Rouse in Profile: Claire Corral

Celebrating 10 years with Rouse in the Philippines

Claire is Partner of Baranda & Associates (local Philippines IP law firm and member of the Rouse network) and head of its Trade Marks Group.

This month, Claire celebrated her tenth anniversary at Rouse.  It’s something she’s very proud of.  During that time, she has had the opportunity to develop both legal and managerial skills to a level she couldn’t have imagined on day one - and she still finds the work as exciting and challenging as ever.  Over the years, she has developed very close relationships with both clients and colleagues, to the extent, she says, that Rouse has become her second ‘family’.  And given the importance Claire places on family, that is really saying something.

Claire was born in Manila, but grew up in a province 320 kilometres away, where her father worked as an insurance broker and her mother a teacher of English and Music.  They always encouraged their children to study and, if possible, obtain a university degree.  They haven’t been disappointed:  Claire is now a lawyer, her sister a banker and her brother a computer programmer.  

Claire always knew she would continue her studies at some stage, but she didn’t go to university as soon as she left school.  Instead, she began working for an IT company.  Soon after that, her son, Clarence, was born and she found herself working long hours and at the weekends.  After some time, she decided to look for a Government job so that she would at least have weekends free. 

When a Trade Marks Examiner position became available in the IP Office she decided to apply.  At that stage, she had never even heard of IP, but they provided training on the job and she was willing to give it a go.   She had always thought she would like to be a lawyer and it soon became apparent that in order to progress in this job, she would need a law degree.  So she spent the next 5 years working as a Trade Marks Examiner during the day and attending the University at night and at weekends.  Life was very busy, but she was strongly motivated to get a good job. 

In the year she graduated, the Government was reviewing all its agencies and announced that for a certain period there would be no promotions.  By this time, Claire had been working there for 8 years and was feeling it was time for a new challenge.  She looked around for positions in IP firms and found a position with Rouse.  At that time the office was very small, only 6 or 7 people, but she was interviewed by a young and enthusiastic Nick Redfearn and immediately saw the possibilities.  It sounded an exciting opportunity and she decided to join.

Now, ten years’ later, it is in many ways quite a different scene: the firm has grown and moved to better offices.  And yet, some important things have not changed at all: the excitement and camaraderie of the early days are still there.   Even though the days are long - it takes one and a half hours to drive to work through Manila’s traffic, which has been described as ‘the worst on Earth’ - she still finds the work rewarding.   

Apart from work, Claire’s main focus, for the last few years, has been family; in particular, bringing up her son Clarence.  Although it has certainly not been easy, she sees real advantages in having had a child when she was young.  She says she can relate to him, and be part of his life, in a way that might have been more difficult had she been older.  Also, while still young herself, she can now begin to turn her mind to all the other things that interest her, but that she has had to postpone.

One of these is travel.  Until now, most of the travel she has done has been work-related, sometimes adding on a day or two extra to do some exploring.  Last year, for example, she travelled to New Zealand to attend the APAA conference and continued on to Australia to spend a few days in Sydney.  She hasn’t yet been to Europe and is looking forward to a trip there in 2020.   Another thing she hasn’t had much time for is cinema or TV, just an occasional film on Netflix at the weekend – never any time to start a series.  Hopefully, that too will change before long.

In the meantime, her main focus will continue to be work and family, not only her son, but also her parents and brother and sister.  Clarence is now seventeen, with lots of friends and great enthusiasm for sport, particularly football. He talks of becoming a pilot and Claire says she would never force him to do anything he didn’t want to do.  She will be happy with whatever he ultimately chooses to do. And whatever that might turn out to be, if he’s anything like his mother he will do it with skill, determination and a great sense of loyalty and responsibility.