TOP UK firm Clifford Chance has opened a second Vietnam office in the country's commercial centre in Ho Chi Minh City.
The firm has operated an office in Hanoi since May last year, and practice head Fraser White says the country's “ever-growing attraction” to foreign investors has prompted the establishment of a second presence.
White, who specialises in finance and commercial work, first started working in Vietnam in 1991, and set up a full-time base in the region in 1993.
He is supported in Hanoi by banking lawyer Marie-Anne Birken, commercial specialist Roger Morris and trainee John Hickin.
Commercial and construction specialist Keith Handley, French finance lawyer Richard Jadot, and trainee Matthew Dobson have joined in Ho Chi Minh City.
Lawyers in the firm's Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo offices are also involved with Vietnamese projects, and Clifford Chance has an exclusive co-operation arrangement with the Vietnam International Law Firm.
Linklaters is one of a growing number of international practices opening in Vietnam. Others include Coudert Brothers, Freshfields, Sinclair Roche & Temperley, Lovell White Durrant and Baker & McKenzie.
“It is an exciting time to be in Vietnam for businesses and law firms. Opening our second office is indicative of the country's ever-growing attraction to foreign investors,” says White.
Senior partner Keith Clark says Ho Chi Minh City is an “extremely important commercial business area” which is developing rapidly.
“Our people are very busy in Hanoi on a whole range of work, but we were finding that our clients also need servicing in Ho Chi Minh City,” says Clark.
“The work built up to such a degree that it made sense for us to put people on the ground there as well.
“We see extremely good prospects for the Vietnam practice. We're basically responding to the needs of the region and we will be supplying lawyers there as and when the practice expands.”