Interview with: Phong Tran, Senior Partner, Hanoi Office

VILAF | View firm profile

Senior Partner of VILAF’s Hanoi office, Phong Tran details how the firm acts as a trusted legal and business partner for clients navigating the Vietnamese market, on his induction into The Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

In my professional career my greatest achievement has been, alongside three of my other partners, growing VILAF from a small team of lawyers to one of the largest law firms in the country, with fourteen partners and approximately 60 legal advisors. Other achievements that I am particularly proud of are successfully closing a series of landmark deals and projects in Vietnam such as:

  • Phu My 2.2 BOT power project;
  • Nghi Son 2 BOT power project;
  • Mong Duong 2 BOT power project;
  • Nam Dinh 1 BOT power project;
  • Van Phong 1 BOT power project;
  • Vingroup’s series of M&A transactions with GIC, Credit Suisse, Hanwha, Warbus Pincus, SK and Masan
  • Vingroup’s convertible bonds on the SGX,
  • Vinacomin’s international bonds,
  • Vincom Retail’s and Vinhomes’ Rule 144A international placement/HOSE listing, among others.

Throughout my career, I have wholeheartedly set out to be my client’s trusted advisor by using all my skills, experience and expertise to help them solve their respective issues, covering both legal and commercial aspects and providing guidance to overcome complex and diverse challenges.

From a personal standpoint, mentorship has been an area that I am extremely proud of. Seeing lots of lawyers, with my coaching, growing from a newbie to a senior experienced attorney day by day, step by step, inspires me in that I can share my knowledge and provide guidance to the next generation of lawyers in Vietnam.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

Each lawyer has their own ways of creating beliefs and assisting clients. What I do is to put myself in my client’s shoes, sharing their concerns, meeting their needs. The most important thing is forecasting what is to come next and how to best deal with future obstacles. Predicting market trends and adapting to a challenge is also a skill that can differentiate me from others.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

The old expression “work hard, play hard” still rings true today.
Success will never come to someone who just sits still and waits for others to serve.

Success comes from the nights awake thinking about your clients’ concerns, days of chasing and running to meet deadlines, years of experience collecting and with a bit of luck. Set your goals, be determined and be flexible.

The last part of the old saying is another side of the coin. Never forget that you have only one life to live. Short breaks among the peaks will fulfil your energy and empower your strength. Partake in more in sports such as golf, tennis or swimming and try to balance your work – personal life as much as you can.