Bryan A. San Juan
Mr. Bryan A. San Juan, a Senior Partner in the Firm, is one of the youngest partners to be named in the Asia Business Law Journal’s (“ABLJ”) List of Top 100 Lawyers in the Philippines for 2023.
Since he joined SL Law on 1 December 2020, Mr. San Juan headed the Firm’s Antitrust and Competition Law Practice, Anti-Money Laundering Law Practice, and FINTECH Practice. He co-heads other Commercial Law Practice areas including Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A); Energy and Power Utilities; ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance); Banking and Financial Laws, Mining and Natural Resources; Climate Change; Intellectual Property and General Commercial/Corporate Laws.
Mr. San Juan has very strong academic credentials. He finished his Juris Doctor degree as Class Valedictorian and Cum Laude at the University of the Philippines College of Law (“UP Law”) and obtained his Magister Juris (“MJur”) degree with high honors from the Faculty of Law of the University of Oxford (“Oxford Law”) in England. In UP Law, he also received the highest number of academic awards including the ACCRA Law Medal for Excellence in Law, the Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence, the UP Law Class of 1972 Award for Academic Excellence, and the prestigious Gonzalo W. Gonzalez Award for Most Outstanding Law Intern of the UP Office of Legal Aid. Consistently ranking first in his UP Law batch, he was the Chancellor of the Order of the Purple Feather (the honor society of UP Law) from 2009-2010, and the Vice-Chancellor from 2008-2009.
In 2019, Mr. San Juan attained his MJur, the civil law equivalent of the highly respected BCL Program of Oxford Law, which program is reputed to be one of the most difficult law master’s degrees in the world. He finished his MJur with Academic Merit (Magna cum laude equivalent) and was awarded the Hertford College Prize for Exceptional Academic Performance. As the recipient of the Oxford Law-Hertford College Scholarship for the MJur, he focused on competition laws of the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States under the guidance of intellectual giants in Antitrust Law namely Prof. Ariel Ezrachi; Mr. Aidan Robertson (King’s Counsel); and Judge Simon Holmes of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal. He also studied the Civilian Foundations of Contract Law, and International Economic Law including WTO Law and ICSID Arbitration.
As the Head of the Firm’s Antitrust Practice, Mr. San Juan has a formidable presence across all fields of Antitrust and Competition Law. On the merger control side, he successfully obtained the approval of the PCC on Phase 1 review of M&As with a collective transaction value now exceeding Php400 Billion since the Philippine Competition Act was enacted in 2015. He has extensively advised M&A parties on various aspects of merger control from drafting their clean team protocols, and guidelines to premerger exchange of information up to proactive preparations such as preparations of structural and behavioral remedies in anticipation of possible competition concerns. He is currently advising and has advised major clients including conglomerates on difficult antitrust issues both on merger control (such as proving a failing firm defense or failing division defense, and defenses based on merger efficiencies) and antitrust enforcement issues. On the enforcement side of Antitrust, he has advised clients on highly concentrated markets on actual or potential antitrust enforcement issues and devised protocols to manage dawn raids and legal proceedings.
Mr. San Juan’s most prestigious international engagements include his recent designation in 2023 as the Philippine Antitrust Expert and Procurement Law Expert in a project of an international bank to improve business regulatory regimes. Mr. San Juan was also one of the key stakeholders consulted by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) in its review of the Philippine merger control regime. His contributions were acknowledged by the OECD in its October 2023 publication on Philippine merger control.
As Energy Law Co-Head, he is currently advising clients across different sectors in the Energy Industry. He is co-lead counsel in many cases or matters of the Firm’s client generation companies. He is also the lead counsel of three (3) distribution utilities, handling their complex constitutional and regulatory litigation before the Supreme Court and the Energy Regulatory Commission. He also co-leads advisory work to clean energy funds and other global investment funds seeking to invest in the renewable energy sector.
As Co-Head of the Firm’s Banking and Financial Laws Practice, he has extensively advised financial conglomerates and banks. He also advised several financing and lending companies in their compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering Act including the Wolfsberg Principles and crafting their Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Programs that also reflect the Wolfsberg Principles. He has also successfully caused the lifting of freeze orders, or asset protection orders issued against some of the Firm’s clients.
Mr. San Juan also co-leads the ESG, and Environment and Climate Change Practice of the Firm. For ESG, he supervised the Firm’s most significant engagement in ESG for a major Philippine bank. Under his supervision, the Firm was commended by the Bank for extensively helping it in its ESG Audit and ESG Compliance. Under his watch, the Firm completed for the Bank an ESG Primer, ESG Scorecard, ESG Due Diligence Checklist, ESG Negative List, and Guidelines for the bank’s frontliners to fully implement ESG. For Environment and Climate Change, Mr. San Juan co-leads the Team in the crafting of strategy and drafting of key arguments for the Firm’s client non-government organizations/people’s organizations.
Mr. San Juan is a leading figure in the Firm’s high-stakes commercial and environmental litigation. Known for his formidable command of Civil Law, which he further honed after taking Civilian Foundations of Contract Law in Oxford Law and as an active Civil Law professor in UP Law, he played an instrumental role in developing strong advocacy positions on Civil Law matters. Mr. San Juan is also the Firm’s constitutionalist having rendered key opinions and leading the Firm in handling a Supreme Court case on constitutional issues of far-reaching importance to the Firm’s clients.
Before joining SL Law, Mr. San Juan was a top-ranked corporate Senior Associate in a large firm where he handled high-value M&As from 2011-2020. While he was only an SA then, he was already the undisputed leader in the Antitrust Practice and has been at the forefront of the practice since the country passed its comprehensive antitrust law in 2015. He has since secured antitrust clearance of M&As spanning various industries including energy, real estate, banking, pharmaceutical, and business process outsourcing with a combined transaction value of more than Php300 Billion. He also successfully argued exemptions from merger control including a Php 27-Billion Peso acquisition of shares in one of the largest banks in the country in 2017. With him at the helm, the practice grew exponentially and was eventually recognized by the ABLJ from 2019-2020 as one of the best Antitrust advisors in the country. His expertise was also recognized by a Partner in an international law firm, who nominated him to the list of Who's Who Legal: Competition-Future Leaders 2019 (Non-Partners Category).
Mr. San Juan wears multiple hats. He is concurrently a Managing Director at SL and Partners Consultancy Inc. (SLPCI), where he also serves as the Corporate Secretary. Having been deeply involved in the businesses of the Firm’s former and present clients, the Partners of SL Law established SLPCI in February 2021 as an avenue to help the Firm’s clients in the management of their businesses including assisting them in forging strategic commercial relationships with key players in the relevant markets where they operate. As of date, SLPCI has taken a management role in at least three (3) mining companies in the Philippines.
Mr. San Juan is also a professor in UP Law and a member of its Civil Law cluster since 2020. He is also a Founding Faculty Member of the ASCOT College of Law in the Province of Aurora where he will teach Commercial Laws.
When he is not wearing his hats as a lawyer, managing director, or professor, Mr. San Juan loves to spend quality time chatting with his extremely smart niece, watching the latest trending Netflix series, dining at his favorite Japanese restaurants, and traveling around the country and the world.