Benjamin S. Tolosa, Jr, who co-founded Tolosa Javier Law Firm in 2019, is the firm’s managing partner and head of its litigation and dispute resolution practice. He has represents multinational companies and local conglomerates, as well as government officials and C-suite executives, in civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings before trial and appellate courts, as well as quasi-judicial agencies.
ALB: Tell us about your legal career so far, and what led you to co-founding TJ Law.
Tolosa: The primary focus of my career has always been litigation and arbitration. I spent years practicing law as a senior associate of the litigation and dispute resolution department of the country’s biggest law firm. Then, to broaden my legal background, I also acted as in-house counsel of a local subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company and the general counsel of a local conglomerate. In 2019, desiring to make my mark in the legal community, I co-founded Tolosa Javier Law Firm.
ALB: What have been some of your highlights from your time in charge? And what are some leadership lessons you have learnt?
Tolosa: In less than two years, we went from two partners to a 19-man legal team composed of individuals with impeccable professional and academic achievements. Further, TJ Law has quickly gained the trust of a blue-chip clientele that is traditionally serviced only by big firms, which includes leading local conglomerates and multinational companies. In addition, TJ Law has also quickly earned the respect of the legal community as it has already been recognised, cited, and well-ranked by various prestigious legal publications. Our humble achievements have shown me that as a leader, seemingly impossible goals may only be attained by inspiring your entire team to strive for excellence and break barriers.
ALB: How important is law firm culture, according to you? What kind of internal culture are you looking to foster?
Tolosa: Law firm culture plays an essential role in ensuring the firm’s success. As a firm that believes in investing in its people, we promote an inclusive workplace environment where everyone feels free to share their ideas regardless of hierarchy. This allows us to properly train our associates and make sure that all suggestions are taken into consideration when formulating the best strategy and legal theory for a client. Open and transparent communication is also an important factor for the firm. Regular catchups are scheduled with associates where they can raise their concerns and issues and receive immediate feedback regarding their performance. We believe that an engaging workplace culture will not only foster productivity, but also impact overall employee motivation and satisfaction.
ALB: On that note, how would you describe your hiring and talent retention strategy? What kinds of lawyers would make the best fit for your firm?
Tolosa: Our hiring and talent retention strategy is anchored on staying true to our reputation of providing our associates with top-notch legal training. The partners of the firm invest considerable amount of time and effort to make sure that they give our associates the guidance and mentorship that they need. In addition, our associates are exposed to complicated and high-stakes cases, transactions, and projects for clients that are engaged in various industries. For lawyers to be invited to be part of our firm, having excellent academic credentials is a given. However, what is more important is having the passion for the practice of law and the willingness to put in the work needed so they can hone their skills and realise their full potential as lawyers.
ALB: How would you describe your approach to technology? How has the use of tech at your firm evolved since you started at the helm, and what is your blueprint for the next year or two?
Tolosa: As a firm composed of young lawyers, we are aware of how technology plays a major role in today’s evolving business landscape. Thus, upon opening our firm, we immediately started to adopt innovative ways to make sure that work is carried out more efficiently through automation. At present, our technological infrastructure has paved the way for us to be able to easily adapt to the changing times. The migration from manual filing to cloud-based management software system enables our lawyers to remotely access electronic copies of all case files, making work more efficient and seamless. For proper monitoring, we have also adopted an automated billing system and online daily time service record for all lawyers. These technological advancements have enabled our lawyers to focus on more important tasks and to provide prompt and quality legal services to our clients. In the next year or two, we hope to continue to innovate as we add more technological improvements to our existing systems.
ALB: Where would you like to see the firm five years from now?
Tolosa: Considering its rapid growth, five years from now, I would like to see our firm to be one of the country’s leading firms. By building on its core practice of litigation and dispute resolution, I want our firm to be able to solidify its reputation as one of the premier litigation firms in the country. In addition, by leveraging on the expertise of our lawyers and the complex and high-value cases, transactions, and projects that we are handling, the firm’s other primary practice areas of labour and employment, energy, and special projects should continue to develop and expand.
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