FNS Special Counsel for Baguio Wilbert L. Tan started as a lawyer apprentice in February 2001, rose from the ranks as a junior associate to become senior associate in January 2005, until he was seconded to oversee the defunct Baguio branch operations of the Firm in 2007. He was thereafter designated as Special Counsel when the branch closed in June 2010.
Wilbert began his pursuit of the law profession by obtaining an undergraduate degree from the Ateneo de Manila in Loyola Heights, and completing his law degree in St. Louis University in 2000. He was immersed in the practice of law even before he became a bona fide member of the Philippine Bar, when he superintended and liaised with Sig Fortun and Ogie Narvasa in the handling of his grandfather’s cases before the MTC and RTC of Baguio City from 1996 through 1999. He was ever present in all court proceedings and attended to monitoring its status even as it was elevated on appeal to the Court of Appeals, then to the Supreme Court where a landmark doctrine on partnership law was rendered on the case.
While the Baguio branch was still operating, Wilbert would ensure that Baguio-based associates who were mostly locals and graduates of universities in the City, passed the stringent standards of the Firm in writing, profundity of arguments, and the pragmatic application of basic legal principles in political, constitutional, civil, mercantile, and procedural law. He also made certain that the administrative and operational aspects of the Firm’s practice in the City was compliant with local ordinances and customs. Much business was generated by Wilbert for the Firm during its brief stint in Baguio as he introduced leading personalities from the Panagbenga Annual Flower Festival Committee, and stalwarts in the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Baguio City who passed on work to the branch. Even the former Mayor of the City, Atty. Braulio Yaranon, became a client of the Firm upon Wilbert’s recommendation.
Recognizing the need for effective MCLE and Bar Review classes for northern Luzon residents, Wilbert was first to sponsor special sessions in a hotel owned by his family, and allowed the use of extra staff for activities of LegalAdvantage® in the City.
Wilbert’s family had heavily invested in hotels, inns, grocery stores, realty acquisition and leasing, and a rural bank in Baguio and environs that required his attention and expertise to manage its day-to-day operations. While the branch was struggling to keep its operations afloat in handling new referrals from clients with businesses in the City, Wilbert and his family graciously accommodated the Firm within the bank’s administrative offices along Rajah Sulayman Street in 2004, before it finally moved to its office in 2006 in the F. Lopez Building along Session Road.
He continues to oversee major cases handled by the Firm in Baguio, and is available for consultation on matters affecting the business climate in the City. When in Manila, Wilbert does not fail to play golf with Sig and spend time with members of the Firm who had evolved in not just being colleagues, but good friends of his fast growing family. Soft-spoken and amiable, Wilbert has evolved to become a seasoned business lawyer and a reliable partner of the Firm for its myriad activities in northern Luzon.