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Editorial

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With the appetite for energy typical in emerging markets, Vietnam is experiencing a spike in the volume of power projects. However, questions remain about the enthusiasm of international investors for coal-fired power plants going forwards due to increased concerns over environmental issues raised by development finance institutions. Other sectors of note include a garment manufacturing industry that exports in the region of $30bn a year, a tourism sector attracting investment at the top end of the market, and an unusually advanced, if not particularly large, insurance market. M&A activity is partly driven by strong interest from private equity buyers, which, in part, helps to mitigate the less-than-stellar performance of the country’s equity capital market. That said, the successful IPO of VietJet, a low-cost airline, is a boost to the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange and the country’s airline industry alike.

Firms operating in Vietnam include several international names, regional players covering various south-east Asian emerging markets and a number of highly-sophisticated home-grown alternatives. Domestic firms have the advantage of being able to litigate in local courts as court representation is restricted to exclusively locally-owned firms. Foreign firms either operate in tandem with a local partnership, outsource advocacy to local firms or sole practitioners, or eschew the courts entirely.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

VILAF

With 24 years of experience in Vietnam, VILAF is one of the largest law firms in Vietnam and consistently ranked as a first-tier law firm by The Legal 500, IFLR1000, Asia Law and Chambers and Partners. VILAF has been representing clients in many complex cross-border M&A, large financing and capital markets transactions, and major infrastructure and energy projects in Vietnam. The firm’s long-term clients include, among others, Marubeni Corporation, Mizuho Bank, ANZ, Sumitomo Corporation, Phillip Morris, BNP Paribas, Siam Cement Group, Capitaland, Jollibee Foods Corporation, HSBC, Hoa Lam, Ford, and GM.

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FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Lexcomm Vietnam LLC

Lexcomm Vietnam LLC (Lexcomm) is a pre-eminent full-service commercial law firm with market-leading practices and an established bench of highly experienced legal practitioners spread across the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offices. The firm is a significant legal force in this emerging market, and the clients value the depth of the Vietnamese law capabilities.

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FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Vietnam

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Vietnam, a leading law firm, offers clients access to a network of over 1,200 legal professionals across 30 offices in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States of America via the firm’s membership with the Taylor Wessing group. The firm traces its beginnings to 2005 when a team of experienced Vietnamese lawyers came together to set up what was formerly known as PBC partners. A subsequent joint venture in 2016 with the sixth largest law firm in Singapore, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, led to a brand relaunch and the firm became known as RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Vietnam.

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Ho Chi Minh City is the country’s largest city by population and the epicentre of the nation’s economic engine room in the south, with capital Hanoi further north home to the national government. Most law firms mentioned in the editorial have offices in both cities to be close to the public and private sectors. Despite the economic importance of cities such as Hai Phong and Da Nang, significant practices outside the two largest cities are thin on the ground.

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