be challenging. This includes budgeting, forecasting, monitoring cash flow, and ensuring profitability while balancing technology, infrastructure, and talent acquisition investments.
- Client Relationship Management: Building and maintaining strong client relationships is essential for client satisfaction and business growth. The managing partner must ensure effective communication, retention, and exceptional client service.
- Changes in Legal Rules and Regulations: Keeping myself and the team updated on the latest policies, rules, and procedures, particularly in legal ethics, has further restricted legal practitioners in advertising on social media platforms, thereby making it more challenging to reach millennials and Gen Z.
- Innovation and Technology: Embracing innovative technologies and leveraging them effectively can enhance operational efficiency, improve client service, and provide a competitive edge. The Managing partner has the opportunity to explore new technologies, implement legal tech solutions, and adapt to changing client expectations. These include emerging websites and software apps, which are unconventional platforms for the legal profession and will allow us to reach more clients and scale.
- Business Development and Growth: As a managing partner, opportunities exist to identify and pursue new business development initiatives. This includes exploring new practice areas, expanding into emerging markets, forming strategic alliances, and creating a strong brand presence to attract new clients and increase revenue.
- Succession Planning: Planning for the future and grooming the next generation of leaders within the firm is a significant opportunity. The managing partner can focus on developing and mentoring young lawyers, providing leadership training, and implementing a robust succession plan to ensure continuity and long-term success.
Overall, the managing partner faces the challenge of effectively navigating these management challenges while capitalizing on the opportunities to drive the firm’s growth, profitability, and success.
What are your goals for the future of the firm – and your individual practice?
When considering the future of the firm and my practice, I have several goals that I strive to achieve:
- Firm Growth and Expansion: I aim to foster sustainable growth for the firm, expanding our client base and increasing our market presence, whereby we will be the go-to law firm of Filipinos and businesses in the Philippines. This also involves identifying new practice areas or industries to explore, such as medico-legal law, and environmental law, particularly in carbon credits, thereby attracting global clientele, and exploring opportunities for geographic expansion, whether through opening new offices or establishing strategic partnerships outside the Philippines.
- Client Satisfaction and Service Excellence: Delivering exceptional client service is paramount to the firm’s success. I aim to continuously enhance our client experience by understanding their needs, exceeding expectations, and building long-term relationships based on trust and exceptional results. I strive to consistently seek client feedback and implement improvements to ensure their satisfaction.
By pursuing these goals, I envision a future where the firm continues to thrive, delivering exceptional legal services and positively impacting our clients, employees, and the communities we serve. Individually, I aspire to continually develop my expertise, expand my professional network, and contribute to the growth and success of the firm while achieving personal and professional fulfillment.
You previously served in Government and also worked in foreign investment promotion. Tell us about this.
When operating a business in the Philippines, it is important to know several key legal considerations to ensure compliance and mitigate risks. Some of the key legal aspects that businesses should be mindful of include:
– Corporate Structure and Registration: To operate a business in the Philippines, local and foreign investors must choose the appropriate legal structure, such as a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship, and need to register with the relevant government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and secure the essential permits and licenses.
– Regulatory Compliance: Businesses should comply with various regulatory requirements, including obtaining necessary permits and licenses specific to their industry. This may include local government permits, tax registrations, environmental clearances, and industry-specific licenses.
– Labor Laws: Understanding and complying with Philippine labor laws is crucial. Businesses must know minimum wage regulations, employment contracts, working hours, employee benefits, leave entitlements, and occupational health and safety standards. Compliance with labor standards and proper documentation of employment relationships are essential.
– Taxation: Businesses must navigate the Philippine tax systems, including income tax, value-added tax (VAT), withholding tax, and other applicable taxes. Familiarity with tax obligations, deadlines, and available incentives can help optimize tax planning and ensure compliance to prevent penalties and legal complications.
– Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): Protecting intellectual property (IP) is vital for businesses. Understanding the legal framework for patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets can help safeguard proprietary assets and prevent infringement or misappropriation.
– Data Privacy and Security: With the implementation of the Data Privacy Act, businesses must comply with data protection regulations. This includes securing personal data, obtaining consent for data processing, implementing data breach protocols, and appointing a Data Protection Officer (DPO) when required.
– Foreign Investment Restrictions: Certain industries in the Philippines may have restrictions or limitations on foreign ownership or require special permits. Understanding and complying with the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) and sector-specific regulations governing foreign investment is crucial.
Navigating these key legal considerations requires a comprehensive understanding of Philippine laws and regulations. Seeking guidance from legal professionals with expertise in Philippine business law can help businesses ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and operate successfully in the Philippine market.
How can clients contact you?
– Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or +632 8478-5826
Check out our website for more info: https://www.duranschulze.com/.